A career plan rarely follows the cleanly defined path you imagined when you first entered the workforce. Even if you get the right degrees, stay focused and follow good networking advice, changes in your industry or personal life can create unexpected detours that leave you dissatisfied with your progress. Don't panic if your career is falling short of your expectations. Follow these tips to assess the problem and get back on track.
Lack of Personal Fulfillment
Getting stuck in an unfulfilling career is easy when you have financial pressures and family obligations or simply chose whatever job you could do well. Eventually, you can't ignore the fact that even rewards and promotions are unsatisfying, especially when people around you seem happy with their career plans. A career change requires courage and exploration, but you can gradually transition by trying new hobbies, talking to other professionals about their jobs or testing freelance methods of turning your passions into profit. Smart employers understand that strength-based employment yields higher engagement, so try making a lateral move at your current job whenever possible.
No Growth Opportunities
When employers lose money or move in a new direction, departments and roles that were once prominent may suffer downsizing. Stagnation is also common when short-sighted managers value your expertise so much that they're unwilling to let you graduate to higher roles. In either case, inform your network that you're looking for a change. Build beneficial relationships with people in target companies, and research other industries to find new applications for your skill set. You can also strategically create growth opportunities with your current employer. By anticipating business solutions your employer may need in the future, you can try carving out a new niche to recharge your career plan.
Technology is rapidly transforming business solutions, making many jobs and skills defunct along the way. Instead of letting industry declines or change-resistant employers interrupt your career plan, focus on rebranding yourself by reframing your transferable skills to fit in-demand jobs. Perform a skills search on LinkedIn to find compatible job titles and employers, and customize your online profiles and portfolios to suit key roles. Researching jobs can also help you identify skills gaps and get additional training to boost your competitive advantage.
Lack of Promotions
If you're repeatedly left behind when colleagues get promoted, it may be your first instinct to blame favoritism. However, your co-workers may be demonstrating strengths and leadership potential you lack or taking the initiative to ask for more feedback and responsibility. Try to evaluate the situation objectively, and ask yourself whether you play well with others, seek self-improvement and show enthusiasm about your job. In most cases, discussing your career plans with managers and asking for mentoring and feedback is the best way to get promoted.
A career plan is meant to be an outline, not an instruction booklet. Every experience, accomplishment and failure helps you fill in the blanks to create a unique personal story. When your career seems to be approaching a dead end, think of it as the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life.
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