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How to know when it's time for a change

How to know when it's time for a change

We all know life comes with plateaus. Whether they’re related to your studies at uni, your attempts to get fit or even at work. Plateaus can be frustrating, however, with a little control and confidence, most can be overcome. 

There are many signs and symptoms of career plateau. Do any of these ring a bell?

  1. You need new challenges
  2. You’d like a new goal to strive for
  3. You just missed out on another promotion
  4. There’s little reward in your work, financially or emotionally
  5. You regularly lack enthusiasm about going to work

If it sounds all too familiar, then you’re likely experiencing a positional or personal plateau. A positional plateau is where the opportunities or positions at your current organization are lacking, and a personal plateau is where your skills have stagnated.

Where to from here?

If you’re feeling like you’ve plateaued, then the best thing to do is find the real reasons why you’re not moving ahead, says Pete Macauley, Regional Director at Michael Page. They might be quite simple.

If you're feeling like you've plateaued, then the best thing to do is find the real reasons why you're not moving ahead, says Pete Macauley, Regional Director at Michael Page. They might be quite simple.

Start by consciously observing your behaviour for the next few days or weeks, says Macauley. Do you want to get out of bed to go to work? Do you like the people you work with? Do you feel valued?

Give some thought to your current organisation. Is there room for you to progress? Are there promotion opportunities that you could go for? Is your current role really as good as it gets? Maybe not…

If you are being overlooked it’s time to find out why. Engage with your HR department and talk to your manager.

Break free

Whatever the cause, take action.  Taking control of the situation can be really energising.  Fire up your desire to grow and develop yourself.  That’s the very first step to get yourself off the plateau, says Macauley. You need to look for new challenges, to find the will to strive again and put yourself forward for promotions and pay rises.

Don’t try to change the world overnight. Take simple baby steps. Create or fine tune your career plan. Rewrite your CV and update your SEEK Profile. Write a To-Do list and start working your way through it. “You may need to study or move into a new sector,” says Joe Powell, Managing Director of SEEK Employment & Learning. “Or sometimes the answer to re-energising your career is to take a step back or sideways to open up other opportunities.”

Make sure your boss knows that you want to progress in the organisation. Too many employees fail to let it be known what their needs, wants, and career ambitions are.  No good employer would want you to be disengaged, so ask your superiors: “what do I need to achieve that growth and progression?”

Showing an interest and desire to progress is often just as important as having the ability for your next role.

And last but not least, ensure you take control. Read widely, attend seminars, and talk to people who might have experienced the same sense of stagnation. Speaking openly about your plateauing will help you commit to change and action.