It’s not your fault. We have been taught that if you go to school, get a good job and do good work, everything will work itself out. We learned that things naturally fall in place when you follow all the rules. So, when you do everything right and excel at work, it’s easy to find yourself playing the waiting game, waiting for things to happen rather than making things happen for you.
Most people don’t even know they’re doing it. They think they’re doing their best. But, they don’t even realize they are not proactive about their career growth or goals.
Here are nine signs you’re not taking control of your career:
You’re known for keeping your head down and doing great work. – You’re one of the most reliable people at work. You get things done without bothering anyone. But, you also don’t share the great things you’ve done. You assume people will just see it, know it, and remember that it was you who did it.
You’re afraid of being too visible at work. – You cringe at the thought of raising your hand and asking for more opportunities at work. You wait for people to recommend you for things, and you wait for promotions to come to you without actively sharing your intentions and desires for the opportunities you want.
You wait for your boss to acknowledge your efforts before you celebrate your progress and results. – If your boss doesn’t say anything about it, it’s not relevant. You allow your manager’s silence or praise to dictate how you celebrate yourself. Even if other colleagues and clients praise your work, it doesn’t matter if your boss doesn’t say anything about it.
Your job search is basically waiting for recruiters to reach out to you on LinkedIn. – Maybe you got your past positions from recruiters reaching out to you on LinkedIn, and you’ve never had to do much to land a new job. So, now that you’re ready for something new, you’re constantly checking LinkedIn to see if you’ve gotten messages from recruiters without being proactive or strategic about your job search.
You tell people in your network that you’re looking for “new opportunities” and assume they’ll know what type of jobs you’d want. – Maybe your network has been super helpful in the past, or you think that because people know you, they’ll know exactly what you want to do. You’re vague when describing what you want to do next, yet you hope that your network will keep you in mind when they hear of great job openings.
You never follow up. – When it comes to your job search, you apply online, and then you wait. If you don’t hear from the company, you move on without ever following up. After interviews, you assume that if you haven’t heard back, there’s no point in reaching out so you don’t follow up either. Whenever you reach out to someone you’re interested in connecting with, you never follow up. If you don’t hear from them, you just move on.
You don’t know what you want. – You watch other people advance in their careers, and you get down on yourself because you’re not advancing at the same pace in your career. Yet, you haven’t even taken the time to determine what you want next for yourself. You can’t decide if you want a promotion, or if you want to change jobs, or if you want to leave your industry entirely.
You don’t evaluate if opportunities align with your career goals. – You’re not intentional about the direction you’d like to go in your career. You let other people, jobs, and opportunities decide for you what happens next, without considering if the opportunities align with your needs, values, and goals.
You’d rather figure everything out on your own instead of asking for help. – Maybe you’ve gotten pretty far in your career without much help. But, now that you’re ready to do something new in your career, you assume you have to navigate the transition on your own instead of proactively asking for help from people who have accomplished the goals you desire to achieve.
So, how do you take more control of your career?
Realize that no one will ever be more invested in your career growth than you, and it’s your responsibility to show others why you’re ready for it. Don’t expect your track record to speak for you, remind people of your track record. Don’t assume that people will remember every single amazing thing you’ve done. That’s a disservice to yourself and others. Be kind by reminding people of your value. Be thoughtful by following up with busy people who may have every intention to respond to you but may have forgotten. Be intentional by getting clear on what you want for yourself and evaluating if the opportunities that come your way align with your goals. Be proactive by going after what you want and showing others why you deserve it instead of waiting for people to see you and waiting for things to come to you.
You have to change your perspective on what it means to show up for yourself because the old rules of just doing good work and waiting for things to fall in place do not work anymore. The sooner you accept this, the better off your career will be because of it.