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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!

More by this author

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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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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