Employed But Stuck


The earlier blog I penned had to do with feeling stuck. It focused primarily on both deciding between two or more options and the advice was to do something, do anything to get moving; and the focus was when you’re unemployed. I’ll stand by that.

But what about you who are already employed? I mean you’ve got a job and while it’s okay – possibly even good, you have become restless wanting a change. The question is really what could be next? A promotion? A change of employer? What other jobs within or beyond the company you’re with now would be possible and what’s stopping you from launching a concentrated job search campaign? In other words, even though you’re employed, are you feeling stuck in your career? Oh I know you’re not alone in this one!

The problem in a nutshell is you’re experiencing some motivation to change, but the level of motivation required to actually start looking beyond a casual glance at job postings hasn’t grown enough. You’ve got a steady income, some security at the moment, and the lure of something new is less than the status quo. Doing nothing is safe, comfortable, takes less effort and yet this small but growing feeling that a change is needed is there. So yes, at the moment…. you’re stuck.

Now this is different from when you’re out of work entirely and stuck deciding between two career options or stuck deciding what to do at all. It’s also different from having a job you enjoy in all aspects and just feeling a mild tug every so often. What makes this unique from those others is that the job you have now fulfills many of your basic needs, it’s got a good upside, but there’s this growing and persistent idea of something else wanted that the job doesn’t meet.

Only when your satisfaction with the present wanes enough that your wish for something more tips the balance will you actually find the motivation to explore change. The key is not to wait so long that the job you have becomes intolerable; that would be unfortunate, especially if you then find new employment takes considerably longer than you would have imagined.

The interesting thing is that sometimes other people recognize your need for change before you might. It’s true! You might have a change in behaviour; subtle at first, such as coming in on time instead of coming in 15 minutes early, or taking your full lunch hour away from work instead of donating some of your time to the job. Not big things, but signs of change if they become your new norm. You might also be quieter in office meetings, a little less vocal in promoting innovation and new ideas. What you may be doing is stretching and challenging yourself less and less because your investment in the job itself is ebbing.

Now on their own, like I say, these may not mean much. However collectively, they can indicate to others that something has changed in you. Suddenly people are asking you if you’re happy; is everything good? One person asking might be normal, but two or three people asking, or someone who knows you well, and you might realize those subtle changes they picked up on are cues you should address and think about.

The motivation to change then is worth addressing. What would motivate you to change? For some, the obvious answer is more money and benefits. However money is less of a motivator than you might think as the current job is already providing a consistent income. Feeling challenged, reinvigorated and mentally stimulated by the work you do might be more accurate. You might even be contemplating how to take many of your current skills and find a way to incorporate them into a self-employment option; especially if you see retirement on the horizon. Transitioning to a part-time enterprise, working on your terms and answering to yourself might be appealing as you wind down your full-time employment.

If you’re in your 30’s or 40’s, retirement might not be on your mind, but nonetheless, you could feel the urge to make a difference, give back in some way using your experience but challenging the conventional way of doing business that you’re in now, constrained by the parameters of the company who employs you.

Oh, and let’s not ignore the idea that you might just want an entire break from what you do now altogether and rediscover your passion through some other line of work. How many of you can agree that there’s a hobby or past interest you’d love to turn into your full-time job. Why aren’t you exploring that option? Don’t dismiss it quickly because you’re too old, it would cost too much to go back to school or you’ve got responsibilities! At least invest some time crunching some numbers and getting factual information to base your decision on.

In my previous blog, I advised you to do something; do anything. I’d suggest the same thing again if you feel stuck in your current job. Talk to people in Human Resources, take a night school class, update the résumé, put out some feelers. There is a lot you can do without going to the extreme of quitting or just giving up and feeling trapped in the present job for the next 14 years.

Yes, do something!

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Stuck Deciding? Do Something!


So you’ve tried to decide what to do with the rest of your life; you know, what to, ‘be’. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 24 or 53, you can still feel that loss of direction. The longer you go trying to decide without coming to some kind of a decision, the greater the likelihood you’ll feel stuck. This can be the situation in two situations; you haven’t got any idea what to do or you can’t decide between two or more career choices. You may feel trapped, paralyzed, immobilized; take your pick – you’re stuck.

Making a decision on a career would seem to be the first logical step. After all, if you could do this, moving forward would be something you could then do with certainty. In fact, all you’d need at that point was a roadmap on the steps to take to reach your end goal and follow the path laid out. That first step though; deciding on a career, is precisely the reason for your lack of progress!

As odd as it might sound, what appears to be the first logical step is actually not. I mean, what are chances you’ll just wake up one morning and have a eureka moment that will be the moment of clarity you recall for the rest of your life? No likely is it?

So here’s some atypical advice; just do anything. In fact, when you’ve done this, do something else too. Then do a third thing etc. Don’t even worry if what you choose to do takes you further away from one of the things you’ve mulled over as a possible destination. Just move. The reason this sounds odd coming from an Employment Counsellor is that you might think my advice would be to concentrate on deciding what to do BEFORE heading out on your journey to make sure you move in the right direction. Sometimes that is great advice yes, but not if you’re paralyzed and stuck on what to do and where to go in life.

So what does, “Do Anything, Do Something” mean? You could update your résumé, talk with people who have jobs about what it is they do, what they like and dislike. You could do some career searching online, take some courses at a College or University for pure interest, work on getting in shape a bit, losing a few pounds if you’d feel better. Take in some activities you find pleasurable and while doing so look at the people working in those activities and interview them to see how they got started as a possible career. Why you could even apply for a short-term job part or full-time to fill in the gap on your résumé. Volunteering to give back and keep yourself busy and learning is also a great use of your time.

There is a long list of things you COULD be doing, beyond whatever it is you’re doing now – but beware sitting around alone and growing increasingly anxious about what to do with your life out of fear you’ll make a choice you come to regret. Yes that could happen, but what is absolutely going to happen if you do nothing is come to regret the time you wasted stewing over what to do and beating yourself up over your inability to figure it out. That’s not healthy nor is it what will make you happy.

Do anything is good advice. Think about this: If you’ve got a couple of career options in mind and they seem so very different from each other, isn’t it likely that you’d be happy doing either one? Choosing between happy and happy is an easy choice between not choosing and increasing your anxiety and possible depression over being unable to decide. Just choose and start moving.

A great number of people over the course of their lifetime have about 8 jobs and even 2 or 3 major career shifts. So in other words, if you’re like the majority, you’re going to have a variety of work ahead of you, and this isn’t a decision you’ll have to live with forever. You might work in a job and derive income and pleasure from it for a while and then find that other opportunities come along; opportunities that will only appear precisely because you are in the first job in the first place. Why is this? You make new contacts, you pick up and hone skills you don’t have now. You become aware of and exposed to other jobs you know nothing about now. Suddenly those other jobs sound interesting and you start the process of putting yourself in place to take advantage of them when openings come up.

Should you volunteer, you’ll feel good about helping out and possibly get hired. You will no doubt meet people, they’ll see your willingness to offer help, they’ll help you along too. If you have a hobby, you might even find others that supply the raw materials for your hobby suddenly work for a living in a way you might find interesting yourself. Would they help you get started? Maybe.

The worse thing that could happen if you just start by doing anything is you get this feeling that you’re moving in the wrong direction. Guess what? That’s fantastic! Why? Because suddenly, you’ve just discovered that the opposite direction is where you should head. Do a 180 and see!

Stuck On Picking A Career


Sometimes we get stuck right? I mean, we have a vague idea of what it is we think we’d like, but as I say, it’s a vague or general idea. This is when we say things such as,, “Well I’d like to work with animals,” “I want to help people”, or “I’m good with my hands.” While these kind of statements are good starting places and represent an early first step in career decision-making, some people will get stuck moving beyond one of these broad sweeping statements.

While it might seem pretty common for people in their late teens and early 20’s to be typically thinking about what to do career-wise and getting stuck, it can happen to anyone at any time. Take you . Uh huh, you.

Have you got one of those LinkedIn titles that says, “Open to new opportunities”? No? Maybe yours says, “Looking to make a difference!” or “Seeking new challenges.” Ah, so you do have one of these or something close to one.  Even after having read any of these three, the reader is still no closer to knowing what it is you want. This is because you don’t either. Maybe you’ve even convinced yourself you’re being deliberately vague so you keep your options open. Sure. I’ve seen a lot of resumes over the years that start with the same kind of statements; “Looking for an opportunity to use my skills and grow with the company”. Even after having read that opening objective statement, the goal is still completely unknown. What a waste of 13 words on the résumé!

The problem however, is defining not just to the world, but to ourselves, what it is we want to do. If we could do that, then we could figure out the steps we need to take to move closer to our goal. We could for example figure out that we need a certain Diploma, Course or Degree and then happily invest the time and money to go pursue it; confidently knowing that we’re on the right track and with every day getting closer to our ultimate employment goal.

However, isn’t the real issue here that we don’t often know – that is – YOU don’t know what the end goal is? I mean, that’s what makes the idea of school and its associated cost so intimidating right? I mean, sure going to school to get more knowledge is great but with no goal, what if we choose wrong? What if we end up spending thousands of dollars and 2 or 3 years of our life in school only to find that we don’t really want to do whatever it is we’re in school for by the time we graduate? That would definitely be a waste of time and money and we’d be no further ahead. Or so we’ve told ourselves over and over.

So you’re paralyzed; stuck. Every day seems like spinning the same record around and around, trying to decide what to do? What to be? Look up the song, “Big Time Operator” by Keith Hampshire. Figure out this one thing and you’re good to go.

Okay so let’s see if we can’t help out here. Start with giving yourself both the permission to get going and forgiveness if you get it wrong. Who told you that you have to get it right this time or your entire life is a failure? That’s just not true. Work, for all its worth, is only one part of who you are; one part of what defines you.

To find a career, let me simplify things. First you need to be exposed to some possibilities and then you investigate them. You can gain exposure to careers a number of ways. Talk to people and ask them what they do, ask your local employment centre what careers are in demand, use the internet and search careers in your vague, generalized areas of choice. “Helping people careers”, “Jobs with animals” or “Physical jobs”, “Manual labour careers”.  You can also search what are called, “NOC CODES.” National Occupation Classification codes. You can search by skills, or even an alphabetical listing and see what jobs exist; many you might be entirely unaware of. So these ideas give you exposure.

Now, having exposed yourself to more possibilities that might interest you, choose a few and start investigating. Before looking to see how much the job is in demand or how much it pays, you’ll want to know if this is something that only sounds good or if it sounds good and in fact it interests you once you’ve done some research.

Find people in the roles you’re considering and talk to them. Set up meetings, email them some questions, have some conversations. Learn what’s good and bad, what skills and education are needed, how they got started and how they’d get started today if they were just beginning as things may have changed. Then ask them for the names of others you might talk to.

The more you learn, the more you’ll feel the job is right for you or not. When you start getting enthusiastic about a job, look into education requirements, the labour market, where the opportunities are. Still interested? Feeling on the right track? That’s because you are! But to get to this point, you have to get moving.

Remember how long you’ve been stuck where you are and know that continuing to do nothing won’t move you forward.

Underemployed?


Being underemployed means your that while yes you’re working, you’re in a position that isn’t what you are qualified to do based on your education and experience. It’s likely that you are also underpaid, as you’re working in a job quite possibly that is in another field and at an entry-level salary, because you’re not entirely qualified in that second field for a more senior position.

Still, it’s a job. Needing money to stay afloat and pay some bills, you’ve taken this job on a short-term basis. The good thing about the job is that it keeps you busy and there’s less time to sit alone at home brooding over your lack of success. It’s also good for the self-esteem in that an employer picked you up and hired you so your skills are validated. The people you meet on a daily basis don’t know about your situation and let’s face it, not many of them care quite frankly. Everybody has a story and while you’ve got yours, they’ve got theirs. That’s just the fact of the matter.

Now on the downside, while you’ve got some immediate income, the income itself isn’t sustainable; well not for the lifestyle you had or the lifestyle you’re aiming for. You’re living tight, paying the bills to get by but there’s not much of a social life with such a small reserve of what’s referred to as discretionary spending. Another downside is the work itself; this isn’t what you went to school for in all probability.

Now while you’ve taken on this job for the positives; including filling up a broadening gap on your resume had you not taken the job, you’re worried about the possibility of getting lulled into this new job and not having the time or energy to work hard at getting back into the field you went to school for. You don’t want to be the poster child for the person with two University degrees who is now flipping burgers for a living.

Okay so what to do. Well first of all, the decision to take a job sometimes referred to as a survival job or transition job is or was, yours alone to make. As there are pros and cons, you have to take the responsibility and accountability for having made the decision to accept this job based solely on your own unique circumstances.

I’ve known some career seekers who actually switched to job seekers and it worked out wonderfully. You see an entry-level job that requires less qualifications than the career position you’ve been going for over a long period can actually be a huge positive. There’s much less stress for example dressing a submarine sandwich or fitting someone for a new pair of shoes than there is scratching your way alone in the financial sector while managing an investment portfolio for a firms clients. That drop in stress could be just what the doctor ordered, and this can give your brain a chance to turn down the constant need to be checking stock markets and interest rates.

Now before anyone jumps on entry-level service industry jobs as being more than I’m pointing them out to be, let me say that learning the ropes is just as critically important to the owners of these franchises and businesses. I used to be a shoe and clothing salesperson; but selling shoes and clothes was much less stressful than making decisions as a Social Services Caseworker that could result in someone not getting the funds they expected and being out on the street – literally.

If you are underemployed, you’ve got to find for yourself that fine line between taking a transition or survival job just long enough to ground yourself and not too long so it becomes your new normal. You want to give the employer who hired you a return on their investment in you, both in terms of time on their payroll and interest and commitment to their success. At the same time, you do want to focus some of your energy and time to getting on with your career; and at the moment you’re not in the right employment sector.

Get in a routine and commit to it. That could mean looking for work every morning until your afternoon shift, or it could mean committing to 3 hours of job search activity at some point in your day. Whatever you choose, a regular commitment will keep you from missing the perfect opportunity. Don’t think I mean just looking at want ads either. Today there’s online learning, night school, webinars, social media platforms that promote discussion and networking. There’s a lot you could do beyond just looking for job openings.

One of the most useful things you could be doing right now is initiating and nurturing new relationships with people you don’t know at the moment but who work for the company or companies you’d most like to target. Connecting with someone today and asking them for a job tomorrow isn’t going to work with most people. However, connecting with someone today and cultivating that relationship to the point where you seek out some assistance as a job opening appears will likely mean your contact is happier to pass on information to help you out.

Being underemployed but working has its pros and cons. It’s up to you and you alone to decide what’s right for you. Remember however that lyric of the Beatles that goes, “Get back to where you once belonged.”

 

Recent Graduate? What Now?


For the last 2-6 years, you may have been in University or College, working at passing all your courses. That  being done, you’ve graduated and have a piece of paper confirming your educational status. Congratulations are in order; well done!

What now? It’s a classic question because so many people will ask this of themselves, and so many others will ask the same question of the graduate. What now? It’s like coming to the end of a chapter before you’ve hit the middle of a book and you’d like a synopsis of where the story is going. The back cover is blank however; you have to experience the book to find out if it’s worth immersing yourself in and no one else is capable of writing a review as no one has read it yet.

Well, welcome to life. We all write our own stories which collectively we call life. Some have lives that really turn out to be a short story, some are average in length while others turn out to be akin to a long novel. Some are tales of travel and adventure, conquest and domination, a rise to power, fame and glory, and some are reflective.

You as a graduate are staring at a blank page waiting for the words to appear and then suddenly you realize you’ve got the tool in your hand that makes the words appear; you are the author of your own life’s story.

Like some others around you, you may have a very clear idea of what’s next. You’re already applying for work you are now qualified academically to pursue. You’ve perhaps lined up a job before you even graduated, and now that you have that piece of paper to prove your skills and qualifications, the employer is engraving your name on the nameplate of your new office.

Ah but then again you might be one of the many who have graduated and are truly wondering, “What next?” You’re not sure as it turns out. You spent so much time having a good time in school that you’ve no idea of what to actually DO with that shiny new B.A. in Sociology. I mean where does a Sociologist go to work? If you’re looking for the sign above a door that says, “Sociologist Grads Are Us” it doesn’t exist.

Even if you graduated in a program where the job you’ll do is more suggestive by the title of the degree or diploma, say a Computer Engineer, you may still be wondering what to do next. There’s so much to consider. Do you stay in your hometown or  move to the big city? Is the big city too big and you function better in rural communities? Sometimes it’s critical to find your ‘home’ first and your job as a second move. Then again, maybe your education dictates where you must live in order to work.

An even more significant factor is your personal motivation. Are you really driven to find work at all? Maybe you feel you’ve earned some time off. All that work for the last three years (except for your summers off) really took its toll. A year in the basement of your parents home playing video games with your pals while your meals, laundry and hydro are all provided sounds appealing. I mean why really extend yourself when others are so willing to hand you the car keys and the house key?

You could of course want to move forward but feel paralyzed and unsure of what to do employment-wise, and so you’ve hit the writer’s wall. Knowing there’s no whiteout or eraser for your life story, all you do goes in the book so best be 100% sure all your moves are the right ones. Ah the ever cautious you. You play things safe, calculate your chapters in advance – but this one has you stumped.

Consider that you have an advantage at the moment; something to seize upon if you choose. As a new graduate, you are THE person with the MOST up-to-date academic education. With limited real-world employment experience (which you obtain by working in your field), you’ve got that one distinctive plus that for the time being, makes you appealing to an employer.

Now suppose you were to hang out in the basement with your friends for a year. When you go looking for employment a year from now, you’ll have a fresh group of hungry grads looking for work and competing with you and the advantage you have now is lost. And what will you say when the interviewer asks, “So what have you been up to since graduating a year ago?”

Depending on you field of study, you could also find that what you learned in school just over a year has changed dramatically. Technology grads know this best. So 12 months from now, new grads will use their education to point out to employers that they are better qualified than you. That’s going to smart!

The choice is yours to make though. Up to now, mom and dad knew best. As it turns out, they don’t know much about your field of study and their advice can only go so far. You my friend are now the sole writer and the pen is squarely in your hand. Life is about learning and it never stops. Make some choices and make some errors. Learn from your achievements and your mistakes.

 

 

Stuck In A Rut Of A Job?


Hey how are you? No, I mean how ARE you? You…yes you the person reading this! Yeah you! Ah finally got your attention. How’s the job going eh? Not as rosy and perfect as it was some time ago then? Sorry to hear about that; no really I am. You were so sure this was THE one. Ah, well things change – we change.

So, ah, what are you’re plans today? “Going to work”? That’s it? I mean yes we both have to head on out soon to work yeah, but what are you DOING today to either make work better or find a better gig? You know, “take a sad song and make it better”?

No mate, I’m sorry but if you’re JUST going to work today, how are things going to get any better? I mean it’s not like you really expect somebody to ring you up and offer you the perfect job if you aren’t even out there looking for it. Yeah, yeah, I know the odd lucky one gets a call from out of the blue when some Recruiter calls them up after reading their LinkedIn profile and such, but listen mate really? I mean I’ve seen your rather pathetic excuse of a profile and you haven’t done much to really make it stand out now have you. What you’re needing is some motivation friend.

I hear you. I mean sure you’ve got to focus on work when you’re actually at work and then when you get home you can’t find the energy to job search after dinner. But uh, well, you know then as well as I do that things are almost never going to change. This is it then isn’t it? This life you’ve got, this excuse of a job that you once thought was downright smashing and all the rage. How much longer do you think you can go on? I mean you’re only in your 30’s now and you’ve got roughly 30 more years to go. It’s like you’re in the lockup!

Look, anything worth having is worth the work it takes to get it isn’t it? The old man told you that years ago but turns out the old guy knew a thing or two didn’t he? You’re floating along and can do that job with your eyes closed at this point right? I mean no more challenge, no more growing and stretching yourself? The only stretching your getting mate is on the couch at the end of the day. Don’t think we all haven’t noticed either even if you haven’t. You’re mentally exhausted and your brain is sending the message to slow down when your body isn’t even working up a sweat!

Oh so you DO want to do something about it then? Good! Well then DO something don’t just WANT to do something! Well for starters do you want to stay with the company or get a fresh start somewhere else? I mean, aside from your job, is there any other position in the company you know of that you think you’d be interested in? Yeah that’s the question then isn’t it? You’d best find out then what options you’ve got there.

So what is it then? I mean is it this company or the job itself? Could you be happier doing something the same as you’re doing now but somewhere else? You know, a new boss, new digs, corner office this time ’round?

All right, all right keep your shirt on! Sure enough then it’s to be something completely different then Well at least that little emotional outburst shows you’re alive and kicking! I thought you’d turned into one of those working zombies without a pulse but clearly you’re not too far gone and saveable!

Look, you best make a list of what you’re good at and the skills you’ve got. Yeah I know it sounds hokey but it’s the thing to do. Look do you want to go on like this or not? Then you’ve got to change something up man! Just do it. While you’re at it, write down what you like and don’t like in your present job. What’s that third thing there? Gloria? Who’s Gloria? Listen you can’t write down, ‘Gloria’ under things you like in your present job! Do behave!

Okay good start then. So you know your skills, you know what you like and don’t like. What are the things you’ve got going in your life now that you don’t want to change? This is where you write down my name mate! No really, what’s up for changing and what’s non-negotiable. Willing to get a new address or not? Big office? Small firm? What are you thinking is best?

Look here’s the thing. What you’re after is a gig that matches up with your skills and qualifications but is a good fit for your personality too. Might mean heading back to school you know. Can you handle the day job and night classes? What if GLORIA was there? Ha thought so!

Yeah you’re on track for a starter. What you’re needing then is someone with more smarts than I’ve got. It’s a Counsellor you’re wanting. You know, down at the Centre? They’re the experts in finding a good match. Set something up on your day off or lunchtime. Hey it’s your life mate. 30 years more…remember? Thought you’d forgotten.

So what are YOU DOING today?

 

 

 

 

 

How To Avoid Getting Stuck In A Job


There are two ways to avoiding getting stuck; one is to plan ahead, and the other is to take a different course of action once you are stuck so you don’t continue to remain stuck and can proceed.

Consider just for a moment a vehicle approaching a wet and muddy dirt road. A wise driver sizes up the road if it must be traveled at all, and keeps his or her eyes well ahead to best aim for the high and drier sections, avoiding the deep ruts, the puddles of unknown depths. If the vehicle does get stuck, instead of sitting there just spinning the tires again and again, the prudent driver gets out, wedges something like small branches under the tires if nothing else is available, and uses this new traction to move the vehicle.

Now apply this same logic and scenario to your present situation. Surely you’ve heard of people being stuck in a job, feeling like they are going nowhere. Most of the time, I have found through conversation that few of those people bothered to really look ahead to see what was down the road. In fact, with no long-distance view or planning, they accepted a job and were quite happy at the time, only to stall and grown discontented with their work. So what went wrong?

Using the same analogy as the vehicle, what really happened was short-sighted planning. The person found out about the job, did a little research, landed the interview after applying, sold the interviewer on them, accepted the job offer and then got so hung up on doing the daily stuff that they neglected to keep on working for the future. The result of course is that the person has the necessary skills and knowledge to do the present job, but hasn’t put together a plan of further training that will allow them to compete for advancement. They stopped looking down the road for higher ground.

Now feeling stuck in a job going nowhere, the solution is essentially the same as the vehicle stuck in the rut. If all you do is come to work and do the requirements of the job you have now, you’re spinning your tires and learning nothing new, and hence are not putting yourself in a position to successfully advance. However, like getting out to wedge some small branches under the tires, you can gain traction in your future by pausing to put some things in place now that will ultimately advance your career.

So how do you get started on a practical basis? Well, first look at positions in your present company that interest you. These positions are primarily higher up on the organizational chart, but consider lateral moves too. A move that keeps you at the same line on the salary grid but gives you additional experience and provides a change might be just what you need at present. Okay so now looking at these positions, get a hold of the job description and see what the requirements are in terms of skills, knowledge, experience etc.

As a first step, you know now what is required and can gauge how you are presently positioned to compete if there was a job opening today. If you find that you are missing a few things, the next logical step would be to determine how you can go about acquiring those skills and experience. And it’s not always a return to school that is the answer. Sometimes it’s displaying leadership which you could obtain by taking on a project or volunteering to chair some committee.

Another thing you should do is communicate to your immediate supervisor that you have an interest in a specific position if the opportunity should present itself. This can be done in a very non-threatening way if you communicate that you are doing some long-range planning. Avoid stating how unhappy you are at present, or that you are considering an imminent departure. You want their support and guidance not their lack of trust and suspicion, so why not ask for their advice and suggestions on how best to advance? Communicate that you admire how they themselves are in a position of leadership for example, and get them on board with you.

When you have a goal of obtaining a different position, be it in the near or distant future, it’s also a good idea to put some kind of time frame on that goal. Is it a six month plan, a one year plan or a two-year plan. I personally don’t like looking too far beyond three years, as too many variables can affect that planning. Decide what’s right for you personally.

Next thing to do is put in place some shorter term objectives that will as you reach them, signal to you and your boss if you have shared these, that you are advancing; things are on track, and your ultimate goal is getting closer. This is also great for your mind if you otherwise feel stagnated, trapped, stuck and unchallenged. Yes this is some work on top of coasting along doing what you normally do, but you want something different right? Keep focused on why you’re doing the extra work in the first place – you want to become unstuck!

Job shadow someone in the job now, set up a lunch meeting. How bad do you really want to advance?