Is it you, or is it the job? When nothing quite seems right at the office, it can be hard to tell if you’re in a rut, or if the job is just a poor fit.
We’ve all been there, wondering what the next step is and whether a big career mistake could be lurking around the corner. Several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on these topics this week. Here is what two of them had to say.
Marla Gottschalk, director of thought leadership at Kilberry Leadership Advisors
“At some point in our work lives, many of us will find ourselves in the wrong job,” wrote Gottschalk in her post 7 Very Telling Signs Your Job is a Poor Fit. “Poor matches do happen. Jobs morph. Great bosses move on. We grow and change. Nothing is more alarming than throwing yourself into your role — and realizing things have taken an obvious turn.”
The most important thing is to identify the problem and act quickly to make change. To determine whether you’re simply in a rut, or stuck in an ill-fitting job, there are seven signs to look for, Gottschalk wrote. Among them:
“You feel lost. Have you experienced the classic nightmare where you arrive at class on exam day, only to realise that you’ve not purchased the textbook? This certainly should not be your workplace experience during waking hours,” wrote Gottschalk. “If tasks or projects leave you feeling unprepared, take note: Something is off.”
“Challenge is absent. Certainly, work is about task completion. It is our job to make that happen on a daily basis. However, if opportunities to enhance your skill set are completely absent, this can be a key problem,” she wrote. “If you feel as if you are "standing still" skill-wise, it's time to broach the topic with your boss. Remember — “withering on the vine” is not a viable career strategy.”
“You are in avoidance mode. Be honest — the process of going to work is excruciating,” Gottschalk wrote. “If you had your druthers, you would never set foot in the office again. If you’ve tried to make things work and simply cannot envision a future for yourself in your role, you have a serious problem.”
If you experience these, or the other signs, you’ve got a “clear indication that something needs to change,” wrote Gottschalk. After all, she wrote, having the right-fit job is key to remaining engaged and successful in long-term.
Bruce Kasanoff, author and speaker
Think the worst thing you can do in your career is, say, make a huge mistake that gets you fired? Not even close. Kasanoff stumbled upon what he considers the worst career mistake one can make while reading a book by Stew Friedman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in the US.
“The worst thing you can do is fail to grow,” he wrote in his post, The Worst Thing You Can Do in Your Career. To avoid this fate, you must continually cultivate the kind of skills that take you further in your career.
“In other words, if you stop growing, you will stop advancing,” wrote Kasanoff. But, “growing doesn't just mean getting better at your job. It also means getting better at helping the people who matter to you.”
For instance, Kasanoff pointed to Friedman’s example of legendary singer Bruce Springsteen as an example of what growth entails. "At the beginning of his Rising tour, throughout the show, Bruce was pounding on the band, continually focusing on corrections and improvements, much of it in between songs," he wrote. “The not-so-subtle message: if Bruce Springsteen still continually strives to grow, learn and improve... what's your excuse?”