Career boredom plagues most people who either work in the same location and do routine work or remain in positions with no growth. It is easy to become complacent and collect a check by doing mundane tasks that require little to no creativity or hard work. But when economic turmoil, financial distress or a merger/acquisition occurs, the reality of the potential of not having a cushion job can push you into creating a career road map. Laura Garnett provides “100 Essential Questions That Will Change Your Career Path (for the Better)” but you must take action.
To be proactive with career planning, follow these 7 tips to ignite your career into a better challenge and more lucrative financial rewards:
1. Keep learning.
Education provides an asset that can’t be taken away regardless of who employs you. Don’t bank on always having this job or even playing a professional sport for long. Take advantage of on-the-job training, professional development classes, and tuition savings and reimbursement plans. If not available, read articles and journals that are focused on your career path or passions to learn more about new and exciting inventions or work in your industry.
If you are not being assigned any interesting work, volunteer to help others both inside and outside of your department. When people see you rolling up the sleeves and helping in all areas, you are not only considered a team player but a person who has great work ethic. This can give a quicker boost to the next career jump.
3. Branch out beyond the norm.
It is easy for us to talk with others that do similar jobs. It is more challenging to have conversations about completely unfamiliar topics. You learn more when you step out of the comfort zone. In fact, you might be surprised to know that the best careers flourish from an uncomfortable start.
4. Eliminate restrictive agreements.
Constraints on employment can cause you to miss great opportunities. For example, check to ensure owning a business or having a part-time job or working in another group on a loaner basis doesn’t violate employment rules. If you are a great multi-tasker, consult an attorney or business owner to determine the pros and cons and the best way to get out of the contract to flourish your career.
5. Work in silence.
There’s nothing wrong with working hard. But keeping how hard you work to yourself and away from your competitors is the smartest way to get ahead in your professional life. The only ones who should see you work hard are the people that do and can issue a check. By keeping this silent, the right people will see what you bring to the table and ask you to do more and subsequently may pay you more.
6. Manage time wisely.
Don’t be afraid to moonlight with other jobs and internships. You have the same 24 hours that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey have in a day. Use it to test drive other career opportunities or pursue hobbies. Setting aside time in the day or a couple of days/week will provide the opportunity to learn more than you can imagine and can set you apart from others when applying for a job in a new career path.
7. Give earned loyalty.
Don’t be loyal to a company that has not been loyal to you. Do they pay on time, give bonuses or provide publicity for hard work, support you on a cause or help to further your career? If the answer is no, learn to become detached and treat the job as a business-only relationship. Instead of lingering around after hours, broaden your horizons and repeat steps 1 – 3 (keep learning, volunteer, and branch out beyond the norm).
The best way to ensure not all eggs are in one basket is to have multiple baskets. People who ignite their career will be flooded with new opportunities to make the change they desire.