Career Advice

Is Your Job Hurting Your Pay Potential?

Are you miserable in your current job? Even if your position pays well and looks great on paper, you should beware. Not only can the wrong job leave you unsatisfied, but it can actually hurt your career trajectory – and your future earning potential.

Being in the wrong job can have far-ranging consequences to your future salary. From missing out on raises and promotions to working for a company with a bad reputation, there’s a host of ways a current role can negatively impact your future earnings.

So before you commit even more time and effort to your existing job, check out these 6 signs to see if you’re in the wrong job and need to bail out:

The company’s mission or your leader’s vision doesn’t fit
In a tight job market taking any job you can get makes sense. But now the job market is relatively healthy so it may be time to rethink your current position, particularly if you don’t agree with the direction the company is going or you don’t respect its leaders.

“There are occasions when a new CEO or new manager comes in and the company rebrands itself,” says Jennifer Hill, author of Stop Hoping-Start Hunting.  “If it isn’t aligning with your long term career path and personal brand it can hurt you to associate with that company.”

The boss keeps taking credit for your hard work
No one wants to get thrown under the bus but when it’s your boss or manager who is doing it to you and stealing the credit, it could be a sign it’s time to start looking. After all not only does this breed resentment but it could prevent you from getting promoted if your manager gets all the accolades for your hard work. “Sometimes you will see it (the bad behavior) straight on,” says John Ricco, partner in recruiting firm The Atlantic Group. Other times it’s harder to detect, but either way there’s not much you can do about it.

The job is just a means to a paycheck
Nobody wants to be in between jobs for too long which is why many will take a position as a “placeholder” until something better comes along, says Ben Carpenter,  author of The Bigs: The Secrets Nobody Tells Students and Young Professionals About How to Find a Great Job, Do a Great Job, Start a Business, and Live a Happy Life. While you’ll have money in the bank going that route, you’ll also be going through the motions instead of feeling engaged and strongly invested in the job. “Those feelings will carry over into how you actually perform,” says Carpenter.  “So if you are just phoning it in, and your work is suffering because of it, you do run the risk of negatively affecting your reputation with your leaders, clients and coworkers, which can/will affect you when you seek another job.”

Complacency has set in
We all want to feel comfortable in our jobs but you also don’t want it to be too cushy that you don’t ever move up or leave. There’s a reason that old adage “when one door closes another opens” resonates with so many people. “If you stay in a position too long it can definitely damage your career,” says Ricco. One way to avoid that from happening is to plan where you want to be in your career in five, ten and twenty years, he says.

Your company has a bad reputation
It’s ok to work for scrappy company trying to take on the competition or the market leader, but if your employer has a really bad reputation—think Enron bad—then it can hurt your future career. “If you are working for a company that other people don’t respect, your association with it can have negative fall back,” says Hill.  Not only will people question your character but you may not get an interview at the competitors to begin with.

Your role adds little to the business
You may love your job and tasks you perform but if that position isn’t one that impacts the business or is hurting your chances of moving up then you are likely in a dead end role.  “If your position is often overlooked, if you don’t have opportunities to shine a light on your individual work, etc., it’s going to be difficult for you to get the recognition that’s necessary for promotion,” says Carpenter. He says a surefire sign that your role isn’t helping your career is if you keep getting passed over for promotions or there isn’t a clear career path for your current role.

If a number of these resonate with you, it may be time to look for greener pastures – and perhaps higher earnings down the road.

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TIME TO LOOK FOR A NEW JOB? Begin searching now to find a job you love.

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