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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

9 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Advancement

9 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Advancement

Are you focused on career advancement, or is it not your priority?

For many of us, having a secure job to go to each week is important and career is not much of an interest. It may not be an issue until we start to feel discontent at work. When this happens, we naturally start to look for another job.

By this time, desperation has often crept in and we go into reaction mode. We become impatient for change and may jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

The more interested we are in career advancement, the less likely we are to get to that stage. This is because we make conscious and objective choices, and we are more proactive about them.

There are many benefits to advancing our career. These include salary raises, increased work satisfaction, travel opportunities, building skills, and personal growth. All of these contribute to our quality of life in general.

For many people, career advancement happens organically. I know it always did for me. It was not something I consciously pursued; my employers just saw potential in me. I guess, in a way, I was lucky.

But for most of us, if it is something we want, then we need to make a conscious choice.

If you’ve had an intention to advance your career from the onset, you possibly have a good idea where you’re heading and how to get there. But if you’re new to the concept, you may not know where to start.

Because of this, I have put together what I consider to be 9 powerful steps to achieve career advancement.

1. Set An Intention to Advance Your Career

Starting with the outcome in mind is always a good place to start when you want to achieve something.

Forbes magazine says that it is about defining what success is in your career.[1] Success is different for everyone, so it is important to make this clear from the beginning.

This can be challenging from the onset, especially if you are not really sure. But if you spend time exploring this early, it will guide you to make the right decision and help you choose the right company to work for and roles most appropriate for you.

Even more essential is to regularly check in with your intentions at different points throughout your career path. This will help you see if it is still relevant to what you want as you change and grow. Because what you want now will more likely be very different from what you want in five years.

A favorite interview question is, “What is your five-year plan?

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This is because it is helpful to know this when your potential employer makes a decision. It is also beneficial for you because it gives you direction and helps you make effective decisions.

Imagine how you want your career to look like five years from now. Think about how this may benefit your whole life. Remember that your career is just a part of your life; it is important that it benefits your life in general.

2. Explore What You Enjoy

The more we enjoy our work, the more satisfied we feel. And increasing job satisfaction gives us more potential for career advancement. We become more productive when we see greater opportunities that lead us to be noticed.

In general, we enjoy what we are good at, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, we develop strengths just because we have been doing them for a long time, or we have been trained well.

My career is probably a really good example of this. I am strong in numbers and was a skilled bookkeeper. Yet, I have chosen a career in human services. This career is the love of my life, and I have been very successful in it.

It’s also easier to learn new skills when they are related to what you enjoy. Even out of comfort zone skills become more doable. For instance, I was a C grade student in English, and now I have become a skilled writer because I write about my passion.

We can be doing something for years without fully enjoying our work. Getting clear on what most lights you up from the inside and working with that creates fulfilment. This contributes to your prospects of career advancement.

Write a list of all the things you have enjoyed, even what you loved to do as a child. Look for a common thread that could be part of your career.

3. Be a Forward Thinker in Your Job Choice

If career advancement was not on your horizon before, you might be in the pattern of accepting a job just because it is offered. It is easy to do, especially if you are unhappy in your current workplace.

Doing this can eventually lead to more of the same; even if you are happy in the role, to begin with. This can limit your career and even set you back for a few years.

When you have a big picture outcome for your career, you can use a simple process to ensure you make choices serving that outcome. This can fast track your career success.

For each role or job that interests you, check for its alignment with the bigger picture.

Look for where it can contribute to your ultimate goal and how you can use it as a stepping-stone. For example, will it mean you have to learn new skills or open you up to new networks? Is there potential for promotion or not?

4. Do Not Keep Your Plans a Secret

In business, there is a fantastic saying:

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“You can be really good at what you do, but if it’s a secret you won’t attract clients.”

The same goes for career advancement. You can have wonderful plans for professional growth, but keeping it a secret delays your development.

When you have decided what you want to achieve in your career, it is a good idea to let the appropriate people know. This might mean being prepared for that “5-year plan” question at your interview and answering honestly. Or actually ask if there are opportunities for career advancement.

And if you are in a company you love working for, let your superior know your aims. Freely sharing this information and asking them to keep you in mind puts you on their radar. This makes them more likely to give you the chance to develop yourself or trust you with extra responsibilities.

As you take on more, it gives you a chance to show what you are capable of. And this puts you in the forefront for future opportunities.

5. Stand Out by Believing in Yourself

When we believe in ourselves, it increases our self-confidence. And we all know that confident people tend to stand out in the workplace.

Believing in yourself and what you are capable of also leads others to believe in you too. This makes you more likely to be considered for promotion when it becomes available.

We are all very good at noticing our negative qualities. Many of us are also very talented at beating ourselves up for those things. This lowers our self-belief and in turn, our self-confidence.

When we flip this pattern and notice our wonderful qualities instead, our self-belief increases. Plus, our superiors are more likely to notice those strengths too.

One of the greatest self-confidence boosting exercises I like to do is writing a list of all your amazing qualities in a journal. Then write a list of all the things you are good at. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this and keep coming back to it as the answers come to you.

You will be astonished at how much you have on your list. And you may realize that you are a great catch for any employer.

6. Identify Your Strengths Using Profiling Tools

Profiling tools are a fantastic way to identify what we are good at. It can cut out the guess-work, and it hones in on our professional strengths. These days, there are many different types available.

Extended DISC is a tool I have used for myself and my clients for a long time. I prefer this method because it doesn’t pigeon hole us. Instead, it helps us build on the strengths and developmental areas that we naturally have.

This profiling tool is based on the works of Carl Jung and William Marston. It helps us build on our strengths and modify our behaviors to improve our performance. And when we improve our performance, we increase our opportunity for career advancement.

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We can identify our strengths by writing our own list in a journal. We can also ask our work colleagues or honest friends to help us with this. Other people close to us can often see our strengths easier than we can.

Once you know your strengths, identify ways to build on them to improve your performance. You can try to volunteer for responsibilities where your strengths can be utilized.

7. Be Prepared to Level Up Your Knowledge and Skills

For every strength, there is an underside, and we must work on those to increase our opportunities.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is:

“Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

This means that if we want to advance our career, we might need to do different things and learn new skills. We can also develop in areas that we are not that strong at.

Be willing to study further to support your career advancement. In many instances, the company you work for will chip in with the financial side. But if not, be happy to fund it yourself. After all, it is for your own benefit.

Also, volunteering for extra responsibilities that are out of your comfort zone allows you to learn new skills. You can sometimes do this by offering to cover someone when they are away or on holiday.

8. Show That You Want to Advance Your Career

We can have the best skills in the world, but if our outer image does not reflect our inner success, we can still be passed over when it comes to promotion.

Our image gives others an impression of our personal brand. Our personal brand is what we stand for, which includes our qualities, beliefs, and values. Therefore, it is important to look the part.

Sally Mlikota from CBC Staff Selection says it is important to dress for success. Research conducted by various career agencies showed that 65% of hiring managers say that clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates in an interview.[2]

I believe this also applies when already working in a company you want to advance in. Promotion really is like applying for a new job.

Think about the new role you want and the responsibilities along with it. Consider the qualities, values, and strengths the role might require. Do you have those attributes, and if not, how will you develop them?

And once you have those qualities, how would you dress and present yourself? A personal stylist can also help you with this.

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This is not about becoming something you are not. It’ is about developing and building on who you already are. Then, acting and dressing as if you already have the role.

9. Find a Good Mentor to Help You Advance Faster

For anything we want to achieve, there is always someone else who has already done it. And if we have a successful career, we are often eager to share how we did it.

Achieving success in anything involves making mistakes and overcoming many challenges. Working with a mentor or a coach can help you minimize these and fast track your career success.

That is why many network marketers do so well. They always have mentors on hand to tell them step by step how they did it.

You can find a mentor in your current workplace, or you can meet them while networking.

In my experience, networking in appropriate circles always expands opportunities. It gives us the chance to get to know people. And this allows us to make the best choices.

When deciding on a mentor, make sure that the person has the results you want. Just because someone has the kind of role you want doesn’t necessarily mean they are doing it well. It’s essential to build the relationships first, so you can get to know the person before you decide.

Lastly, don’t be shy about it. Just ask them. More often than not, you will find they feel honored.

To Sum It Up

We spend many hours at work each week. For that reason, it is vital that we feel satisfied with our roles. Feeling happy at work has a positive effect on our health and every relationship we have both at work and personally.

There are two choices:

You can either take it as it comes and change jobs when you feel unhappy. This means leaving it to chance, and you might never feel long-term fulfillment.

Or, you can consciously choose career advancement and know where you are heading. This one has positive effects on all aspects of your life, not to mention the potential increases in salary.

Which one will you choose?

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Featured photo credit: Jud Mackrill via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Forbes: 5 Things You Can Do to Advance Your Career
[2] CBC Staff Selection: Dress for Success

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a professional mindset speaker and a transformational life, business and career coach. Specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

How to Survive a Quarter Life Crisis (The Complete Guide) How to Learn Patience to Get Your Thoughts and Feelings Under Control 9 Self Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back from Success How to Make a Plan And Reach Your Goals in Life How to Write a Good SMART Goal Statement

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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

8 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy at Work (And What to Do)

8 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy at Work (And What to Do)

Work isn’t great right now. Do you remember when you were so excited to get this job? But now, the excitement of change and accomplishment has worn off, and you find yourself in a general state of unhappiness at work…

Why are you really unhappy at work? There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy in your job role and it is easy to place blame on other people or things out of your control. What is the real reason, underneath your excuses and the feeling of just knowing you aren’t happy?

And why don’t you just quit? That is always the go to move, isn’t it? You don’t like your job, quit it and find another. But after a few jobs, you find that the problem isn’t the job, it is like no matter what dream job you get, you end up back here. Unhappy. Even if this job was your dream before, the crushing reality that it is not all you thought it would be is setting in. And in reality, not all of us can just quit our jobs and flit off and get their dream job, we have lives and responsibilities.

So I compiled a helpful list of all the top 8 reasons people are unhappy at work and what to do about it to help you move forward towards a happier life in your current job role.

1. You Hate Your Boss

Your boss, thou who decides thy fate doth hath the uncanny ability to rub you up the wrong way. Not everyone likes their boss, we all dream of this perfect boss who doesn’t micro manage and isn’t incompetent. But nobody is perfect, not even your dream boss.

Your boss controls your work environment, they organize work, define your job role and is your support network and back up if you reach a problem. If you have an issue with your boss, it’s time to take some responsibility and do something about it. You are not responsible for your boss’ behavior but you can control your reactions, actions and attitude moving forward.

If you walk into the office every day committing to hate your boss, there is no room for growth or amending fences. You need to decide to find a way to make this work, here are the 3 things you can do to help you take control of your happiness at work:

  • Discuss your issues with your boss and find a way you can both work together. Team up and create a plan so that you can both work and not vex each other.
  • Improve your communication skills with them. We all communicate in different ways, you need to find a way to see eye to eye. Find out how they communicate and learn to communicate in that way so that they will respond to you better because they feel heard and understood.
  • Step up. If you can’t reason with your boss and they keep shutting you down, find a way to work around them so you don’t have to rely on them. Take on more responsibility.

2. You Hate Your Co-Workers

We ALL have co-workers we do not like, they drive us up the wall in ways you couldn’t even imagine. Your happiness is dependent on your environment and, if you spend 40+ hours of your week in an environment that doesn’t make you happy, you will be unhappy.

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Co-workers play a huge part in this, as social creatures, we crave social interaction and we are forced to socialize with our co workers simply by proximity. If we are surrounded by negative people who don’t make us feel good about ourselves, unhappiness and a drop in self confidence follows.

What can we do about this? We have two options when dealing with annoying co workers:

  • Change your attitude about them. Realize that the things your co-workers are doing that annoy you are just reflections of your own inner judgement. For example, Brenda from accounting tells lots of white lies and it drives you mad because you hate lying. That is an issue with your experiences with lying and not something you can control. You can’t control their actions (the white lies) but you can control your reactions (your very obvious eye roll and comment). Instead of responding negatively to them, change the narrative to a more positive judgement and release the negative one. Re-write who you think they are and see the other side of the picture. So when Brenda tells a small white lie, think about how she does it to make someone else feel better, even if she doesn’t believe it herself, she’s compassionate and focus on the good.
  • Avoid them. Some people are just incompatible, it can’t be helped and if you can’t change them or accept them for who they are, simply avoid them at all costs. Requests to move desks if you have too, find a way to not be around them if they are causing you this much pain and stress.

3. Your Job Isn’t Fun or Rewarding

Your job isn’t always going to be fun and games; and when it no longer becomes rewarding, you are going to feel unhappy. Human beings thrive on rewards and entertainment and we love competition. By making your work environment fun and rewarding, you will start to enjoy going to work.

How can you make your job more fun and rewarding?

  • You can try creating games for yourself to play, friendly competitions with your co workers (if you like them!)
  • Create a rewards system so if you hit a target or goal, you get a coffee from Starbucks or another small treat. An example of this would be, if you close 3 files by 5pm, you get to have a cocoa nib; or if you win today’s sales target, you get to have the victory trophy on your desk for the day.

4. You Don’t Believe in the Work That You Are Doing

This one is one of the core reasons you’re unhappy in a job role; you are living out of alignment of your core values.

If your job role doesn’t match up with your core values, then you will be miserable. If you value helping people and you work in program coding, you will struggle to be happy, unlike someone whose values problem solving.

It isn’t impossible to enjoy your job if your values don’t align with your work. You could reason that by doing program coding, you are helping someone, be it your co-workers or the people who will eventually use your project. You can always flip your perspective.

Learn what your core values are and find a way for them to align with your job role, in doing so changing the motivation that drives you to do your work. For example, to help people or to problem solve.

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And if you can’t, maybe it is time to start to consider a career change into a job you have always wanted to do secretly, deep down.

5. You Feel Stagnant in Your Job Role and You Are Bored

Your job isn’t going anywhere and you feel like you are wasting your time on this earth, feeling utterly unfulfilled. We love being safe and secure but we also love progression, we get bored of the same ol’ same old, we want new challenges and things to do. If you are just pushing through papers, day in day out, you will become unhappy so what can you do about it?

  • Apply for a promotion or ask for new challenges from your boss.
  • Mix up your attitude, find ways to make it more fun and exciting.
  • Shop around for a promotion at another firm.

6. You Are Underpaid

You feel underpaid for the work that you are doing and it is making you feel unhappy because all the hard work you are putting in isn’t being appreciated enough. If it was, you wouldn’t feel underpaid.

Let’s ask the hard question, are you really being underpaid? Or do you just feel unappreciated or overworked? Maybe it is because you have taken on additional responsibilities and you feel like you aren’t being rewarded accordingly.

People who are unhappy because they feel underpaid are stressed about money, they are working hard and it is going unnoticed and unappreciated.

The key component at play here is stress. Increasing bills and expenses in their personal life, general life stresses, more and more work is coming in and it is being unrewarded and you feel like you need a reward for handling all this stress. And you do, but you have been purchasing stress relief for a while and you need more money to pay for more stress relief, as more stresses get dropped into your inbox each day.

If you feel underpaid, it is because you don’t love your work and it’s is not worth the amount of stress for your salary. Have you heard that famous quote:

Working for something you don’t care about is called Stress. Working for something you do care about is called Passion.

Here are things you can do to spark happiness when you are feeling underpaid

  • Reignite your passion with your work, find meaning in it and see the results that you are creating. Every day you come in and you make a difference somehow, start to see how it’s affecting other people, and start to appreciate yourself for doing it.
  • Ask for a raise. Simple but often never done option.
  • If you are being underpaid and if there is no room for a raise (and you have asked), then I suggest finding ways to reduce your stress levels. Trying things like guided meditations, exercise or stress relieving hobbies can reduce the feeling of being undervalued because your life is suddenly so much more than just working for money.

7. You Are Overwhelmingly Overworked

We all get burnt out from work sometimes as work comes in flows of business. And at some point, you crack and the pressure and stress gets to be a little too much; especially since you have sacrificed your personal life just to try and keep on top of this ever increasing workload.

If you feel overworked, you need to learn some self-care so you can keep on top of the burnout:

  • Stop helping out unnecessarily, at least until you feel under worked. Start saying no to anything that isn’t vitally important.
  • Find a way to automate or reduce your workload. Delegate, hire new staff, get programs into to automate parts of your job role.
  • Keep on top of your mental health, make sure you are doing the necessary things to keep it in check, whatever your process is (or find a process and implement it).
  • Set boundaries. Work shouldn’t be your life, if you say you are clocking off at 6, you clock off at 6. Set hard boundaries because this technologically advancing modern world will push them. If you finish work, don’t check your emails, leave the office, go do something recreational to help you relax and rest, I advise going on a walk to let your head relax.

8. You Are Feeling Really Unappreciated at Work

One of the core driving elements in humans is our need for recognition and if it goes un appeased, you will feel unhappy. You can try and force appreciation out of your co-workers and bosses, like a child with their 10th crayon drawing sticking it under their parents noses and gladly proclaiming what they have done. But that is never as satisfying as it seems and the validation received is not authentic enough, it feels hollow and empty.

So what can you do about it since you cannot control anyone expression appreciation of your hard work?

Be the change you want to see in the office. Create an initiative to show everyone else they are appreciated, I bet that half of your office feel unappreciated.

Start a culture of appreciation and gratitude, start thanking people and noticing their hard work. Go out of your way to make someone else feel appreciated, the more you do it, the better your environment will become.

With all things, Expectation equals Manifestation. If you treat everyone with appreciation and make an effort, they will most certainly make an effort to appreciate you back. Someone just has to start the chain, why shouldn’t it be you?

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All of these issues can also be resolved by you quitting your job and finding a greener field. Sometimes your job just sucks, your boss is just unworkable, no matter how positive you are, people are always unappreciative and negative and you really are underpaid.

What If You Hate Your Job But Can’t Quit?

There is a difference between being unhappy in your job role and hating your job which makes it much harder when you want to quit and you can’t. Not everyone can just quit their job whenever they feel like it, even with some savings hidden away, you have bills to pay, a social life to maintain (when you can get one!) and people who rely on you. But you HATE your job, you wake up in the morning and you really wish you could wake up as somebody else in an alternate timeline.

Here are our top 3 things to do when you really hate your job and can’t quit.

  1. Change departments or job roles within the business. Shop around, see if there is another role that would be more suited to you or that you would actually find more interesting.
  2. Change your attitude. You attitude controls your reality, if you wake up and decide that you hate work, you are not going to have a good day. Change your mindset from negative to gratitude. Make a list of all the reasons you are grateful for your job, it may take a while, but the more reasons you find the be grateful, the easier it is going to work will become.
  3. Apply for other jobs, there is nothing stopping you from quitting your job if you have another solid job lined up and if it’s making you THAT miserable. No amount of money is worth the struggle to your mental health.

Final Thoughts

Remember that happiness is completely within your control. How you handle outside influences trying to wreak havoc on your happiness by putting you down and making you feel unworthy is completely up to you.

You can’t always let every comment bounce off you like water off a duck’s back, but you can control the environment you are in, the attitude in which you face adversity, and you control what you think. Make an effort to learn to see things in another way because even if you quit and go to a greener grass, not everything will always be “perfect”.

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Featured photo credit: Mimi Thian via unsplash.com

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