Career stagnation is a real buzz killer for many workers. After years of getting comfortable at the same job, you get complacent and bored of doing the same thing over and over again. There’s no more challenge or growth and most times, no salary increment. Usually when workers come to this realisation, they try to find a new job or at least seek to be promoted to another position which comes with different duties, challenges and perhaps higher pay. Unfortunately, changing career paths, positions or jobs doesn’t come easy. It can be a frustrating venture that ends up in self-doubt.
After a couple or more of unfruitful job interviews or requests for promotions or even salary reviews, workers begin to question their credibility and worth when in their search for bigger and better opportunities they are turned down at job interviews or when their colleagues are promoted while they stay at the same level. When this happens, it is only natural for one to wonder whether they are too young or too old, underqualified or over qualified for any upward movement or any movement for that matter.
Jane Muiruri the senior human resource manager Nation Media Group, advises that in such instances, one should focus on their achievements as enablers, not disablers. She says interviews should not only be about getting a job, even an unsuccessful interview experience gives you an opportunity to identify areas for further development.
“Employers look for several criteria, such as education, relevant experience, attitude, skills and capacity to learn. They also look out for candidates who possess values that are coherent with the organisation’s culture. You should therefore not be presumptuous of the reasons you have not got a job after a couple or more interviews. It may have been that there were more qualified candidates than you who got the jobs you applied for.”
Staying at a job for too long
M.O a frustrated job seeker worries that his unfruitful job hunt could be because he lacks a degree or that his current salary quote and the competitive rates do not compare.
“I have worked for the same company for the last 10 years I joined as a clerk and rose through the ranks to a managerial position. However, my pay is too low, considering the numbers of years worked, as well as responsibilities. I tried to upgrade my academic qualifications but have not been able to go further because of financial constraints.
I have applied for several jobs and done many interviews, but no offers have come my way,” he says.
This, Mwikali Muthiani a managing partner at Millennial HR says, happens all the time. He says in such cases, instead of rushing to leave the organisation, one should first ask for a salary raise.
“Working for one employer for 10 years demonstrates commitment and loyalty. Although employees who stay in one organisation for long may miss opportunities for accelerated salary increase, this is compensated through other long-term benefits, such as pension, gratuity, loans, service and bonus,” he says.
Muthiani advises that in a situation like this, one smart way of asking for a salary review would be to present a compelling case of one’s value to the organisation, backed by market data showing how similar positions are compensated within peer organisations. One can gather such data through professional networks, or use published salary surveys.”
However, if one insists on changing jobs, or if your request for a salary review is not forthcoming, Muthiani says, when they apply, they must ensure they meet all prerequisite qualifications required.
“Don’t apply for a job that requires a degree if you do not have one. However, if you are invited for an interview where you do not meet all requirements, it means there is a quality that attracts the employer to your profile.
Focusing on this quality and demonstrating how you would use it to excel in this role if selected will be your biggest opportunity,” he says.
Muthiani adds that many employers will require an undergraduate qualification for certain roles, so it is possible that this may limit you career growth.
Aside from failure to get employment elsewhere, remaining in the same position while colleagues are promoted over you can be equally frustrating and is a sign of stagnation.
Joy has worked as a secretary in a higher learning institution for the last 15 years with very minimal upward progression, despite having advanced education.
“I have a BSc. in Human Resource Management and I am currently winding up my MSc. in Human Resource Development. I have tried changing my career with my employer but it has been very difficult due to red tape.”
Fred Gituku, the Vivo energy human resource manager says there are numerous underlying causes of being passed over in regard to promotions apart from red tape.
“If one has acquired all the necessary academic and professional qualifications, the missing aspects are likely those for which no learning institution could issue a certificate. This might include perceptions of your potential, capability, and fit within your work environment or externally in the market, “he says.
Gituku says considerable self-awareness is required to fathom how one comes across to others, and the impact this has on their environment.
How to know it’s time for change
1.No new challenges at work
2.No opportunities for growth
3. If you are undervalued
4. Overloaded with work but unnoticed/ unappreciated
5. Health deterioration because of work
6. Toxic work environment and bosses
7. Having the same role and doing the same job with little to no increase in pay.
Compiled from www.simplilearn.com
Adapted from Nation Media