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Are you stuck on the hamster-wheel? 4 signs to look for
Workplace advice2.5 min read

Are you stuck on the hamster-wheel? 4 signs to look for

All jobs have aspects that aren’t so enjoyable, and everyone has days where they don’t love their work. But what if you feel like this all the time?

Leah Lambart, career coach at Relaunch Me, says many people “feel that perhaps their expectations are too high,” and that they should stay in their job even if it makes them unhappy.

But the truth is we all deserve to not only be satisfied, but fulfilled by our work. As Lambart says, “These days we do have the opportunity to change careers when we find ourselves in a dead-end job. It takes time and effort, but there are thousands of examples of people who have done so successfully.” So if you’re not feeling fulfilled with your work, you should start looking elsewhere.

Still unsure if it’s the right time to make a change? Read on for Lambart’s four signs that you’re stuck in a dead-end job.

  1. You never feel challenged.
    “Too many people are working in jobs that don’t play to their strengths, and instead they’re spending their time overcoming weaknesses, which can be mentally draining,” says Lambart. For example, a people-person who is stuck in a role with no human interaction.

    If you’re in a job that’s not suited to your personality or that doesn’t utilise your skills, you won’t feel challenged, and it’s highly likely that you will become bored and disengaged. “You might even start to feel like your skills and education are going to waste, and find yourself feeling resentful that you’re wasting your training or education.

    Work should be energizing – that’s a sign that you’re doing something you’re challenged by and care about. Before taking any drastic action and quitting, try to find opportunities within your workplace that will challenge you. “Put your hand up to be involved in a new project or to own a new initiative that will allow you to use your education or skill set. In larger companies, there may also be an opportunity to do a secondment in a different department or to consider an internal move to a more challenging area.”

  2. Your boss doesn’t care about your development.
    “How am I supposed to be invested in my work when my manager doesn’t seem to be invested in me?” you might ask. While it’s not your manager’s responsibility to progress your career, if you’re actively trying to take steps to advance your career and your manager isn’t supporting you, then this is a sign that you may need to move on.

    Your manager’s lack of interest in your professional development may be due to a number of things, says Lambart, including a general lack of interest, no professional development budget or them not seeing a future for you with the company.

    “Regardless of the reason, it’s always discouraging and demotivating for an employee to be suggesting ideas for professional development that are ignored or refused by management.” And it could be another sign that your efforts and talents would be better suited elsewhere.

  3. Your job description hasn’t evolved in a long time 
    If your job isn’t changing and you’re not getting to do a broader range of tasks as the industry and technology evolves, then you’re not learning new things. And if that’s the case, you’re not growing your skills and progressing your career. You effectively have a job, not a career. 

    You don’t necessarily have to change jobs or industries to progress in your line of work, but it’s important for your tasks to evolve with time. Speak to your manager if you feel your job has stagnated – what other duties would it make sense for you to take on? How could you add more value to the business – and, in doing so, to your own skill-set? If your manager isn’t willing to give you broader responsibilities, this could be a sign that you’re stuck in a dead-end job.

  4. The company is in decline 
    It’s normal for businesses to have ups and downs, but if you’re noticing a continued pattern of decline, it may be best to move on. Lambart says signs of decline may include “reduced revenue, less interest from customers, and high employee turnover, as staff start to jump ship before things get worse, either due to a fear of not getting paid, frustration with management or as a result of low morale.”

    It can be difficult to move on if you feel loyal to a company and guilty about leaving coworkers behind, but you have to consider how the business’s performance could affect your career.

If you think you might be stuck in a job that’s going nowhere, then do yourself a favour and start exploring other options elsewhere.