It’s easy to get into work routine and then feel like you’re in a rut. To keep challenging yourself, focus on learning new skills and gaining knowledge that will position you for your next step.
Q: I’m feeling stuck in my current job. We’re still getting comfortable in our new work routines, but I want to be learning and growing and not just keeping up with my skill sets. My manager says I need to be patient until things settle down, but I don’t want to wait or leave the organization to be challenged. What can I do?
A: First, I hope you have expressed your concerns to your manager in the same way you’ve outlined them here. Your manager needs to know how serious you are about your future. How she deals with your concerns is something you or I can’t predict or control, but she deserves to know the full extent of your frustration.
In addition to speaking to your manager, here are some other steps to consider:
Focus on your own development. The world is full of fascinating opportunities for you to learn and grow. For example, listen to podcasts available on topics related to your field. Also keep up with industry publications and related research.
Sign up for a class online or at your local community college. Take advantage of the thousands of free online classes offered by major universities to learn a new skill or polish up one you haven’t used for a while. Check out Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for more information and participating organizations.
Your manager needs to know how serious you are about your future.
Find a mentor in your organization or from someplace else. A mentor might be able to help you see opportunities where you could gain knowledge or experience.
Volunteer for task forces or cross-functional projects in your organization. This will help you to expand your skill base and to gain visibility in your organization.
While you are focused on you own skill development, please don’t overlook the importance of doing really good work on your current job. This will position you for increased responsibility and professional development opportunities as they become available.
Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book, and her latest The Decisive Manager. Do you have a question you'd like her to answer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.