When you first started in your current role, you were thrilled. There were so many things to learn, people to meet, and challenges to tackle. Each and every day held the promise of something exciting, and you were eager to see where this new position would take you.
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But today? Your job has lost that shine and rosy tint.
It’s not that you dislike it — it’s just that you feel like you’re stuck in a bit of rut. Things feel predictable, and you’re concerned that you’ve already exceeded the expectations and requirements of that position. Instead of pushing you forward, you’re worried it might just be holding you back.
Of course, you don’t want to make any rash decisions — whether that involves having a conversation with your boss or beginning the search for a new opportunity entirely.
So, how can you diagnose your own situation? How can you discern whether or not you’ve outgrown your existing job? Here are five telltale signs to look out for.
1. You can’t remember the last time you felt challenged.
There’s a lot to be said for feeling comfortable in a role. It’s great to feel like you have things mastered and can confidently handle any situation that arises.
However, you don’t want your self-assuredness to turn into boredom. And, that’s something that can easily happen once you’ve worked in a role for enough time.
Take some time to think about the last time you felt challenged in your current position. Is there a recent situation when you felt excited to dig into research, step outside your comfort zone, or test out innovative ideas for a problem you didn’t already have the solution to? When’s the last time you felt intimidated or uneasy?
If you can’t think of any specific circumstances — or the situation that comes to mind occurred many, many months ago — that could serve as an indicator that you’re no longer feeling challenged in your role.
Nobody wants a position where they feel like they’re constantly two steps behind. But you do deserve to have a job that pushes you to expand your skill set — rather than always resting on your laurels.
You deserve a job that pushes you to expand your skill set, rather than always resting on your laurels.
2. You never receive constructive feedback.
Your boss never has anything but great things to say about your work. Your performance reviews are always stuffed with praise and compliments. You’re never met with any constructive criticism or feedback about areas where you can improve.
Sure, it’s a nice feeling. But you’re also missing out on valuable opportunities to adjust and grow. That sort of feedback — while sometimes hard to hear — provides information you can use to tweak your approach and become that much better. You want to know that you can count on your managers to help you flourish — rather than coast.
If you’re never hearing those sorts of constructive comments? Well, it can mean that you’ve reached the cap in your current position and are out of opportunities to improve and advance. It might be time to explore some other ways you could continue to grow and refine your professional skills.
3. Everyone approaches you for help (instead of your boss).
Your co-worker has a question she doesn’t know the answer to, so she approaches you. Another colleague is stuck on a tough project, so he sits down with you for help. One of your superiors has a task that your boss was too busy for, and then brings it to you to see if you can get it taken care of.
In many instances, you feel like you’ve become your boss’ body double — handling issues, inquiries, and assignments that she would normally be responsible for.
First of all, this says a lot about you and the quality of your work. You’ve done such a great job in the office that people feel comfortable asking you for assistance — even if you don’t have the title or rank (not to mention salary!) to match that level of responsibility.
However, this can also represent the fact that you’ve far exceeded the duties and responsibilities of your current position — and that everybody else seems to know it too.
4. You’re no longer learning.
There isn’t a problem you don’t know how to solve, a task you don’t know how to handle, or a question you don’t know how to answer. You intimately know the ins and outs of your company, your position, and every single process. You never need to approach your boss to walk you through how something should work.
You’ll admit that a big part of that is reassuring. Everybody likes to feel like the all-knowing master of their own role.
However, there’s another side that’s discouraging. You’re no longer learning new things, and it’s beginning to make you feel as if you’re stagnating in your career. You don’t feel like you’re getting anything from this experience that you can use in the future. As much as you enjoy doing the teaching, you also want to know that you’re extracting some value for yourself.
When you’re no longer expanding your knowledge, it’s probably time to explore some other ways that you can reach beyond your those limitations and continue to have some valuable career learning experiences.
There’s a lot to be said for trusting your gut and your intuition in your career.
5. You have a gut feeling.
Sometimes all of the signs are there. And, other times they aren’t — you just have this instinct that this job is no longer fitting the bill for you.
Every now and then, it’s alright to trust your gut — especially when you feel strongly that something just isn’t working for you anymore.
If you arrive at the office every day with this sinking feeling that your role is only serving to limit you, you’re totally justified in seeing what else is out there that could get you excited about your work again.
Maybe it’s a move internally within your company. Perhaps it’s talking with your boss about a promotion, spearheading a new project, or taking on increased responsibility. Or maybe you know it’s time to look for a new position altogether.
Whatever it is, there’s a lot to be said for trusting your gut and your intuition in your career. More often than not, they end up being right.