While going to work isn't always something to celebrate, there's no reason you shouldn't get some satisfaction out of your day. Yet an almost depressing 52% of Americans consider themselves unhappy at work, and while some of that might stem from being undercompensated, it might also boil down to the fact that they're just plain in the wrong roles.
In fact, many workers don't realize that being overqualified for a job can lead to major dissatisfaction. Here's how to tell if you're too skilled for your position.
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1. You're frequently bored
We all have tasks that are mundane by nature, like answering emails, filing paperwork, or logging data. But if you find that you're perpetually bored on the job, and you don't find your core tasks at all stimulating, take it as a sign that you simply might be overqualified.
2. You're not learning anything new
Many jobs offer employees the chance to grow their skills and learn new things. Imagine you studied computer science in college. Even if you come into a job knowing what you're doing, there's a good chance you'll learn more as you get involved in new projects and tasks. But if you're in a situation where you honestly can't say you've learned a new thing in months, it probably means you're in the wrong position given your level of skill.
3. You're constantly bailing out your peers
There's nothing wrong with coming to the aid of those around you who struggle on the job. In fact, helping your colleagues is a good way to earn a solid reputation and show your boss that you're a true team player. But if you find that, generally speaking, you're the only one on the team who seems to have all the answers and there's no one else to turn to for similar advice, it may be that you deserve a promotion.
4. You're always looking for more work to do
Being an efficient worker is a good thing, in theory. But if you constantly find yourself seeking out new projects because you have a notable amount of free time on your hands, it could be that you're plowing through your core tasks much more quickly than management expects -- and that's a sign that you need more challenging work to begin with. Keep in mind that having too much visible downtime on the job can hurt you, so you really shouldn't be in a position where you're frequently begging for more work.
Finding a better fit
On the one hand, it may be nice to come to work knowing that you've got your job down pat, but if you reach a point where you're bored senseless and unstimulated, you soon might come to dread going into the office. That's why you're better off explaining to your manager that you're able to give much more than what your company is currently asking for, and that you'd prefer to put all of your skills to good use.
If there's another open role within your company that you feel you're qualified for, go ahead and make the case for it. A different option is to work with your manager to carve out a new position that allows you to make good use of your skills.
Finally, don't discount the possibility of looking outside your company if you're overqualified for your current role, but there's no workable solution internally. Challenging yourself will help you grow your career, so if you need to seek out a new job to do your skills justice, so be it.
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