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17 Signs You’ve Been Staying In The Same Job For Too Long

17 Signs You’ve Been Staying In The Same Job For Too Long

As children, we all have our dreams. We are going to be doctors, lawyers, astronauts, or NBA players. Then reality sets in. The cost of college or graduate school deters you from going. And then you realize the chances of you making it to the NBA are small because you’re only 5’10”. Then you settle. You settle, you settle, and then you settle some more. Here are 17 signs that you have been staying in the same job too long, and it’s time to get a little inspiration to get your tushie in gear and make a change.

1. You learn absolutely nothing new at training sessions.

Yeah, yeah, yeah … team building. Yaddah yaddah yaddah… leadership. Blah blah blah…diversity. If you could teach the trainings yourself, maybe you should actually go do it!

 2. You think the new employees are “kids.”

Aging is weird. It sneaks up on you. But when the day comes that all the new people seem like children to you, then you know that maybe you’ve been there a little too long. Well, let me clarify. If the new hires who are equals – at the same level as you – are “kids,” then that’s a problem.

3. Your sick days and vacation days may have rolled over so long that you might lose them.

Hey, it’s highly commendable that you are so healthy that you don’t need your sick days. But if your vacation days have stacked up because you can’t afford to take one, well, maybe you need to get some more ambition and move up the corporate ladder.

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4. Your stack of awards for longevity on the job are piling up.

It’s great that you have commitment. Commitment is good. Well, that is if you’re talking about a 50-year marriage. But if you’ve been so committed to your company, your boss, or your job that you just get numb inside when you see all the plaques on your wall for all the years you’ve been there, well, need I say more?

5. You surf the internet way too much.

Either you get done with your work way too quickly (and have a lot of time left over), or there isn’t enough work for you. It doesn’t matter. Either way, your brain is searching for ways to overcome boredom. You can only watch so many YouTube videos a day before your mind becomes mush.

6. You constantly check your clock to see if it’s 5 PM yet.

Is there anything worse than having time drag? I think not. Have you ever heard of the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun?” Yeah. We all have. But if that’s not what you’re living, then there’s a problem. You should be in the moment and love what you’re doing. Not be a clock-watcher.

7. You daydream about anything … and everything.

Winning the lottery. A fantasy trip to Bora Bora. Escaping your life and living on a mountain alone. It doesn’t matter. If you find yourself thinking about anything other than work, then your mind is trying to tell you that it’s bored. Prepare for the next challenge.

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8. You don’t get invited out with the “in-crowd” for happy hour anymore.

Maybe you used to be the life of the party in your day. But what if you’re only in your 30s? It’s not okay if you consider yourself “over the hill” if you’re not. Heck, even if you really are over the hill, it’s better to live in denial. If you’ve lost your spark, you need to go find it again. Probably somewhere else.

9. Your resume titles sound different, but the descriptions are the same.

Let’s face it. Anyone who has written a “good” resume knows that it always sounds better “on paper.” A telemarketer can be a “marketing specialist.” Or a receptionist can be an “executive assistant.” Anyone who has written a good resume knows that you can spin any job into sounding cool. If you find yourself doing that, you need to move on.

10. You no longer care about cool business lunches.

It used to be a sign of prestige. It used to be a time to go out and show your stuff. It was glamorous. It was seductive. But if all you do is dread these business lunches, well, you guessed it. Houston, we have a problem!

11. You don’t care if you get in trouble from HR or your boss.

Maybe it’s that you know them too well because you’ve been there forever. Or maybe you just don’t even care about being fired anymore – either because you think you can’t be – or because you think it might actually be a good thing.

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12. You could sleepwalk through your job because you know it so well.

While feeling confident and knowledgeable in your duties is a wonderful thing, if it becomes so routine that you could do it blindfolded and tied up, then that’s a problem. Human beings need positive challenge in life to thrive. So if you’re not getting any, it’s time to do something different.

13. You count the “ya knows” and “likes” that the newest 22-year-old is saying.

You’re so bothered by the new cool lingo of the 20-somethings that, in order to keep you from doing something unacceptable, you decide to count the number of times that they say a word. Obviously, this will just drive you crazy and it won’t help you retain what they are saying.

14. You don’t even need to look at your performance review, because it’s the same. Every. Single. Time.

If you just toss your review in the bottom drawer of your desk without looking at it, you might have a problem. Maybe you’re at the top of your game and you don’t need to improve. If so, that’s great. But you’ll never know what to change if you don’t even glance at it. But if you have enough experience with reading the same comments over and over, then it’s time to move on.

15. Your boss is 20 years younger than you.

How did that happen? When did that happen? If the “kids” are already at your level or above (like your superior), maybe you need to look for the next challenge and better yourself.

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16. Your reasons for staying aren’t even believable to you anymore.

Health insurance. Vacation. Sick days. Promotion opportunities. Your commitment to the company. While these might be some good reasons to stay, remember, when you go somewhere else, you will probably have a similar situation with all of these things. So these reasons aren’t really reasons, they’re called excuses.

17. You dream of retirement.

If you start calculating how much money you’ll bring in per month between your retirement pension and social security, then you are dreaming of escape. Not many people look forward to being “old,” but if it’s your fantasy because that means freedom from the mundane doldrums of your job, then you need to start moving onward and upward.

The takeaway

Becoming stagnant in any area of our lives is not healthy. And plus, safety and security are only illusions. So be brave. Be bold. Try new things. Get a new job!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

How to Bounce Back Gracefully After Getting Fired

Whether you saw it coming or not, getting fired is a real shock and its impact is daunting. What did you do wrong? What are you supposed to do next? When will you stop feeling so angry?

But there are ways to deal with a layoff.

The most important thing is to remain calm and see it as an opportunity to reflect, change and improve. This is a great time to consider what happened, look again at your needs and desires and start afresh on a stronger, more constructive basis.

Let’s take a look at how you can bounce back gracefully after getting fired.

1. Deal with the Shock of Getting Fired

To lose your job is to lose your identity as a worker and as a person. Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, states that 7 out of 10 of us define ourselves by our job titles, since work is where we spend the majority of our time and energy.

Being laid off affronts your sense of self-worth—it implies that you simply are not good enough. It’s no wonder you feel confused and emotional.

The first thing, then, is to take some time to digest what happened and deal with the overflow of sensations. People who quickly recover from the pain of a job loss tend to do two things very well:

First, they accept their feelings of sadness, anger, fear and shame as a part of the natural healing process.

Second, they do their complaining to a friend.

Never call out your boss in the office or on social media. It’s a bad form to speak ill of the company you work for. Stay stylish, and your employer will speak better of you when you need a reference.

2. Stay Away from the Drama Queens

Mass layoffs are, unfortunately, very common. If this is your situation, then you may be surrounded by a lot of angry people, ruminating and lamenting their fate.

“It’s not fair!” they say. “After everything we did for this company! We don’t deserve this!”

You’ve lost your job and that’s tough. But please resist the urge to join in the negativity. Positivity is by far the most important attitude to apply right now. If staying upbeat means you have to limit your exposure to the Negative Nellies, then that’s what you have to do.

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Remember, life is not harder for you than it is for other people on this planet. You live in a democracy, you have freedom of choice and you enjoy a certain material abundance.

Stay positive and focus on what’s going well in your life and the exciting future opportunities available to you. Getting fired is only a temporary setback.

Staying positing could be challenging in a difficult situation, so these tips can help:

10 Questions To Ask Yourself To Stay Positive When Facing Difficulties

3. Take a Break and Let the Dust Settle

Instead of running straight into another job that may not be the right one either, take a short break to recover from the job loss. You need a week or two to de-stress and meditate on the next step.

Be attentive to your need for self-care during this interlude. Everything goes so fast these days that we often do not stop to think or give ourselves the permission to do a little mourning.

Getting fired is a big shock: you need time to refocus and take stock of the new reality. Do not make things harder for yourself!

What you need is to pause a while and do some self reflection:

How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

4. Be Anchored in the Present

Since you no longer have a hold on the past, but have not yet designed your future, try to build yourself up with the present. What do we mean by that?

We mean that right now is the only time you have any control over. Focus on that instead of losing yourself in memories or reliving the awful day you got fired over and over in your head.

Get up at 7 a.m. each day, whatever happens. The body needs rhythm and habits. You will feel much more energized if you keep a consistent routine. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, revisit your budget, play sports, volunteer. Take care of the practical stuff like claiming unemployment. Enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life.

When you’re busy, there’s no room for the inner critic to raise up and derail you. Keep active, and you will gain more of the precious energy you need so much to move forward.

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Try these things to help you live in the moment:

34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment

5. Understand the “Why”

There are lots of reasons why people are fired. Sometimes the mistake is yours and it’s embarrassing to admit you backed yourself into this corner.

Other times, it’s not your fault. Businesses change direction all the time—maybe yours is going through a major transition or merger and your job is disappearing.

Either way, to give the situation some closure, you need to understand why you were dismissed. What slipped? What could you have done differently? Was your boss really out to get you or did you do something to put your job in jeopardy?

Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy to admit that you might have dropped the ball but it’s the only way to turn the situation into a learning experience. Ask yourself:

What skills do you need to improve?

Is there training you can access, or learning you can do?

In the end, did this job suit you that much? Were you happy there?

Reflecting on these questions can help you put things into perspective. What lessons can you learn to avoid reproducing the same pattern in your next job?

6. Find out If You Were the Right Fit

Hiring decisions ultimately come down to personality. You can study for an interview all you like, but every candidate who is chosen for interview has the right credentials for the job.

The final decision comes down to personality. Who does the recruiter like the best? Who is a better fit for the company culture? That’s the person who strikes it lucky.

Firing decisions are based on personality, too. Slacking off, insubordination and playing fast and loose with the company rules—these are the official reasons why people are getting fired.

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But all of these reasons boil down to one thing: personality. Specifically, they signal a personality clash between an employee and a manager, or an employee’s fit with the company’s culture.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you were fired for “not being a team player.” Some people, namely introverts, lose energy when they are surrounded by other people and gain energy when they are on their own. Forcing an introvert to continuously work on a busy, noisy team without any solitary rest periods means the job is a mission impossible. This employee will never perform at her best.

Or how about the time the Kansas City Star newspaper fired Walt Disney for a perceived lack of imagination? Talk about a clash of personalities![1]

Getting fired can be a signal to turn inward and do some self-reflection so you can better understand your personality and how it might fit in with corporate culture.

In particular, personality assessments based on Isabel Briggs Myers’ sixteen personality types can help you to understand your own work style and how you can find a job and workplace that better match who you truly are.

In many cases, it is totally liberating to realize that all the crap you had to deal with was just down to a clash of work styles and not something you did wrong!

7. Rediscover Your Strengths and Talents

A personality test can also give you clear insights into your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and work potential. Do you have leadership abilities? How do you communicate and manage conflict? What benefits do you add to an organization?

Identifying your working style should be your top priority right now, otherwise you risk accepting a new position that has all the same problems as before. The last thing you want is to reproduce the same old dramas the next time around.

When you become aware of your potential, you will have the confidence to search and find the type of work you love.

For example, getting fired from your banking job may have knocked you sideways. But you have some stellar home decorating skills, and a personality test shows that you are curious, flexible, rational and resilient—all the traits of successful entrepreneurs. Maybe this dismissal is an opportunity to launch the business you’ve always dreamed of but never dared to admit to yourself?

By considering all your special skills and talents, you increase your chances of finding a job you would really enjoy, and not just the one you can do.

8. Get the Word Out

At this point, you should be ready to take action and move forward with your job search. Let’s not sugarcoat the situation: getting a new job is tough. It helps to have a clear idea of the direction you want to go in, a list of all your crossover skills and a freshly polished resume.

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Look around for inspiration. Talk to recruiters in your sector to establish what they consider to be your most valuable skills. Use all the resources at your disposal: job search agencies, headhunters, work coaches, careers websites and so on. These resources can help you match your qualifications to the job requirements and ensure you have the right keywords on your resume.

Don’t hold back on marshaling your networks. Put friends and family to work to pop up leads, and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Sometimes the simple act of getting the word out to the people who know you is the surest way to find work fast.

9. Anticipate Questions and Know How to Answer Them

Even if it wasn’t your fault, getting fired can hurt you if you don’t know how to explain why you were let go. You have to be honest here and tell recruiters the truth. Even if a would-be employer does not specifically ask why you left your previous job, it is better to clarify the situation upfront before it comes out in your references.

The best approach is to take your share of responsibility and show that you want to go forward and that you understand the lesson.

For example, suppose you got fired for asking the difficult questions that no one wanted to answer and your candidness set people on edge. Acknowledge that some people perceive your communication style as abrupt and explain how you’re taking steps to increase your diplomacy skills.

A recruiter can be seduced by someone who knows how to evolve and who shows a great energy for personal development.

10. Adapt and Persist

Throughout this journey, you inevitably will go through moments of self-doubt and disappointment. There are undulations in every road, and these are the normal steps for regaining self-confidence after getting fired.

Stay tough! Don’t conclude that your future is hopeless just because the dream job doesn’t land straightaway. You open a positive path when you maintain focus. Have the confidence to know that the perfect job for you is out there.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people walked this road and they would urge you to keep the momentum. Stay open-minded and go where the opportunities take you: it will bring you closer to the job you really want.

Coming Out on Top

While getting fired isn’t the ideal situation, it isn’t the end of the world either. Even if feels like a doozy right now, you will get through it and emerge happier on the other side.

Be clear on what you want, have courage and believe in yourself. In the end, you may decide that getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to you. It can be the catalyst for a powerful, career-fulfilling change.

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Featured photo credit: Jesus Kiteque via unsplash.com

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