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Five key signs that your career has hit a dead end
Essentially, everyone wants to be successful. Actually achieving career success is a long-term undertaking, however, and one that requires careful planning.
56 percent of those surveyed as part of the Q1/2018 Confidence Index believe Switzerland to have a bright economic future – a 7% increase on the previous year’s figure. This, you would think, bodes very well in terms of career prospects.
Not necessarily so. After all, we ourselves are not the only factors influencing our career plans. Of course, we can go about things as systematically as possible, setting ourselves small goals, proceeding step by step, and hoping for a certain outcome. Often, however, that outcome is beyond our sphere of influence. The following two examples serve to illustrate this:
What is a career dead end?
After completing his degree, Jürgen P takes on a job with a start-up company. His salary is well below his expectations, but the boss woos him with interesting tasks and good career opportunities. And, indeed, the role enables Jürgen to develop his technical skills and take on more and more responsibility. The boss is pleased with Jürgen’s enthusiasm and praises him for it regularly. However, the promotion Jürgen was promised does not materialise. After one year, Jürgen decides to take matters into his own hands and broaches the topic of promotion with his boss. The latter explains that a promotion could well be imminent, but that Jürgen should first see a few projects through to fruition. Since then, Jürgen has seen the number of projects assigned to him increase steadily, yet no sign of a promotion. So what has happened? Jürgen’s career has hit a dead end.
Julia K.’s experience was a different one. She did end up receiving a promotion, to the position of team leader. Since then, however, her passion for the job has waned. She finds job-related discussions boring and feels alienated from colleagues she used to find inspiring. Her former boss has left the company, having felt too restricted in his role. And while Julia K. enjoys the responsibility that her new role entails, she is becoming increasingly aware that it was her ambition, not her interests, that pushed her up into management ranks. Her colleagues, now her direct reports, are picking up on her frustration; they, too, are beginning to underperform as result. Julia K. is also at a career dead end.
A change of job? A difficult decision
Jürgen P. and Julia K. now have a choice to make: Do they want to stagnate, or forge new paths for themselves? “In such circumstances, employees often feel that changing jobs would represent failure in their current position, and are therefore unwilling to go down that path, explains Jerome Bouin, Managing Director of PageGroup. “So, instead of using their wherewithal to change their professional situation, they pour energy into something that has long become a lost cause. This mistake can prove very costly to their careers.”
So how can you tell early on that your career has reached a dead end?
Our five practical tips will help you determine whether the time is ripe for a career revamp.
1. You no longer have fun in your job
All truly successful people have one thing in common: they love what they do. If your job is no fun at all, you’re bound to throw in the towel sooner or later. Of course, your dissatisfaction won’t necessarily be there from the outset. Julia’s aversion to her job only emerged after her promotion, for example. This was because Julia always knew what she wanted, but never knew why she wanted it. The question of why you are in your job is key, however, and your answers to it should always include, “Because I enjoy it and am interested in it.” If you cannot make this claim, you are bound to hit a career dead end sooner or later.
2. You work a lot, yet never get the promotion you want
Jürgen P. has found a field of work he is passionate about. He enjoys his job and wants to achieve great things in it. But he is not getting the promotion he wants. Why is this? Jürgen P. is needed in his current role and delivers good results. The company doesn’t need a second team leader; nor does it want Jürgen P to feel he can rest on his laurels thanks to his achievements. It tells him incentives and rewards are on the cards, but does not actually come up with the goods. Does Jürgen P.’s situation sound similar to your own? If so, it’s time to go out and find a job that is truly worth your while.
3. You have seen your superiors /colleagues hand in their notice
People leave their jobs for many different reasons. So it would be unwise to jump to conclusions in this situation. Rather, try to find out about what the circumstances are. Julia K.’s boss handed in his notice. Now Julia too feels like she is stuck in her job. Your colleagues complain that the work environment and the company’s sluggish performance are hindering their careers. Now it is up to you to decide whether to put all your energy into saving the sinking ship, or to go elsewhere. After all, a negative work environment in which you can contribute little to your company’s success will only hold you and your career back.
4. Your tasks are always the same and you do not feel sufficiently challenged
Companies often hire well-qualified candidates to fill less demanding vacancies. The company then reaps the benefits, but you end up bored. Sometimes, your role will offer scope for development and you will be required to work your way up. However, if you have been performing the same, unchanging tasks for several months, there can only be two reasons for this: either you are not doing your job well enough, or this is the only scope your job offers. One way or the other, you need to find yourself another job as soon as possible.
5. You don’t get on with your boss/ with a colleague
You spend around 80 per cent of your week at work. And no matter how exciting and intellectually stimulating your role may be, as a social being, your welfare in the workplace will also depend on your relations with the people around you. Team cohesion in a work environment is based on similar interests, a shared sense of belonging, and common goals. If you differ considerably from your boss or your colleagues in any of these three areas, you will never feel fully acknowledged by them. However, such acknowledgement is key to your career prospects. In such circumstances, you should consider whether you can bring yourself to identify more strongly with your work and with the company’s values, or whether you might be happier elsewhere.
Does this article resonate with you? If so, why not take the first step towards your new career.
Page Personnel is happy to help you in your search for a new position. Browse through the current vacancies in our Job portal and contact us if you find something you’re interested in!