Reaching a plateau in your career can negatively affect your motivation, confidence, and overall mood. It’s difficult to get out of bed every morning when what lies ahead is another monotonous day of going through the motions. You not only suffer the frustration of a tedious daily routine but you also worry about your future. Will you be prepared for advancement opportunities if you’re not assuming new responsibilities? Will you be perceived as someone who can take on increasingly more challenging work if you’ve been stuck in a holding pattern for a while?
If you’re feeling stagnant in your current role, you’re not alone. All positions are naturally cyclical, beginning with a learning curve that flattens out as you master your role. You have the ability to control your destiny by deciding how to move forward. Here are three options to consider.
Re-design your existing role.
Before concluding that you’ve reached a dead end in your existing role, take a moment to shift your perspective. Can you expand your role to include more challenging activities? Are there cross-functional projects that would broaden your skill set and internal network? Can you spearhead a new initiative within your group?
Don’t wait for others to delegate additional responsibilities to you. Do your research and then approach your manager with your goals and ideas. He/she will more than likely appreciate your initiative and gladly explore opportunities for you to assume greater levels of responsibility.
Seek an internal transfer or promotion.
If, after exploring opportunities for growth within your current role, you determine that it’s time for something new, consider an internal transfer or promotion. Many executives allow their frustration to reach such a level of intensity that when they do become ready to make a change, they feel that an external position is their only option. Before jumping ship, explore your options internally.
Leverage your internal relationships to learn more about potential opportunities in other groups. Keep in mind that not all positions will be posted so you may need to do some digging to understand where the possibilities lie. Often by engaging in these types of exploratory discussions, you uncover hidden opportunities or find ways to create your own role.
Pursue an external career option.
Sometimes there simply are no good or immediate opportunities for career growth internally. If your company lacks advancement opportunities, or you decide to make a company or industry change, your best option is to pursue an external position. An external transition can be more challenging so it’s important to have a plan.
Before taking action to find a new executive role, be clear about what you want and don’t want from your next position. Many frustrated executives are so eager to leave a bad situation that they jump right into a new one. Take time to understand your needs and interests to ensure that you’re making the best change for you.
If you’re feeling stuck in your current role, there is hope! Carefully weigh the options presented here and take action to pursue the path that is right for you. Remember that each day you spend in an unsatisfying role is time you could be using to advance your career. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Take charge of your own career to overcome stagnation and maximize your career growth.