6 reasons why your career has stalled

You know Bob don’t you.  Bob is three cubicles down for you.  Bob is a nice guy.  He is a great employee for your company.  He has worked there for about five years.  He has nice family.  His wife is great, she also has a great career. His three kids are all in public school, although he would rather they be in private school.

Bob shows up to work on time everyday.  He will also stay late when needed.  His work is always done very well.  Bob is well liked by all of his colleagues.  He is the nice smart guy, as they call him.

Bob has been in the same position with the same title for about five years.  He likes his job, but Bob would also like to make more money.  Private school tuition is expensive and his wife would like to move to a nicer newer home in a different neighborhood.

Bob has put in for a few positions that have opened up in his company, he interviewed with the hiring manager, but Bob has always felt like they already had someone picked out that would be taking the job. So Bob didn’t think he had a chance anyway.

Question for you?  Do you know Bob?  Do you have a Bob at your company?  If you can’t think of a Bob at your company, maybe it is a Suzy, or maybe it is you?

My guess is if you are reading this blog, it means you at least aware enough to realize that reading information like this may be able to help you get where you want in your life and your career.  You may be a seeker of new information, knowing that you need to do something different to get a better result than you are currently getting.

Here are 6 things that may have contributed to your career stalling:

  1. You havent invested in your skills since, well, you don’t know when:
    I used to work with someone who in their mind should have been running the company, but at the very least, they felt like they should have been the leader of the entire department.  This person was a lot like Bob in many ways as far as work goes. Except they had closer to like fifteen years of experience.They had not taken a course, a class, read a book, or anything for about as long as they have been in their career out of college.  Is this you? You might be thinking, well I have went to the monthly, quarterly, or company training for all of these years.  I have learned a lot from these, and I have done what they have asked.

    Good for you.  Let me remind you. So as everyone else in your company.  Nobody cares that you have done what is mandatory or required. The question is what have you done on your own.  What kind of resources (time and money) of your own have you invested to enhance your skills.

  2. You don’t cross party lines: 
    In an organization it is really easy to get caught up in your day-to-day job.  You eat lunch with the people in your department, you go on breaks with the people in your department, and you even spend time out side of the office with people in your office.

    These are good things for your job, but not good things for your career. You have to make it a point to go and hang out with other people from other departments.  You have to make it point to get to know the leaders with other departments.

    Unfortunately, leaders are selfish, and the leader in your department might not want to promote you and have to replace you. I hope that is not the case, but it could be.  Get out and meet other people in your company.

  3. You haven’t done anything hard in a long time.
    “Today we have a new initiative that will need strong leadership and someone take on some new roles! Who would be willing to take on this challenge?”  Everyone on your team immediately looks around the room at the other people.

    This happens every single day in business.  A leader creates an opportunity for someone like you or Bob to take on a new challenge, and instead of being the first to raise your hand to sign up for it, you look around and let someone else take it.  Or even worse the leader has to assign it to someone.

    If you haven’t done anything out of your comfort zone in your current job in quite some time, at best you aren’t getting noticed by anybody, and at worst you are bored out of your freaking mind.

    Do something different, take on the new task the new challenge.  I have watched many people take on these news challenges and a whole new career opens up for them that is more exciting and even paid more than the current one they were in.

  4. You don’t promote yourself.
    Working with companies as a consultant/coach as well as being in a company in various leadership positions for most of my career. I know it is easy for a senior leader, company owner, or a manager to get used to getting great work from you or someone like a Bob.

    The unfortunate or fortunate reality is you are a solid performer.  It is fortunate because your co-workers or your boss know they can rely on you.  It is unfortunate because they take it for granted.

    As often as necessary you have to remind your boss and whoever else needs to know in your company that you do great work and you are capable of more.

    Early in my career I made it a point to be seen when I knew others (higher-ups) could see me. If you just grind it out day in and day out, you wont be noticed, you have to get out and get noticed.  If you work remotely, you have to find a way to get noticed (contact me if you are interested in brainstorming ways to do this).

  5. You aren’t leading from where you are:

    Who said you must have a title to be a leader?  Answer:  Everybody has.  When we all think of leadership we think of position or title.  You can be a leader in any position within your company.  Leadership is not a certain position or title, it is a way of thinking, it is actions, it is characteristics and it can also be these things and a title, but a title is not necessary.

    If you are Mr., Ms., or Mrs. Grumpy about the fact you haven’t got promoted, or if you still want to sit at the water cooler and talk about all the things that are wrong with the company.  This is not leading.  Nope, this is fitting in with the crowd, this is staying where you are.

    Leadership is hard, leadership is going against what everyone else thinks.  Leadership is doing the things others don’t or can’t do.

  6. You stopped working for you: 
    Here is a myth that we all have fallen victim to.  We all have fallen for the “I work for ….” and “Do ….. at this …… company”.

    Why is this is a myth?  Because it is what we all have been doing for years and years.  Working for a company is great.  Being part of a company that is meeting its goals and growing, is an awesome thing.  I have been there and done that.  However, where I and many others got sideways is thinking that is all we are doing.

    Often times, I and maybe you as well, get so focused on helping the company meet their initiatives and meanwhile the company is not helping you meet your goals, your personal mission and vision you have for your life.

    Look, it is hard to find a position that is perfect match, where the company and the job  utilizes your skills and you are excited about what you do. But working for a company that doesn’t utilize your skills and you are not excited about is even harder to work for.

    My advice is simple.  Remember that a company is renting the skills you bring to the table.  They are renting your habits and your skills.  They pay you X and you lead people to a goal.  They pay you X and you put together so many widgets for them.  They pay you X and you organize things for them. They pay you X and you sell something for their company. They pay you X and you do the accounting for them.

    Keep in mind you collect the rents from them and while doing so, you continue to invest in yourself and become the best YOU, you can be.

    As a landlord I collect rents from my tenants.  The money is good most of the time.  However, if I don’t invest back into my properties, I eventually can’t charge as much for rents.  You are no different.  You can collect the rents for as long as you want from your company, but remember YOU have to invest some of the money back in to you, so you can continue to charge more for the rent.  And you can no longer be like Bob.

So has your career stalled? Do any of the thing six things sound like things you are or aren’t doing? If so, what are you going to do about it? It is up to you.

If you would like to meet with me for a one on one free consultation complete the form below and lets talk. It is free, and it could change your life. However, remember its up to you to do the work.

To your success and your future.

Getting out of the pile..C

As you have read I have been discussing what I have determined, based on my experience are some of the most beneficial things you can do to separate yourself from the pack within a company or organization.  As I write this last blog on this topic, I quickly want to re-cap what I have stated are the principles for you to successfully get out of the pile.

  • Results
  • Ideas/Solutions
  • Set the pace
  • Candor/Diplomacy
  • Personal/Self Development
  • Give more than what is asked for
  • Never be satisfied
  • Choose well

Volunteer: I had a friend tell me that when he went into the Navy, a group of officers asked a group of these new seaman if they would like to volunteer for a special assignment.  He said that he volunteered.  He spent the next 4 years on a submarine.  He suggested to me to never volunteer for anything.  I obviously disagree.  I have volunteered for things even when I know I don’t want to do them.  But by putting myself out there over and over, it allowed me to separate myself from the pack and get out of the pile.  It has also exposed me to things that I wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to.  This not only included experience, but people as well.

Attitude: I personally believe that many of the things I have already talked about illustrates what an attitude is. However, I guess I probably have to put this on the list as being a principle.  I don’t consider myself a naturally optimistic person.  I honestly feel like pound for pound I am like most people, I am kind of neutral most days.  But I spend the first 2 hours every day getting my attitude in a place that has allowed me to be successful.  I think to do many of the things I have suggested in this series is an attitude and your attitude is what will determine your willingness to adhere to the principles.

Gratitude:  3 years ago, this would not have been on my list.  I didn’t think this way.  I always thought of more, and what can I do to get more, I didn’t appreciate what I had enough.  I never had an attitude that I deserve more, because life has a funny way of giving you exactly what you deserve (another blog by itself).  But I never took the time to actually acknowledge and appreciate what I do have.  I now do this everyday.  Some of this things are pretty basic as well.  Like a home, a great family, close friends, a great career, and health.  These things are easily forgotten. So be grateful for what you have within your company.  Your manager will notice this and again will help you get out of the pile.

Don’t wait:  I honestly didn’t know what else to call it, but this encompasses a lot.  Don’t wait for your boss to tell you what to do, Don’t wait for your boss to ask you what you are doing for self-development, Don’t wait for your boss to suggest for you to go to training, Don’t wait to tell your boss about a good suggestion, Don’t wait for anything.  Be pro-active. I tell most people that we all have to “Lead Up”.  Leading up means you are helping yourself by setting the agenda with your boss.  I can tell you that when you are doing the 11 above things very well, you will be leading up (meaning your boss will be following the agenda you are setting, because you are out in front).

I hope this has helped some of you.  Again, any suggestions on principles you would add to the list, I would love to hear them.

  • Results
  • Ideas/Solutions
  • Set the pace
  • Candor/Diplomacy
  • Personal/Self Development
  • Give more than what is asked for
  • Never be satisfied
  • Choose well
  • Volunteer
  • Attitude
  • Gratitude
  • Don’t wait