How to Grow at a Job That Has No Upward Mobility
What do you do when you want to climb, but there’s nowhere to go?
At work, we often assume that in order to succeed, we need to achieve, and oftentimes, exceed the goals assigned to us by our supervisors. Reach this milestone, master this skill, crush this task — regularly — and promotion awaits.
Except when it doesn’t.
If you’ve put in a couple years at a company and had favorable performance reviews but still see no sign of movement, you might be in a dead-end job. Perhaps your company has everyone stretched so thin and you constantly feel like you’re in crisis mode. Or maybe your supervisor is set on staying in his or her role for the foreseeable future, which leaves no room for your advancement. Or maybe a promotion would require advanced skills or a higher degree than the one you have, and your budget and life don’t accommodate that. You’re stuck right where you are.
Being in a stagnant position can be frustrating. It can make you feel antsy, unsettled, and deflated. Now, some people are comfortable with viewing their job as a means to a paycheck, and believe their real life’s work happens beyond the 9-to-5 in their side projects or hobbies. Such a mindset shift can be freeing.
But if you’re eager to climb the corporate ladder, or feel so bored at work that you can’t go on, it’s time to make some moves. What can you do if you feel there’s no room for movement in your position? Consider these options.
Sometimes, employees who feel stuck assume they have no other option but to search for another job — before even bringing up their concerns with management. Lynda McKay, owner of human resources consulting firm HRextension, suggests simply speaking up. “Tell them you want to grow,” she says. Doing so gives employers a chance to get you involved in new projects, recommend professional development opportunities, or advocate for you among leadership circles.
Be ready to illustrate your value by highlighting your accomplishments, but also be prepared to propose an opportunity for yourself that may not yet exist in the company to avoid that dead-end trap. Come to the conversation prepared with a specific…