Are you unhappy at your job, perhaps even miserable? While a job or career change could be an option, there are also a few things you can do at your current workplace to highlight your skills and find greater opportunities for advancement.
1. Repair your work relationships
You may not always get along with everyone you work with, but maintaining a civil relationship is important. Resolving conflict at the lowest possible level can strengthen relationships between team members and prevent issues from accumulating into more serious problems for management. Robert Dickie III, president of Crown Financial Ministries, said the first strategy is to solve existing issues that you may be avoiding.
“It might be a relationship issue with a boss, a coworker, or somebody else. A lot of times, people don’t want to have to deal with that conflict, and so it just grinds on them. Then over time they say, ‘Alright, I’m just going to leave.’ But if we can solve those relational issues, it unlocks all sorts of latent potential within the workplace,” said Dickie.
2. Seek opportunities around you
Rather than quitting your job and scouring career fairs for the perfect opportunity, try having an honest conversation with your boss about taking on additional or new responsibilities.
“If you’ve been in the job for a long time and you haven’t had a pay raise, or you haven’t had an opportunity to advance years; you’re feeling stagnant and you want to do something new, the best thing that we do is go and talk to our boss,” said Dickie.
Your boss may not know that you are interested in advancing or that you want to take on a leadership role. Some people simply want to turn a wrench or answer a phone. So unless you speak up, you will not be given extra duties because it may not be in your job description.
“Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. The management and leadership of companies are being pressed on all sides; they’re wearing multiple hats and they’ve got so much on their plate. When a member of their team comes to them and says, ‘Boss, I’ve got margin, I want to do more. I want to take on some work. How can I help you be successful? How can I help the organization be successful? How can I tackle a big project?’ That is what every boss wants to hear from members of their team,” said Dickie.
He elaborates on the benefit of having honest, open conversations with your boss or supervisor.
“You would be amazed at how many times people walk in who thought they didn’t have any career advancement opportunities. The next thing they know, they’re working on one of the top projects for that particular company and it’s opening up all sorts of doors of opportunity right there. They didn’t have to leave to get an opportunity, they found it right where they were at just by taking the initiative, and letting leadership know that they wanted the opportunity to grow,” said Dickie.
3. Research your industry and organization
What are the signs that it’s time to leave your job altogether? Dickie says it’s important to study your career field to see if it’s the right fit for you.
“If you feel like you are in a segment of the marketplace that is going to be continually under threat, where the writing is on the wall that the company is not doing well, then that’s the time where you need to be thinking, ‘I need to be prepared. I need to make sure my resume is up to date and I’m adding the proper skills, so that if I need to pivot in the future because something’s gone on, then I’m ready,’” said Dickie.
If you’re in a dying field, it’s time to get your critical documents (resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc.) in order because it takes an average of six weeks to get hired in 2018, even for highly sought-after professionals.
“The people who struggle the most during those career transitions, are the ones who haven’t done any type of preparation. They walk into work one day and they find out the company went out of business and they say, ‘Uh oh, what I do now?’ We don’t want to be in that position,” said Dickie.
So don’t wait for the perfect job to come along, take the initiative to build your skills now and network with your coworkers. This way you can enjoy your current place of employment, whether that is for a few months or until retirement.
Robert Dickie III has served as a decorated Air Force Officer, the CEO of an international company, and as the leader of several non-profits. In July 2011 he became the President of Crown. This unique and bold career path has given him a first-hand look at the changing economy and job market we now find ourselves in. He is the author of Love Your Work: 4 Practical Ways You Can Pivot to Your Best Career.
Check out this Podcast from Robert Dickie III about how to pivot towards your ideal career: Podcast