Moving Up The Ladder

Introvert Whisperer
How to know when it’s time to take a step up in your career

Career progression depends on a lot more than just the length of time you’ve put in with your current employer. There are many factors involved in deciding whether it’s time to take the next step on your path – and even more to bear in mind when you’re working out how to do it. If you’re beginning to feel like your current role just isn’t enough then it might be time to consider making a move – either up, or out.

It’s not you, it’s the job?

Perhaps you’ve filled in for someone more senior while they’ve been out of the office; maybe you stepped up to the plate in a time of crisis and found new, broader boundaries and extra responsibilities you were surprised to enjoy; or perhaps you’ve begun to feel a bit like your day to day is more about watching the clock than being on an exciting career path that is really fulfilling. Whatever the reasons, if you’re going through a period of restlessness then it’s often worth addressing whether this might be coming from a lack of challenge in your job.

Signs to look out for

There are a few simple signs that will tell you if you’re just restless in general or whether it’s your nine to five that’s making you crave a change.

  • It feels like an hour since you last looked at the clock but only five minutes has passed.
  • You’re often late for work – getting to your desk on time feels like dragging a concrete block through snow.
  • You’re raring and ready to leave at least six minutes before your official clocking off time, regardless of what remains on your ‘To Do’ list.
  • You never volunteer or offer to help others in your team unless forced to.
  • Sunday nights are a killer.
  • You have no idea where you’ll be in three years.

First steps

If you’re suffering from any of the above then this might be a smart time to think about change. Perhaps research other roles in your industry, or those suitable for your qualifications – or even jobs in other sectors that spark your interest. If you find yourself reading a job description for a rival business and your heartbeat accelerates, or you hear about an internal position that creates a flash of ambition, then maybe it’s time to act.

Is leaving the only way?

No, clearly not. If you love the company you work for, their culture, the people, the benefits and salary package etc then your first thought isn’t going to be ‘bye!’ In fact, the sensible move is usually to see what your current employer can offer, as this inevitably involves less upheaval than moving somewhere new.

  • Schedule a conversation with your manager and mention any issues with your job.
  • Be bold – often, our value to someone else is defined by the way we assess it ourselves. You don’t have to be loud or aggressive, just quietly firm.
  • Ask for what you want – it may be that in identifying something that your role lacks, you highlight yourself as a prime candidate for a promotion.
  • Avoid complaining – there is a difference between moaning about your job and raising legitimate issues about a lack of challenge.
  • Be prepared – you might find that all sorts of good things come your way as a result of asking for new challenges or nothing may change at all.

Preparing yourself to jump

If it becomes obvious that you’re just stuck – or you know that you want out – then start planning your exit with precision and focus.

  • What’s your dream job? Consider factors such as your skills and experience, what you like or dislike about the current role, how much you want to earn and where you want to work, as well as where you want to be in three, five and ten years.
  • Be realistic. Without being pessimistic, your next move needs to be a logical step from where you are now. If you’re looking to jump up five or six rungs of the career ladder then you could end up out of your depth or worse, looking at a lot of rejection letters. Pick a position that is a step up, but not unrealistic.
  • Prepare yourself. Whether you’ve been with the business two years or 20 you still need to have a concise, informative and easy to read CV that you can use to start creating opportunities. Back this up with some sort of social presence – LinkedIn or Twitter can be very useful for showing thought leadership skills or just making the right connections. Finally, do some interview prep – especially if you’re rusty. Practice on friends, think through questions in advance, plan your outfit and have a good sense of where you want this move to take you – new employers tend to respond well to focus and clarity.

Whether you stay where you are, or you move on somewhere new, taking a step forward in your career can be life changing. You don’t need to be the most prominent person on the team or the person who shouts the loudest – all it takes is patience, preparation, and thought.

Introvert Whisperer

 

Guest Author – Amechi Peirce-Howe is the director at London-based IT and Business specialist recruitment company, red10. With over 25 years experience in recruitment, he is always willing to impart his wisdom to those looking for a new job or career change.

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