10 signs you’re not making the right changes to your career and will still be in the same place in 5 years

Career stagnation has to be one of the most frustrating experiences in the world.

In a fast-moving professional landscape dominated by success stories, if you’re stuck, it can be hard to find people who relate to you.

More often than not, people think you’re not trying when you’re really just making the wrong changes.

In fact, you’ve probably been labeled as unambitious more times than you care to remember.

Sound familiar? If it does, read on to discover the 10 signs you’re not making the right changes to your career and will still be in the same place in 5 years!

1) You’re resistant to learning new skills

A classic sign that you’re not making the right changes in your career is your resistance to learning new skills.

You find comfort in what you already know and the thought of stepping outside of your comfort zone terrifies you more than it excites you.

This reluctance to learn and grow not only limits your career progression but also makes you less adaptable to the ever-changing professional landscape.

2) You’re not seeking feedback

Another telltale sign that you’re not steering your career in the right direction is when you stop seeking feedback.

In the early years of my career, I was often guilty of this. I worked hard, put in the hours, and assumed I was doing a good job. But without actively seeking feedback, I was oblivious to areas where I needed to improve.

I realized that not seeking feedback was a form of self-sabotage. It kept me from growing and advancing in my career.

People often saw this as a lack of interest or commitment to my role, but it was more about fear—fear of criticism and fear of not being good enough.

The truth is, constructive criticism is crucial for your professional growth.

It helps you identify your weaknesses, improve your skills, and ultimately move forward in your career.

3) You’re not networking

A crucial aspect of career advancement that you might be neglecting is networking.

Believe it or not, up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking, making it one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.

But if you’re like many professionals, you might be avoiding networking events and opportunities to connect with others in your industry.

This avoidance can often be interpreted as complacency or lack of initiative, but it’s usually more about feeling awkward or unsure of how to network effectively.

However, by not networking, you’re missing out on opportunities to learn from others, gain new perspectives, and potentially open doors to new career opportunities.

4) You’re not setting career goals

One of the primary signs that you’re not making the right changes to your career is the absence of clear career goals.

Without well-defined goals, you might find yourself aimlessly navigating your professional life, unsure of what you’re working towards or why.

This lack of direction can often be mistaken for a lack of motivation or ambition.

However, it’s usually more about feeling overwhelmed or unsure about what steps to take to advance in your career.

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals can provide the clarity and focus you need to move forward.

5) You’re settling for comfort

This one might sting a bit, but it needs to be said – if you’re settling for comfort in your career path, it’s a glaring sign that you’re not making the right changes.

It’s human nature to seek comfort and avoid risks, but this tendency can be a major roadblock in your career growth.

You might be sticking with a job you’ve outgrown or avoiding challenging tasks because they make you uncomfortable.

People may mistake this for laziness, but it’s not. It’s fear – fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of stepping out of your comfort zone.

The harsh truth is that growth happens outside your comfort zone. If you continue to choose comfort over growth, you’ll likely find yourself in the same place in five years as you are now.

So take the leap, embrace the discomfort and push yourself. It’s the only way you’ll truly grow and advance in your career.

6) You’re not prioritizing self-care

Busy working 10 signs you're not making the right changes to your career and will still be in the same place in 5 years

In the hustle and bustle of career progression, it’s easy to overlook one crucial aspect – self-care.

If you’re neglecting your mental and physical health in the pursuit of professional success, it’s a sign that you’re not making the right changes.

The late nights, skipped meals, and lack of downtime can lead to burnout, affecting both your health and work performance.

It’s important to note that taking care of yourself is not a luxury—it’s a necessity. By prioritizing self-care, you’re investing in your most valuable resource – yourself.

7) You’re not embracing change

In today’s fast-paced world, change is the only constant, especially in the professional landscape.

If you’re resisting change or struggling to adapt, it’s a sign that you’re not making the right career moves.

Just like everyone else, you probably find comfort in familiarity. A new software at work or a shake-up in the team can throw you off balance and cause stress.

People may mistake your resistance for stubbornness, but it’s usually about fear – fear of uncertainty, fear of the unknown.

By learning to embrace change rather than resist it, you’ll become more adaptable and better equipped to handle new challenges that come your way.

8) You’re not celebrating small wins

Let’s be honest, we all love a good celebration. But when it comes to our careers, we often save the celebrations for big milestones, forgetting to acknowledge the small wins along the way.

The truth is, it’s the little wins that pave the way to big successes. Successfully completing a challenging task, receiving positive feedback from a client, or even just getting through a tough week – these are all victories worth celebrating.

Grab a cupcake, do a little dance, or simply take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Celebrating small wins boosts your morale and motivation, and reminds you that you’re making progress – one small step at a time!

9) You’re not taking responsibility for your career

Here’s a hard pill to swallow – if you’re not where you want to be in your career, it’s no one’s fault but your own.

If you’re blaming others or circumstances for your lack of progress, it’s a clear sign that you’re not making the right changes to your career.

It’s easy to play the blame game, pointing fingers at an unsupportive boss, a toxic work environment, or even just bad luck.

People might mistake this for being a victim of circumstances, but it’s often about avoiding personal responsibility.

The truth is, you are the captain of your professional ship. Only you have the power to steer it in the direction you want.

It’s time to stop playing the victim and start taking charge. Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and take steps towards your career goals.

10) You’re not investing in your personal growth

The most crucial sign that you’re not making the right changes to your career is neglecting your personal growth.

Personal growth is the foundation of career growth. If you’re not growing as a person, it’s unlikely that you’ll grow professionally.

This means actively seeking opportunities for self-improvement – whether it’s reading a book, attending a seminar, or even practicing mindfulness.

People often confuse busyness with productivity, but they are not the same. Being busy doesn’t necessarily equate to personal or professional growth.

Invest time and effort into improving yourself. The skills and knowledge you gain from personal development will inevitably translate to your career.

Final thoughts

It’s easy to feel stuck in your career. You can be labelled as unambitious, complacent, or even scared, but that’s simply because society often misunderstands those who aren’t constantly climbing the corporate ladder.

So if you’re feeling stagnant in your career, don’t lose hope—you possess an incredible potential for growth and transformation that may not be evident to everyone.

Only those who are willing to take the time to reflect and make necessary changes can unlock this potential.

So take a moment to reflect on these signs and ask yourself what changes you need to make to ensure that you won’t be in the same place in five years. You have the power to steer your career in any direction you choose. Embrace it!

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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