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How Do You Know If Your Career Has Stalled?

Written By - Channon Sharples - June 27,2014

How Do You Know If Your Career Has Stalled?

If you are truly ambitious then you have to make sure that you are always looking forward and trying to progress. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced middle manager – it is crucial that you never allow yourself to drift. They say standing still is the same as going backwards and in the fast paced modern world there is a lot of truth in this.

Of course not everybody is the same and some people have different levels of attainment and different aims in life. Not all of us want to totally commit to work and if you are happy to focus on other areas of your life then this is perfectly okay.

But if you want to rise to the very top in your chosen field then simply having ability is never going to be enough. You also need the ambition and focus which will take you there.

The biggest achievers are those who have a plan in place and know where they want to go next. Accepting the status quo for a long period of time is never going to be enough.

When I first started out in business I made a promise to myself to constantly move my career forward on to the next stage. Even now, every six months I will take some time away from the day to day grind of the workplace to sit back and properly assess things.

The most important thing here is to be completely honest with yourself and if necessary, be critical of your own performance. Here are some warning signs that you should be on the lookout for:

No upwards movement: You should always be looking to progress every 2-3 years, whether it’s with a promotion or a new job. If you are still in the same role for a lengthy period of time, you need to ask yourself why. Do your performances not impress your manager enough? If that’s the case then you need to take responsibility and raise your level. It may be that your performances are fine but your manager thinks you are happy where you currently are, in which case you need to make your ambitions clear. Speak up and let them know what your goals are – good managers aren't afraid of ambitious people.

Clockwatching: The best jobs will be ones where you don’t even realise the time as you are being kept busy –and you are enjoying it. Of course everybody has their fixed hours, but if 5 days a week you are leaving bang on time because you either don’t want to be there any more or you don’t actually have enough of a workload, it may be time to consider other options.

Lack of learning: I am always learning something every day when I come into the office; in fact I’m a firm believer that learning is a lifelong process. A clear sign of stagnation is if you are not picking up new things. It shows that you are too comfortable and your job is not challenging you. Some people are happy for this to be the case as long as they are picking up their pay cheque at the end of the month; but this can only last for so long. Consider going on training courses – not only will this give you new skills, but it will give you time away from the office to reflect on what you want to do

A lot of people don’t want to believe they are stalling or stuck at a crossroads, so here is a good ‘acid test’. Open up your CV every six months and see if there is anything new you can put on there. I am not talking about a change in address or phone number, but more in terms of skills and responsibilities. If you genuinely cannot think of anything then it indicates a lack of progress.

Remember that you alone have the power to change the direction of your career. Whether you decide to stay where you are or move to another company, it is up to you to show initiative, ambition and a positive mental attitude. With these three traits, you can turn things around and kick-start your working life.