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Profession on pause: how to move a stagnant career forward

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A career is more than just a job that pays the bills, it is like a living entity. Somewhat like a child, it is nurtured in the early stages with the hopes that it will continue to evolve, change, and prosper with your own personal growth. You want to expand your horizons in career and even expand your networks. There are times, however, when careers can hit a plateau. You might feel stuck in a rut at work, feel unmotivated in your daily tasks or feel like you are moving backwards. Regardless of the profession, there are a few things that can be done to help you move forward in your position and gain more standing and respect in the role you have.

Further your education

If the strongest educational credential on your CV is a degree that is decades old, it may be time to brush up in your given field. Consider perusing a higher level of education. Many universities now offer online classes or live classes that can be done at the student’s own pace which can be great if you want to advance while still working. You can get anything from a bachelors in business administration to an online MPA degree. If a higher degree was not what you had in mind, try attending some professional development seminars in your field. This can show your employer initiative, and help you to network with similar individuals in your profession. Don’t be afraid of asking your employer about educational opportunities as well. They might have more ideas and may even be willing to help out with some expenses if it will help move the company forward as well. Make yourself more knowledgeable and gain experience so you are more of an asset in your field.

Take evaluations seriously

For many, the reason for a lack of advancement has been staring them in the face for a while. Those pesky periodical evaluations are never fun. However, they do let you know what your employer is looking for in an employee, and can be a great way to get a promotion when you complete your goals. In some cases, simply asking for clarification on comments can help to make small improvements, while also showing the boss that you value their feedback. Look for ways to make your goals more specific and easier to complete and ask coworkers and other connections what they might recommend in your position. You can get a lot of valuable advice from those close to you, and it can even help you in networking more.

Get involved

Does your company have a basketball team? Do they host charity functions or sponsor community events? Get involved with something that makes you more part of the working community. This shows you care about the organisation as well as the people who work there, even when you’re off the clock. If something doesn’t already exist, start something new. Pick an activity that can also get the families involved! If possible, try to create an event or group that has something to do with the work you do every day. When you show initiative in the community, you show some of your otherwise unnoticed skills that can make you a more valuable asset for the company.

Develop hobbies that better your profession

Finding where your hobbies intersect with your career can be extremely beneficial. If you like to read, read books about your career. Even fiction can be a learning tool. If you have a partner who works in a similar field, look for things that can be done together. This helps to keep your interest in the career keen and fresh.

If you feel unmotivated in looking from the career outward, check out ways you can insert your hobbies into your career. Maybe there’s a way you can incorporate a training on setting fitness goals as part of your health initiative. Try to intersect parts of your personal and professional interests so you stay motivated and connected to your career.

Putting years of work into a chosen career can leave many feeling disheartened when advancement doesn’t occur as quickly as expected.  But don’t lose hope! There are still several things you can do to show you are still the dedicated and skillful worker you were on the first day! Use these tips and use your own ideas to find new motivation in your career and company. Once you have a niche for you and your interests, you won’t feel so trapped.

Do you have any tips on how to move a stagnant career forward? Tell us in the comments below.

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

Brooke ChaplanProfession on pause: how to move a stagnant career forward

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