The Curse of Job Stagnation

I was unhappy at my job for longer than I would like to admit. And to be completely honest I think the title of this blog states pretty clearly my feelings on work. I am only working to not work. I want to reach financial independence as soon as I can so I can pursue the things in life that I enjoy and be able to live comfortably without having to worry about income.

But working for money or passion is not the what I want to talk about today, I think I've stated before that I am working for money. Software and SQL scripts are not a passion of mine, they just pay the bills. But when you work for money I think you may be more likely to suffer from job stagnation.

I usually find that I get to a point after a few years at a job where doing my job is easy. I know what to do so I need little instruction or help on anything so it's not very challenging. This is where complacency sets in. Why would I leave when my job is easy and I'm being paid decently for it?

Some signs that I noticed for me that made me feel like I was suffering from job stagnation were:

1. Everything was easy. Now this doesn't mean that if your job is easy you are suffering from job stagnation. But for me it meant, I had not learned anything new and I was just doing the same stuff over and over again. If I was getting bigger raises because I could do my job better then I would say my job was not stagnant but that was not the case.

2. You are bored at work and the days always go slowly. This means that you are not challenged enough at your work. Sometimes this is something you might feel you need to do to advance your career and but in your time, but you should not stay at a place like this for a long period of time. This is a dangerous place to be. If I were getting paid 200k per year to be bored I would gladly be bored and rich, but you are not advancing yourself by staying at a job like this. But if you are bored and making 50k per year and could potentially move somewhere else and make more doing harder work, you should probably move on.

3. You do more than is required of you and everyone expects it. This could potentially mean you run the company so you have to teach everyone, but for most of us that's not the case. I found that I kept having to do things that weren't related to my job in the slightest way. I was having to explain tax rules to accountants and I'm a software engineer. I found that I had outgrown my position and was having to pick up other peoples slack yet I was not compensated for all of this extra work I was doing. This is a quick way to burn yourself out but it also means your advancing the responsibility portion of your career but not the reward part. Who wants to have to do 2 jobs and only be paid for 1? Make sure you are rewarded for the work and efforts you do.

4. You are not recognized for going above and beyond. This ties into my last point, if you are doing lots of work that is not expected of you, you should make sure you get some recognition for it. You should be rewarded in some way for doing more than is expected of you. If that means bonuses or raises then you are moving forward, but if your extra effort is constantly ignored then you should consider if the company culture around you is right for you. Do you really want to spend most of your time at a place that ignores your good work?

I was talking with an old co-worker recently from 3 jobs ago, she happens to still be at that same company and she's uninspired there. She wants to leave but it's easy and looking for a new job that's easier than the one she's been doing for the past 6 years is intimidating. What I've found is that over time your job gets easier because you are now an expert at it and so it gets boring, the days start to go slower, and you're less interested and happy. But, and this is a big BUT. It's easy, it's hard to leave something easy to be a new fish out of water somewhere else. maybe fish out of water is a bad comparison, you should know your new job but you won't be familiar immediately and there is a learning curve everywhere you go.

It's scary to give up the easy and familiar for the hopes of something better. If you are tired or bored of work and are just starting to hate how things are there then it's time to move on.

I gave up the easy and familiar just recently for the hopes of something better. I started a new job 3 weeks ago and I'm amazed at how quickly those three weeks have gone by. I feel like I get to work and I struggle through some of the new projects I'm trying to understand and the next thing I know it's lunch time and then the day is almost over and I wonder how much progress I have really made. I feel like I must be challenging myself because if it wasn't challenging the time would drag by slowly but instead I don't know where all that time has gone.

The easiest way to move forward is to not over analyze it too much. Just move forward and don't think about it too much. If that means talking to your boss about getting a raise or new challenges then just talk to them, don't think about it too much. If that means applying for new jobs then definitely don't think about it too much, just let those resumes fly.

If you can recognize that there is a better opportunity out there the best way to find it is not to analyze how to get there. Just start applying and reaching out for it. The more you think about why you should do this or why you can't do this you hurt yourself by not even trying. I knew for too long that I needed to leave my last company but I thought about why I should wait and gave myself more and more excuses as to why I shouldn't bother right now and that I should wait a little longer. But once I was fed up I didn't think of those excuses I just did it and it was the greatest "non-thinking" decision I ever made. I'm much happier at my new job even if I feel like I'm just struggling to keep up with all the new training.


1 comment:

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