Stuck in a Dead-End Job?

We’ve all heard the phrase. Many of us have even felt the pain – the pain of being stuck in a dead-end job with no prospects on the horizon. It goes something like this: same thing everyday, same interaction with the same people and the same pay, day in and each miserable day out. Maybe this sounds like your situation, only you wouldn’t necessarily classify your job as dead-end. Well, there’s one surefire way of knowing you’re in a dead-end job (other than your cubicle walls closing in on you): you’ve reached the point in your company where your role cannot be taken to the next level – no matter how hard you work. With no advancement and no increase in pay visible anytime soon (save a hang gliding accident for several members of middle management), it’s time to think about how you’re spending your time – and how you’re earning your money!

So what do you do when you’re running fast and hard – and going nowhere? Like any goal you set, having a game plan is integral to your success.

Realize it’s time to move on.
You can’t move on, or move forward for that matter, unless you acknowledge it’s time to make the move. Think about where you want to go and what you want to do. Visualize your dream job. When doing this, be realistic and be general. Once you have that broad idea of what you want to do, you can fine-tune along the way. Consider where you’d like to be in six months, a year, two years and five years. How do you want to have spent your career when it’s time to retire? These are all considerations to take into account as you make the next step:

Do your research.
Research. Research. Research. It cannot be emphasized any further. This is where the fine-tuning comes into play. Get familiarized with the industry or job market you’re about to enter. You may have been out of the game for sometime. Things change. Know the players and what they’re playing so you don’t get played. Read the trades and follow the top trends.

Likewise, as you delve into your chosen direction, assess your entry point realistically and consider how you can truthfully frame your experience to help you make the transition. You may be surprised to find that experience in one industry can help you in another – if only because you’ve mastered a skill set required in both.

Learn to spot opportunities.
This is probably the most difficult and may rely more on your instinct and your confidence in that instinctual hunch. Start by listening to those around you. Someone once said – okay, maybe it was me – that God gave you two ears and one mouth, to listen twice as much as you speak. Start getting curious about other people’s opinions, views and issues. Ask questions and follow up questions. Pick people’s brains, especially those whom you consider to be in a better situation.

Start Networking.
If you’re not networking then you’re not working. It’s that simple. If you want to advance in you’re chosen career than you have to have the support and resources of a network. People will scratch your back if you scratch theirs. Find someone within your network, who’s equally, if not more, ambitious than you and bounce ideas off one another. Make sure that this potential colleague is not directly competing with the same type of position that you are. Try and make it a mutually beneficial relationship and both of you can grow together. Join an online business-networking site. Choose a reputable one and if you don’t know which ones are reputable than refer to step two above.

Remember, that growth and change are essential to escaping the roadblocks of that dead-end job. The time to move on will manifest itself in the form of boredom, lack of fulfillment and lack of appreciation from your superiors. Make your move and pay attention to the signs on your career path to make sure you don’t hit any more dead-ends. Most of all, start being proactive instead of reactive… that first step will do a lot to help ease your malaise and jump start you on the road to success!

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