When it comes to your career, there’s nothing worse than being professionally stuck. Unless you’re stuck and unaware that you are also on your company’s chopping block for the next round of layoffs.
Most of the time people aren’t aware when their career falls into a rut. You could actually be hurting yourself with your actions (or lack of action) and putting yourself at great professional risk. In fact, you could be sitting around, literally waiting to be fired.
So, how do you know if you are in jeopardy? If one or more of the following resonates with you, it’s possible you are about to be handed a pink slip.
1. Every day is the same and boring. If you feel like you are just going through the motions every day at the office, it’s no wonder you’re bored. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there’s nothing you can do to fix your mundane routine. Come up with new project ideas to pitch to your boss that can help advance the company (as well as your career).
2. You have no idea what your boss intends for the company's (or more specifically your department's) future. If you don't understand, in depth, the purpose of what you do each day, there’s no way you can do your job to the best of your ability. Consider having a conversation with your boss to better understand the firm’s mission and what he or she needs from you to achieve success. It’s vital to your career that you know why you do what you do and what need you’re fulfilling.
3. You don't see the possibilities of career advancement. Attitude is everything. If you don’t believe there are advancement opportunities within or outside your current organization, then your eyes won’t be open to seeing them when they are smacking you in the face. There are opportunities out there. Figure out what your worth is to an organization and how you can help your company succeed. Once you have this determined, get in front of those who can help point you in the direction of the available opportunities. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t see them right away. Be persistent and they will show up.
4. You don't do anything beyond the bare minimum. If you find yourself only doing what you are asked, then you might find yourself being shown the way out soon. Ask yourself if you would pay someone you have hired (such as someone to cut your lawn) more than you are paying now if he doesn’t do more than the minimum you expect. Of course not. So why would you think it’s acceptable to be that person?
5. You harbor resentment (or even hatred). If you have ill will toward your boss, your company, your colleagues, your customers or any combination of then it can be hard to put your best foot forward each day. If you dislike everyone you work with (or even the majority of those you work with) don’t think for a second that no one notices. People are more perceptive than you think. Why on earth would anyone want to promote you or give you an opportunity for anything if you have such an attitude toward everyone?
6. You have 'friends' at work with whom you mutually gossip or complain with all the time. We all need a person to vent to in the office, but if you find yourself complaining with co-workers on an ongoing basis about almost everything relating to the job and the company, you might want to change this behavior fast. The office gossips or complainers are the people that are usually also the troublemakers--or are perceived as the troublemakers-- of the bunch. They are not to be trusted and they often make the office environment toxic. If this is you, stop it now!
7. You can't wait to retire. Ok, so you have to work to pay the bills, but if it’s true that Americans spend (on average) more than half of their waking hours at work or in work-related activities, then why on earth would you accept being so unhappy at work to the point of wishing your life away? Life is way too short to be unhappy, start looking for a new opportunity that will be make you happy.
And one final note: even if you fall into all seven of these categories, it’s not too late. It is entirely up to you to change the trajectory of your career. Start with a long hard look in a big mirror, identify the areas where you can do better and then be willing to have a change in attitude.
Wall Street veteran Lindsay Broder (on twitter: @occurpeneur) is a certified professional coach known as The Occupreneur™ Coach. Based in New York, she specializes in Occupreneur™career coaching, strategy & consulting services for highly successful professionals & organizations who strive to improve one or more aspects of their businesses or careers.