The 5 telltale symptoms of career stagnation

Figure out if it’s just a lull or if your career has really hit a rut.

The 5 telltale symptoms of career stagnation

If you feel like you’re doing your job on autopilot, you’re not alone. In 2015, only 32% of U.S. employees said they were actively engaged in their jobs, according to a Gallup Poll. For many people, that disengagement is tied closely to a sense that their career development is stagnating.
Please note, however, stagnation isn’t the same as disliking your job. When you truly hate your gig, you likely feel compelled to do something about it, says Anna S.E. Lundberg, a London-based career coach. “On the other hand, it’s those of us who are just plodding along, not hating our careers but also lacking any real engagement with our work who are likely to feel stuck and remain in a role or even a career that has no real future,” she adds. Stagnation, therefore, is far worse for one’s career since it doesn’t lead to any action.
Whitney Johnson, career coach at Harvard’s Executive Education program and author of Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, uses an S-curve to illustrate how the various stages of a career might look: “At the base of the curve there is slow growth,” she says. “It takes time to master new information or skills. At this stage, what may feel like stagnation could in reality be growth, requiring patience and effort until things get more lively.”
If you can slog through that slow period, she says, you will rapidly grow and move up until you reach the top of the slope.  And that’s when actual stagnation becomes a real risk to your career. But how do you know if you’re in the good part of the S or the bad—or, whether what you’re experiencing is a natural slowdown or an actual career rut? If you answer “no” to three or more of these five questions, you’re stuck in the mud.

Are you motivated at work?

Everyone gets bored with work sometimes, but boredom shouldn’t be your everyday. If it is, your motivation will start to erode. Cue the career rut. Whether you know it or not, you need motivation to work hard. Without drive, your career growth is DOA.
If your performance has plateaued, you have no desire to learn anything new, and you don’t feel compelled to go beyond what’s strictly necessary to do your job, it’s time to do a little soul-searching to figure out why, says Marilyn Santiesteban, assistant director of career services at The Bush School at Texas A&M.
Maybe you’ve been doing the same tasks for too long; maybe you need to be challenged more. It’s important to figure out why you’re bored before you can tell truthfully whether you’re in a temporary lull or a not-so-temporary rut.

Has it been 4+ years since your last promotion?

If you’ve been in your position for that long with no promotion, then it’s probably not going to come, Johnson says. Management likes you right where you are.
Of course, it’s frustrating to be repeatedly passed over for steps up you feel you’ve earned, so you need to figure out why it’s happening. Perhaps your boss doesn’t know you’re interested in moving ahead, or maybe you need to learn a new skill or two to climb to the next step on the ladder. This calls for a frank conversation with the person above you to find out exactly what it would take to get ahead.
Maybe you’ve reached a ceiling in your organization, or if there’s no space for you to move up, Johnson says. And if so, hearing it may just be the call to action you need to move on.

Are you meeting new people at work?

If your company isn’t bringing in any new people and workplace events are always the “same old, same old,” then it might not just be you that’s stagnating.
Organizations can also plateau, but when they do, the careers of the company’s employees usually do also. So, while you can learn quickly in the right role with such a company, you’ll eventually stall out, as well, Johnson adds.
Check your organization as a whole for signs of stagnation, Santiesteban says. Look for flat sales, retooling of existing products or services rather than creating new ones, executive team members and senior management that have been around forever, or static or slightly shrinking market share.

Are your performance reviews exceptional?

If you’re consistently “meeting expectations,” you’re not “growing in your career.”
“Maybe things are not terrible, they’re just OK; fine,” Lundberg says. “Is that how you want to live your life? Sort of average, things plodding along but with no passion, no excitement, no real feeling of fulfillment?”
When everything you do at work is only average, it may be time to shake things up. Easier said than done: But you’re going to have to go a little above and beyond if you want to break free from the shackles of stagnation. Take on a new project, or at least give your next project your all.

Are you sure you want to stick around?

If you spend your days fantasizing about doing something else, whether it’s a childhood dream or simply changing companies or fields, it’s likely a sign that your career isn’t meeting fundamental needs for you, Lundberg says.
“If you dig into the underlying values behind these fantasies and plans, you may find what’s missing from your current career,” she says. “Is it a sense of freedom and independence, the ability to make your own decisions, an opportunity to learn something new, or is it a question of earning more or working less?”
If you can answer those questions, you might be able to re-inject some of those missing elements into your current career, she adds. On the other hand, if you have a passion you’ve been dreaming of following for years, then now may be the time to make it a reality.

9 things that make you look really unprofessional in meetings

In a survey, 47 percent of people said that the meetings they attend are not productive. Don't be the reason for an unproductive meeting.

Do you occasionally feel like your boss or other colleagues are displeased with your behavior in meetings? The impatient questions directed your way, the sharp glances with eyebrows raised, the attempts to shut you out of the conversation?

If the answer is "yes," chances are, there are things you are doing--or not doing--in meetings that make you seem unprofessional, perhaps without your even knowing it. Here are 9 of the most common behaviors that can make us look unprofessional in meetings.

1. Being late
Routine tardiness shows an inability to respect other people's time, no matter how well intentioned you may be. Even if you're just five minutes late, people notice if it happens often. Get in the habit of arriving at meetings a few minutes early so your team isn't always waiting for you.

2. Boasting
It's no secret that conceited people often talk the most and do the least. Employers and employees alike know that. Don't boast in meetings about accomplishing things before you have actually accomplished them. In fact, get out of the habit of boasting at all--you'll be more likable, and more professional.

3. Complaining
While it's all right to let the occasional complaint slip out every now and then, nobody likes the person who constantly complains about every assignment they are given. We are get tired and hungry and frustrated, however, we don't have to always vocalize it.

4. Showing off
Asking questions is definitely a good way to get attention. Asking too many questions--just to show off your knowledge--looks really unprofessional. Tone down the questions, and you'll give off the impression that you have it much more together.

5. Looking sloppy
Although meetings can be informal, showing up to one looking like you just rolled out of bed is not appealing. In fact, showing up to work looking sloppy every day is not appealing, period.

6. Playing hooky
We all take a day or two off work when we need it--whether it be for emotional, illness, or personal reasons. Doing this often--and on days when you know there will be meetings at which you should be present--reflects poorly on you.

The biggest mistake you're making when introducing yourself

Want to make your introductions more impactful? Stop skipping this one crucial element.

Introductions can be inherently high-pressure and awkward, can't they? No matter how outgoing and vivacious you consider yourself to be, it can be tough to condense who you are and what you do into a few crisp, concise, and impactful sentences.

So, when it comes to shaking hands and introducing yourself to someone new, you likely default to something simple and standard like, "I'm Joe, and I'm the Sales Manager at Company XYZ."
At first glance, it seems effective. It's short, sweet, and it serves the intended purpose--sharing your name and your job title.
But, look closer and you'll notice that it's missing something important. While it may seem complete and polished, it's really lacking one crucial element that helps to take your introductions to the next level.
What's that? Quite simply, the value that you bring to the table.

Why is sharing value important?

Sure, spitting out your job title is a key part of an introduction, but it's really only a slice (and, often a somewhat ambiguous slice) of the whole pie. So, you want to make sure you emphasize not only what you do, but why you do it.
This is important for everyone, but particularly for those of us with job titles or occupations that don't immediately provide an adequate picture of what we do day in and day out. For example, when I used to introduce myself as only a "writer", most people would respond with something along the lines of, "Oh, so you're writing a book?"
I can understand their assumption. But, this is actually pretty far from the truth--I've never written a book, and I don't plan to in the near future.
So, instead of sticking with the tried and true introduction of, "I'm Kat, and I'm a writer," I've expanded things just a touch to say something like, "I'm Kat, and I'm a writer who helps businesses and brands engage their audiences through thoughtful blog posts and articles."
See the difference? Instead of just firing off a job title, I'm giving my conversational partner a more specific look at not only what I do, but also why it's important.

Watch Video :  The biggest mistake you're making when introducing yourself

From cell phones to noisy coworkers: Top 10 productivity killers

Take a look at some of the biggest productivity killers in today's workplace, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.
Let's be honest - it's impossible not easy to maintain a laser-like focus in the office for hours at a stretch, especially when we have to deal with distractions such as cell phones, social media and noisy co-workers.
More than 8 in 10 workers in the U.S. (83 percent) have smartphones, and the vast majority of them (82 percent) keep their cell phones nearby while they're working, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. In fact, 2 in 3 (66 percent) admit to checking their smartphones a number of times throughout the work day.
They are spending their time on activities such as personal messaging (65 percent), the weather (51 percent), news (44 percent) while some admit to using it for shopping (24 percent) and even dating (3 percent).
According to Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder:
While we need to be connected to devices for work, we're also a click away from alluring distractions from our personal lives like social media and various other apps. The connectivity conundrum isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be managed.
Take a look at some of the biggest culprits in this handy infographic.

Tweet at @CareerBuilder: Looking around your workplace, what are the biggest productivity killers you are noticing? Does your manager do anything to mitigate the lack of productivity by these distractions?

The rules of online networking for your job search

Much like in-person networking, online networking has its own rules of etiquette. Consider the following tips when building your network online.
As you've probably heard by now, professional networking is an essential skill — some might call it a "necessary evil" — that can help you further your career. The people you meet through networking can point you to your next career move, act as references for jobs you're applying for and mentor you in ways you never thought possible.
But networking itself tends to get a bad rap. It takes effort to introduce yourself to new people and the interactions can feel awkward or forced. They're the blind dates of the working world.
Fortunately, with the ubiquity of social networking and mobile technology, networking has changed significantly in recent years. Thanks to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and countless other social networking sites, it's easier than ever to connect with like-minded professionals and industry experts — many of whom you may have never met otherwise.
But much like in-person networking, online networking has its own rules of etiquette. Consider the following tips when building your network online.
Put the "pro" in profile. When you extend an invitation to connect, the person will inevitably check out your various social media profiles. Do the necessary prep work to make your social media profiles as polished and professional-looking as possible. This doesn't mean you should scrape your social media profiles of any personality whatsoever. Just make sure there's nothing on there you wouldn't want a potential boss to see.
Don't be a weirdo. Perhaps you met at a networking event and want to stay in touch. Maybe you have a connection in common or work in the same industry. Perhaps you simply admire this person's work. Whatever the reason you want to connect, be sure to introduce yourself — or re-introduce yourself, if the case may be — and include a quick sentence or two explaining why you want to connect. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people send invitations to connect without so much as a simple "Hi, my name is…" Not only is it lazy to not introduce yourself and your reason for wanting to connect, it can be borderline creepy.
Don't be generic. Copying and pasting the same tired, impersonal message into your emails or invitations to connect? You might as well not even bother. Generic messages are easy to spot and hard to forgive. They give the impression you're just mass-messaging anyone and everyone to build your network and are only looking out for yourself.
Be patient. U.S. Money writer Ritika Trikha sums up networking perfectly when she says, "Networking isn't about immediate results. It's about building mutually beneficial relationships." Be willing and able to put the time into building your relationships and building trust. What does that mean? Keep reading...
Nurture your network. Show your online connections some social media love and participate in the conversation. Start by sharing, liking or commenting on something they posted online, endorsing them for skills on LinkedIn or mentioning them in a #FollowFriday tweet, just to name a few tactics. The more you interact with them online, the more likely they are to reciprocate. Not only will this increase your visibility — not to mention up your social media street cred — but it will also help build a rapport and develop relationships with others outside of social media.
Try to connect IRL. Connecting online is great, but nothing beats meeting face to face when it comes to growing your relationship. If there's someone you've connected with online whom you want to get to know better, suggest going to coffee, lunch or meeting up for happy hour — and be sure to cover the bill.
Know when to move on. If someone is unresponsive, it's okay to follow up once or twice, but don't hassle the person. No one owes you anything, and trying to pester someone into connecting with you will only get you blocked. Move on to the next person who might be more responsive.
Pay it forward. Take advantage of opportunities to help others, unprompted. Is there a job at your company you know someone would be perfect for? Reach out to them and offer to be a reference. Helping others isn't just good karma, it can also pay off later if you ever need a favor of them.

18 annoying buzzwords you need to stop using at work

We all know business jargon is obnoxious. Yet, so many of us continue to use (and abuse) annoying buzzwords and clichés.
Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., previously told Business Insider that most business language clichés were once a fresh, creative way of expressing a popular thought or common idea. "But because of long, excessive use, each phrase has lost its originality, impact, and even meaning," she said.
Thankfully, "buzzword backlash is growing," says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job."
Here are some of the most common — and annoying — jargony phrases you're using at work, along with commentary from Taylor:

'Break a leg'

It's well-meaning, but trite and needs a reboot. "It's like saying, 'Good luck ... oh, and end up in ER!' How about something more heartfelt, like, 'Go for it, and hey ... no broken bones,'" says Taylor.

'Open up the kimono'

"The open kimono phrase should be put away once and for all; stored in a distant space capsule, for everyone's sake," she says.

'Boil the ocean'

"An interesting metaphor suggesting impossibility, but with climate change, it cannot be ruled out," Taylor jokes. "Sadly, this expression can make your blood boil, though."

'Hit the ground running'

"This must have come from the same sadist who created, 'Break a leg,'" she says.

'At the end of the day'

"I've witnessed this phrase in corporate America for many years, but now I fear it could outlive the cockroach," she says.

'Lots of moving parts'

"Precisely describes the 'soul' of the business droids who use such vexing language."


"This sign-off just tells me the user still has a weakness for pizza."

'Robust and scalable'

"If you don't push back, this is the very future of 'Repeated Buzzword Fury,' and it's not pretty," she warns.

'The enterprise'

This jargon has been around forever — and it's one of the most annoying phrases.

'Run it up the flagpole'

"Can humans successfully run anything up a flagpole other than a flag?" Taylor asks. "Exactly."


Eliminate it from your workplace vocabulary right now ... please!

Article Source: AOL

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