Are You Working at a Dead-End Job?

At the office

Americans spend more than half of their waking hours at work, yet according to recent data, more than 70% of workers are professionally disengaged.

Being “checked out” or unhappy at work can lead to poor performance and low productivity and the feelings can also spillover to your personal life. While legitimate factors such as the economy, expectations of doing more with less or working harder for lower pay and little recognition may be to blame, there could be other variables at play.

A major unrecognized factor to workplace discontentment is that professionals may in fact be at a dead-end job and it's time to do something about it. But before taking the leap into finding new work, it’s important to identify possible warning signs of a dead-end position, including:

  • A raise is not in imminent;
  • A promotion is unlikely;
  • Offering suggestions for improving processes or procedures are not well received or implemented;
  • There is little or no encouragement to take on more responsibility;
  • The workload keeps increasing without more compensation and upward mobility does not seem within reach.

If a job meets several of the above criteria, it’s time to find the next professional move—but that doesn’t necessarily mean jumping ship to a new employer. Consider the following:

Is your work unhappiness self-inflicted? Showing up late, leaving early, calling in sick, lack of productivity and rarely offering new ideas are all ways to ensure stagnation at work. Often when professionals are bored, disengaged or angry at their employer or manager, they mentally check-out and operate on autopilot which is a surefire way to ensure a dead-end.

Have you talked with your boss or manager? Just because the job feels like a dead-end doesn't mean that’s the reality. Often, there are opportunities within organizations that most employees never take the time to explore. Having a proactive conversation can open up possibilities and allow employees to make a professional change without having to start over elsewhere.

Are you ready to move on? Sitting idle, complaining and continuing on auto-pilot will keep professionals stagnant and unhappy. Taking action is the only way to move forward and on to new opportunities. While still employed, employees have an opportunity to start or ramp up their networking without the pressure that their unemployed counterparts have. Remember, social media such as LinkedIn is a great way to establish connections, but ultimately networking in-person is still the most effective way to find opportunities.

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 Occupreneurcareer coaching, strategy & consulting services for highly successful professionals & organizations who strive to improve one or more aspects of their businesses or careers.