It’s easy to get complacent at work. You’re not lazy, but you’re also not going out of your way to advance your career.
Here is a list of things you could do to improve your career.
Ask For Feedback
At one of my annual performance reviews, I received what I perceived as negative feedback. There were things that my boss wanted me to improve on.
However, he had not mentioned the issues previously! Just because your manager isn’t giving you regular feedback doesn’t mean all is well.
Bee proactive and ask managers, mentors, or trusted coworkers for feedback sometimes. Then, you can make adjustments instead of getting blindsided in a review.
Change Jobs for the Money
Finding a new job or position is the fastest way to increase your income consistently.
You could ask for a raise at your current workplace, but statistically, you’ll be ahead financially if you take a new position. If you like your company, you could search for a different internal position instead of looking externally.
Zippia reports that the average salary increase when changing jobs is 14.8%, while the annual average salary increase when not changing jobs is only 5.8%.
When asked to do something additional at work, say yes. This doesn’t mean letting yourself be taken advantage of.
When you have the capacity, say yes to new opportunities, even if it’s something you need to learn how to do.
Or if someone asks you to join a committee, say yes.
The additional networking or learning of new skills may lead to more opportunities in the future.
Set Career Goals
Do you know what you want to be doing one year from now? Five years?
Writing down goals can help you stay focused and make progress.
If you aim at nothing, you will likely hit nothing.
Say Thank You
You can make a choice to be thought of as a grateful person.
From my work experience, some people became known for “never saying thank you.” Their ungrateful attitude eventually caused resentment in those that consistently took on things for them but were never thanked or acknowledged for their work.
Be kind, and thank anyone that’s helped you recently.
Make it a habit to thank your coworkers and boss.
Ask For Help
When you are stuck on something, ask for help. I had a job once where people would spend hours (including myself) in rabbit holes trying to figure out something without asking for help.
The behavior was such a time waster that management made a rule for my department: If you were stuck on something for more than 20 minutes, you had to ask a coworker, mentor, or boss for help.
Someone else often had experience with the issue and could give guidance in minutes.
Take the Initiative
Or, when you are ready for more complex or new work, ask for it. Let your boss know that you are up for the challenge.
Don’t assume your boss magically knows you are willing to do different tasks.
Show Off Your New Skills
I made the mistake once of learning a new skill by taking courses at a community college in the evenings. Then, I expected my employer to give me a raise using my new skills.
However, I had yet to use the new skills at my job. Management had no idea what I could do with them or if I was good at it.
So, when you learn new skills, use them at your job. Show managers and your team what you have learned and how they can benefit the company.
Use Training Resources
Some companies offer training courses through sites like Skillshare and Coursera. They may also have their own training portal.
You may be able to take courses that could help you improve your soft skills, which will benefit you in any workplace.
Or they may offer training on Excel or other tools that you use at your workplace.
Stay Busy When Bored
Instead of looking at funny work memes, you could help someone else or watch a TED Talk.
There are productive things you can do to stay busy when you don’t have enough work to do. At one of my previous jobs, there would be times when I was waiting on a response before I could move ahead with the next steps.
Become a Better Coworker
Are you a good coworker?
Consider a Different Job
If you can’t imagine doing any of the suggested items on this list, it may be time to look for a career change.
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