Do you find yourself constantly feeling stuck, like you could do your job with your eyes closed? Have you questioned if things at work will ever change, or if they will ever see your potential? Management doesn’t acknowledge that you have more to offer than what you’ve been contributing for a significant amount of time, you’ve been passed over for promotion, or attempts to take on more challenging assignments have failed? So, what do you do when you realise that you are not learning at your current job?
This is a question that you’ll probably ask yourself throughout your career. And there will probably be different answers each time you explore the subject.
Learning directly correlates to growth. If you’re not growing professionally, you’re probably not getting closer to your career goals (especially if you’re trying to get a promotion). But before you start thinking of what to do, you need to ask yourself why you’re no longer learning. To help you decide on the best course of action, there are key questions you need to ask about your employer, your line manager and yourself.
- Is it clear what the career path is for your role?
- Are you aware of whether your company promotes employee advancement?
- Are there clear feedback loops at your company?
If the answer is “No”:
Connect with HR or your manager to get some more insight into their plans around career growth for your position, as well as any learning and development offerings the company provides. You can even see if there’s any budget to invest in professional development. Or, network internally to get a sense of where employees have moved laterally or vertically.
If your conversations don’t lead anywhere, the answer might be to move on from the company and explore what you really want next. Would you like to take on a similar role at another company investing in their employees’ growth, or are you interested in a different position completely? Figure out what you prioritize in your career, and then start actively searching for it.
- Are you motivated in your current position?
- Do you feel supported and challenged?
- Does your manager genuinely take an interest in your career goals and find opportunities to nurture them?
If the answer is “No”:
Your boss could be in their first management role and be overwhelmed with their day-to-day duties. They could also just not be cut out for management. Either way, it shouldn’t be to your detriment. Have a candid conversation about your recent plateau. If the two of you are not already having weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meetings, you should, and here’s how to ask for them:
It’s as simple as saying: “I’ve had a chance to accomplish a lot here and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunities I’ve been given. I want to continue to contribute and grow in this team. Lately, I’m not feeling the support I need. I’ve done some self-exploration on what some of the circumstances might be, but I was hoping to get your insight as well…”
They may surprise you with their suggestions once you’ve broken the silence. It’ll also be a wake-up call to them to be more present and supportive of you and others on the team. And if they’re not responsive? That may be a sign to move on.
- Does your company and manager provide the tools, support, and face-time you need to learn and grow, yet you still feel stuck?
- Do you feel too comfortable with your responsibilities?
- Are you no longer excited about the work you’re doing?
- Does learning about the industry put you to sleep?
If the answer is “Yes”:
That’s OK! Give yourself some time to explore and get excited about something new in your career. No matter what your situation is, you’ll always have to take initiative in some way.
If your company doesn’t offer an outlet for learning, be proactive yourself. Find ways to expand your responsibilities. Force yourself to try things you’re not as familiar with or take on tasks that are bit of a stretch for your skill set.
If there’s no possibility to learn internally, take your efforts outside the office. Sign up for an online class. Or, find a meetup, event, or company doing something cool. The people you connect with and the information you absorb could lead you on a new path that provides more room for growth—or, inspire you to make some changes within your current role.
Lastly, remember, they say when you’ve outgrown the position and there is no opportunity for advancement – or you seem to work the same job day in, day out without any opportunity for growth, even though you crave more – it’s time to get out.