Some of us adjust who we are, depending on the job that we want. We gather experience, education, and accreditation, and then use those facets to apply for different roles. Others, however, see our work as the driving force in our lives - the things that actually help us become better people.
Jobs, therefore, have two essential functions. One is to provide us with the resources that we need to live happy and productive lives. The other is to help us with self-improvement - an immaterial, yet critical concept.
Sometimes, though, our work lacks on both these fronts. We don't earn enough money, and we aren't developing as people.
People who encounter these problems usually work in retail, hospitality, and clerical businesses, but it can happen anywhere. You wouldn't believe the number of medical practitioners on sites like Practice Match looking for roles that will advance their careers.
But how do you tell if you've hit a wall in your career? What are the signs that you're not going to grow as a person unless you switch jobs? It's not always obvious.
You Never Take On Anything New
People tend to develop most when they push the limits of their abilities. It is through pain that they make gains and become more competent. Nothing in life (or work for that matter) is ever easy.
Going through the motions, Monday to Friday, makes you feel comfortable. Still, it also leaves you with a gnawing sensation that you're not using your talents to the limit. Sometimes, you can almost feel robbed, as though your work prevents you from being the person you could potentially be.
If you haven't done anything new at your work for a while - like taking on a brand new project - you could be well overdue a change. It is only by conquering new challenges that you'll develop as a person and get the satisfaction you want from your role. In fact, you need it if you ever want to take the next step in your career and prove to others you've got the skills.
You're At The Top Of Your Pay Bracket
When you've been with the same organization for many years, you can reach the top of your pay bracket. Going higher either means finding a new type of job in the organization or moving elsewhere.
Please remember that many firms have strict budgets for pay and won't go higher than company policy allows. Thus, you can find yourself in a situation where you're providing the organization with massive value, and yet they're not reciprocating. They won't give you a raise.
If you feel stuck at a particular pay grade but know you have more horsepower under the hood, you've got two options. Either you can negotiate with management for higher pay and see what they say (they might offer perks). Or you can look for a better role outside the organization that will make better use of your talents.
Think carefully about what you really want from your job? Would greater flexibility encourage you to stick with your current role?
Your Boss Doesn't Want To Entertain Options For Promotion
If you want to progress your career, but your boss is working against you, that's a sure sign that you need to move. While some people continue to develop while remaining in the same role, they are rare exceptions. Most employees need to forge themselves under the pressure of ever-greater responsibility and challenges. For instance, leaders face problems that most workers lower down the hierarchy never have to contend with. Client issues, employee theft, and big strategic decisions are just some examples.
Bosses, however, don't always want to entertain promotions. Sometimes, it's because they're worried that you'll usurp them. Other times, it is because they don't think you've got what it takes.
Ultimately, though, what matters is your assessment of your skills. If you think that you can deal with the responsibilities and challenges of career advancement, then the time has come to apply for better jobs and move on.
You Don't Know Where Your Work Is Leading
Finally, if you have no idea where your work is going, you may need to leave your old job behind and go down a completely different route. Suppose you've naturally maxed out your progression in your industry. In that case, this could mean committing to retraining and trying to fly high in another sector.
Ultimately, you want to ensure that you're frequently outside of your comfort zone. It's a tough road, but also a very rewarding one.