Career growth may seem like a controversial topic right now. Can you really have career growth in the middle of a global pandemic? Some people might roll their eyes at the thought or brush it off because it seems impossible. But what if it’s not?
Whether you’ve been tossed into an unexpected job search or you’re secretly on the hunt for a new job, career growth should be your top priority. If you don’t make it a priority, you risk becoming stagnant, or worse, taking a step back in your career when it might not be necessary.
But, even if it is a priority, you might not be taking it as seriously as you think. Here are five subtle signs you might be holding yourself back from career growth.
You’re on cruise control or panic mode.
This global pandemic has thrown tons of people into cruise control or panic mode. If you’re on cruise control, you’re probably telling yourself that now is not the time to make any sudden moves. Even though you’ve wanted to change jobs for a while now, you’ve likely convinced yourself that it’s best to keep your head down at work until the coast is clear. If you’re in panic mode, then you’re likely not thinking strategically about the next step in your career. You might be feeling like you have to take whatever you can get, without evaluating what you want or the various ways you can contribute to the next company.
Both cruise control and panic mode are harmful to your career growth. Cruise control might feel safer, but it’s keeping you stagnant. Operating in panic mode might be stopping you from seeing all the ways you could successfully pivot your career and could have you taking detours you might not have to take.
You’re not sure what career growth you want.
Career growth looks different for everyone, especially right now. Career growth could mean more mentorship, more money, more leadership opportunities, more training and development, more impact, new challenges, a new industry, a better work environment, the list goes on and on. You may not want all of those things at once. You may not be able to get every single one of those things right now. But, it’s important to recognize which of those things are most important for your personal career growth so that you can at least try to aim for them.
It’s like when you decide you want a specific car and all of a sudden you start seeing that car everywhere you go. But, if you never decided, you would’ve never noticed it passing you by. It’s the same way with career growth, if you don’t know what you want, you won’t have a clear focus moving forward and you’ll likely end up settling because you didn’t know what to pay attention to or ask for in your job search.
You’re dwelling on the wrong things.
It’s too easy to think negatively right now. But when it comes to your career growth, especially landing a new job that moves your career forward, thinking negative is 100% guaranteed to keep you stuck and stagnant regardless of how nice it would be to land a new job you’ll love. If you’re constantly asking yourself, “What if I don’t get it?” instead of, “How can I increase my chances of getting it?” then you’re spending too much energy entertaining negative possibilities when you could be welcoming positive ones.
Instead of dwelling on the wrong thoughts and soaking up all the negative news, start paying attention to the things that are going right. Scroll down your LinkedIn feed and soak up the success stories of people celebrating accomplishments and starting new jobs right now, even if they are few and far between. Decide that it’s possible for you too. Attaining career growth is not just about doing the right things but thinking the right thoughts as well.
You’re relying on motivation.
No matter how well our intentions are, motivation is like that flaky friend who says they’re going to show up to the party but rarely ever does. When you’re worried about still meeting your deadlines, not catching coronavirus and landing a new job, you need something stronger than motivation if you want to make career growth a priority. You need a plan. When you have a clear and strategic plan on how to land a new job that will offer you the career growth you want, you can rely on discipline and consistency rather than motivation.
You’re not strategic about getting support.
You hear people say all the time, “network, network, network!” But, reaching out to strangers on LinkedIn expecting world-class advice and top-notch referrals without even building a genuine relationship or having a real conversation is not the way to go. Connecting with other professionals, and getting support from experts or career coaches, when done the right way, can be a catalyst for success. But if you have no clue how to do that, if you’re mass emailing people without any thoughtfulness if you think getting support from a career coach is a luxury and not a necessity when you know you need guidance, then you’re not taking your career growth seriously and you should consider changing your approach.
Hear me loud and clear: it is still completely possible to land a new job that moves your career forward, even right now. But it starts with you. If you know you’re guilty of one of these five things, that is good news! That means there is plenty of room for improvement and that you still have the power to move your career in a more satisfying direction.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they've been chasing. Grab her free guide.