It’s been proven by science that people’s happiness often hinged on always wanting more. The same holds for nearly all aspects of life—not excluding our careers. So, how do you know that you’re moving up? More than that, how do you know that you’re not? Here are six clear signs that your career is stuck in a rut and that you’re experiencing career stagnation.
You dread Mondays
Have you ever felt that hint of despair whenever Sunday is about to roll into a close? It might be understandable if you just had the best weekend of your life. But if it was just a regular old weekend spent cleaning your house and you feel like you’re never going to be ready for it to end, that’s an entirely different story. If you’re more willing to scrub bathroom tiles than face the first workday of the week, something is definitely off.
Other people call it the Sunday blues. And while it is common among many people, it might be a sign of something deeper if it’s been consistently going on for a long time. It could also be a sign of something worth addressing if it’s so severe that it costs you your peace of mind.
You haven’t gotten a raise in ages
If you’ve been feeling restless in your job and you can’t seem to point out why try looking into your paycheck. Regularly getting a raise maintains an employee’s sense of well-being in terms of their job outlook. It makes them feel that their services are valued. If you are currently earning the same amount for the past three years or more, or if there is not much of a difference between your current and starting salary, you’re not moving up.
You’re always being overtaken
Another thing that can spell out the reason why you’ve developed an iffy feeling about your job is the frequency of promotions. If you haven’t had a promotion or moved up after three years, there is a problem. It does contribute significantly to dissatisfaction if an employee holds the same title, position, and merits for too long. You can also actively feel this way whenever someone younger or less experienced than you advance to positions higher than yours.
While some of these circumstances are valid, if it seems to happen a lot, it could be a problem. It would be evident that everybody else is moving forward while you’re stuck at where you have always been.
You’re bored out of your wits
Looking back on your first day at the job, you’ll probably remember the extreme anxiety you felt back then. After a while, as you got used to the environment, that anxiety slowly thawed as your skills and confidence grew day by day. It gradually turns into a feeling of excitement. Knowing that you can achieve anything with all the things you’re learning on the job. This moment is the ultimate peak of career satisfaction where you feel all of your turbines turning, making you the most productive you could possibly be.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to sustain excitement. This is especially true for routine and repetitive tasks that leave no room for creativity or challenge. In a healthy and ideal situation, there should be periodic instances where you are recharged or revitalised. It could be a special assignment, a leadership task, a department switch or anything that gives your work a sense of variety. If you feel like you’ve been on autopilot and doing the same thing over and over again, you might be stuck in your career.
Nothing’s new anymore
This is sort of like an extension of the previous point. Remember how, as a child, the newest toy always seems to be the best one? It is human nature to always crave for something new. The novelty of things gives us excitement. And that excitement provides us with the drive and motivation to do what we do and enjoy ourselves while doing it.
Good employers do their best to motivate employees by giving them something new to look forward to now and then. Sometimes it’s a cash bonus or incentive. Other times, it is done with training, workshops, and even team-building activities. If you feel like nothing new is ever happening in your office, maybe you should take the initiative and propose it. Otherwise, you might stagnate.
Everything is too easy, or everything is too hard
Career stagnation is a double-edged sword, and people don’t immediately recognize it. Frequently, career stagnation is only considered by people who meet the criteria of having long tenures and repetitive jobs.
However, there is another end of the spectrum to career stagnation. This can be seen and felt in as early as a year after onboarding. It happens when an employee is not a good fit for the position and is struggling to fit in. It is evident through repeated failure during assessments and chronic difficulty in adapting to the role. The inability to move forward and improve in one single line of duty in itself is already career stagnation. It is in this type of jam that an employee should definitely consider switching jobs for the good of both parties.
If you feel like you’ve ticked several of the six signs of career stagnation, don’t despair. Just because you know you’re stuck doesn’t mean you have to stay that way forever. Remember that the first step in solving a problem is to acknowledge that there is one. From here on, you can start to address your career stagnation and look for ways to move forward.