Today’s episode is a lesson on getting unstuck when you’ve been in the same job – or the same place in your career – for too long. You know that place where you’re pretty comfortable and confident, but you’re not making any career progress.
This is a valuable episode because you’ll probably be there in that stuck place at least once in your engineering career. We’ll talk about the tell-tale signs of being stuck, why you need to get unstuck, and ways you can do that.
How to Know You’re in a Stuck Situation in Your Engineering Career
How do you know you’re stuck? How do you know that you’ve been in the same place for too long?
Here are 7 possible tell-tale signs:
- Your job is routine. It no longer requires much creativity or new problem solving.
- While your level of comfort and confidence is high since you know the job well, boredom is creeping in.
- You’re really good at your job. No one can do it better. (This often happens in technical jobs. It’s a big red flag. Don’t get so good at your job that no one wants you to leave it.)
- The learning potential in this job has waned significantly and you’re no longer challenged.
- You’ve lost your sense of forward motion. You no longer feel that positive tension pulling you forward.
- You’re neither growing nor moving outside your box.
- You’ve lost sight of your next career step.
Do you recognize any of these signs? They are tricky because you don’t necessarily feel like you’re in a bad situation. Your job is easy. Your stress is low. Everyone loves how well you’re doing.
But don’t fool yourself.
Why You Need to Get Unstuck and Get On with Your Career
Staying in one place for too long is easy to do. It’s easy to be complacent, especially if no one’s pushing you to do otherwise. It’s easy to get lax about communicating what you want, what your goals are. It’s easy to forget to look ahead.
But for a more satisfying career, to stretch and grow and make progress, to reach your goals and your potential, and to avoid that career saga we talked about in Episode 3…
…You need to move on from where you’re stuck.
If you don’t move on, you’ll get bored and burned out. Your salary will stagnate. Opportunities will disappear.
In the long run you’ll miss out on becoming the engineer and leader you want to be. On having the level of influence you’re capable of. On making more impact.
You don’t want to come up short with respect to your vision. You want to be ready when it’s your time to lead. You don’t want to be dissatisfied and disappointed when you expected to be at the pinnacle of your career.
Your future self will appreciate every effort you make to get unstuck.
Ways to Get Unstuck When You’ve Been in the Same Job for Too Long
The hardest part is motivating yourself to make a move. Step one is realizing you’re stuck and making the decision to get out of it. Here are 3 ways to take action:
- Talk to your boss and mentors. You can exchange ideas with them and find out about opportunities. And you can get guidance, encouragement and even sponsorship.
- Refocus on your vision. Remember what it is you really want in your career. Identify the challenging milestones to get there. Think big and take some risk.
- Take a step. Go back to your goals and make a more specific plan. Determine your next steps. Determine the first next step – no matter how small – and take it.
If these actions seem overwhelming, let me help you through it. My Signature Program may be just what you need to get your career moving again. I’d love for you to tell me more about yourself and schedule a Discovery Call with me.
Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast I’ll share some more tips on one of my most popular podcast topics: meetings. That’s coming up in Episode 29.