At the beginning of your career, it is easy to look forward and see a life of growth and opportunity. Over the years, however, you may feel that things are not working the way you hoped they would. You may be unfortunate enough to work in an industry that is not as vital as it once was, or you may find yourself stuck while those around you continue to progress along their chosen career path. Whatever the problem, it is no fun to feel stuck. Recognizing that your career is not on the trajectory you want is the first step in fixing the problem, implementing a plan is the next.
Go Back to School
Whether or not you have a college degree, there is always a way to further your education. The key is to do this in a way that makes sense. If you like your current job but want the ability to move up the chain of command or switch to a larger company that offers better compensation, look at a degree that makes that possible. If you have an undergraduate degree in your field, would a master’s help? If you got the job with no undergraduate degree, what degree would add value to your career? Be honest with yourself, choose a degree that adds value and will allow you to progress in your chosen field. It can be tempting to return to school think that act alone will solve your problems, but to really grow in your career, choose a degree program that will increase your value during the job search.
You don’t have to quit your job to continue your education. You can take out student loans to cover the cost of tuition and take evening classes or take advantage of the many online degree programs offered by reputable, accredited colleges. Doing it this way may take a little longer than if you quit your job and concentrate solely on college, but you continue to build your employment history and you will be in a better spot financially when you graduate.
Talk to Your Supervisor
If you see others around you making progress in their career while you are stagnating, approach your supervisor, and schedule a time for a talk. Ask what you can do to improve your position within your company. Are there tasks you can take on or training you can take? Sometimes it is easy to be overlooked in a busy office setting. Letting your supervisor know that you want more responsibility may be all that is needed to improve your situation. Of course, you are also opening yourself up to criticism by doing this. If there are genuine concerns about your job performance, however, it is better to find out early, before a formal performance improvement plan is implemented.
Offering your skills to a non-profit organization is a great way to spread your wings. These groups are often desperate for help and are happy to hand off duties to someone willing but less than experienced. Whether you want to sharpen existing skills or dive into an entirely new field, working with a non-profit is a great way to do so. Providing skills and adding value to their organization will not only give you confidence in your skills, but they are generally happy to provide a letter of recommendation to prospective employers.