“A sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.” This is the dictionary's definition of a breakthrough.
Much like crossing a new scientific barrier, you can and will have a “career breakthrough.” There will likely be a promotion, project, or opportunity at work where you will realize that it was the moment that had the most significant contribution to your career path. It might be a key conversation, a pay raise, new project or new responsibilities you take on.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’ve had your career breakthrough yet, that probably means you haven’t had it. You would know if you had a breakthrough because it would be a very significant event.
Here are some signs to pay attention to that mean it’s just around the corner.
1. You feel bored at work
Boredom isn’t always a negative. In fact, it might just mean that you don’t have enough on your plate or don’t feel you are fully being utilized. If you’re feeling bored at work, it’s time to take on a challenging project, which might be the shining moment that ends up leading to your promotion. Or, your manager might be noticing that the work is too easy for you, so you’re likely to earn more responsibilities.
“If you're feeling stuck, suppressed, or simply bored at work, know that this might just be the beginning of an exciting career journey,” says Laura Garnett, Performance Specialist and Author of “The Genius Habit.” “While hitting the metaphorical wall isn't enjoyable in the moment, it will lend you a sense of urgency and a newfound resourcefulness to finally figure out your next big move and go for it.
2. You are curious about your boss’s job
Do you find yourself asking your boss about their day-to-day or wanting to understand all the ins and outs of their role? Are you admiring their work ethic and feeling inspired by their management skills and communication? This doesn’t mean you want to take their job, but rather, it’s more a sign that you are interested in a higher position – and this curiosity is a reflection of your drive, which your boss is sure to notice too.
3. You’re working harder than ever
You’re putting in extra hours, staying late and the first to jump on any projects that need extra help. You constantly make yourself available to coworkers and you’re the first one in the office each morning. If you feel extra motivated these days to crush the job and take on any challenges that come your way, it’s a sign you’re moving forward towards something big–which is why your boss has probably trusted you with more tasks or is coming to you first for your opinion and ideas.
“You'll know it's time to break through in your career when you find that you're not afraid of hard work,” explains Garnett. “You're willing to get your hands dirty now if it means remarkable results in the end.”
4. The boss is talking you up
If you find yourself in a meeting and your boss continually name drops you or references your work or ideas, it’s definitely a sign that a promotion or raise is on your way. If your boss has your back, it’s a sign they are likely talking you up to any higher-ups because they have you in mind for a specific role or project that’s about to open up.
Moreover, if you feel like everyone at work is talking about you, it’s more likely a good sign than a bad one. If it were something bad, you would know. Instead, try to focus on the positive side here: if everyone is buzzing about your work, it means you are standing out.
5. You have been investing in yourself
Work-life balance is hard to attain at any point. But if you feel you are getting close to a solid balance, it may mean you’re close to a breakthrough. You’ve been working hard, but you’ve also been taking the time to invest in yourself either through additional classes, starting a side hustle or simply taking the time you need to recharge. That awareness is a sign that you know what you’re doing with your life, or have been moving closer and closer to your biggest dream.
“Whether you are on the brink of a career breakthrough or not, the best way to get started is to get to know yourself,” says Garnett. “Focus on figuring out your innate genius and purpose in life. Observe how your strengths — and resulting engagement — manifest at work, and start making strategic moves that better align who you are with what you do.”