DJHP / Careers / Generations
If you’re not feeling all that satisfied with your job, count yourself as part of the majority. As of 2013, over 52 percent of U.S. workers were unhappy at work. Reasons for dissatisfaction vary, ranging from compensation and benefits to job security and the work itself. But the one reason most troubling (at least to me) was the opportunity to either use or develop skills.
While it’s ultimately the employer’s responsibility to provide you with opportunities to develop into a role, that’s not always the case, which can leave you feeling stuck. Of course, we all know what they say about a body at rest. It stays at rest, and this stasis isn’t usually easy to handle.
It makes you questions your choices. It leaves you wondering whether the time, energy, and education invested in a career was worth it, and this inevitably leads to difficulties staying fully engaged with your job.
Before jumping ship, understand that the time at your current employer can still be used to your advantage, and the process for doing so is a fairly simple one:
Establish a development plan. No matter where you are in a career, a job should do more than pay the bills. It should have a reason. It should have a purpose. Why did you take the job? What are your expectations? What are you hoping to gain? Establishing a set plan for development provides direction in how to proceed in your current position. It also provides a sense of accomplishment as you hit your benchmarks — even when feeling stuck in that job.
No matter where you are in a career, a job should do more than pay the bills. It should have a reason. It should have a purpose. Establish a development plan.

Seek out opportunities to learn. Though you’re hired for a certain job, that job should never be viewed as restrictive. It’s an opportunity to learn, as long as you treat it as such. Take an honest look at what you could be learning and find a correlation to actual skills, like problem solving, creative thinking, teamwork, time management, communication, leadership, or simply industry knowledge. Then, get involved and start developing all the skills available to you.
Volunteer to grow. Don’t sit back idly, waiting for tasks to be assigned to you. It’s a waste of not the employer’s time but your time. Offer to take on additional work — especially if it allows you to learn skills or showcase talents. Taking on work also puts you in the driver’s seat of your career. You take control over your future, which can do wonders to improve your perceptions of a job. It’s no longer something your have to do. It’s a means to furthering your career and achieving your goals.
Volunteer to grow. Don’t sit back idly, waiting for tasks to be assigned to you. It’s a waste of not the employer’s time but your time.

Check your attitude. Each morning, remind yourself why you’re going to work. If it’s for the paycheck, that’s a good first reason to embrace. But don’t stop there. It can make you feel pessimistic, which won’t do much for your attitude at work. Look back at your development plan when feeling at a loss, and choose something to work on that day (and every day after that). It could be something you’re going to learn or practice or focus on. As long as you choose something, you provide yourself a purpose for that day.
Evaluate your progress. As you develop yourself professionally and gather new skills, take the time to periodically evaluate your progress. Self-reflection provides insights into whether you’ve learned all you can learn at your current employer. If so, it may be time to seek out another opportunity, and this opportunity could be internally or externally.
Not every job is forever, so don’t treat it as a lifelong sentence. Put it in perspective as a stretch or phase on your journey to reaching your professional goals — and your personal ones, too. Develop a plan, find opportunities to proactively grow, and self-reflect along the way. You might just find that your current job is the critical piece to achieving a successful career.
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Dr. Jan Hoistad
Lead Coach. Business Development Consultant. Thought Leader. Entrepreneur. Author. Dr. Jan Hoistad is passionate about helping professionals, business owners, partners, and teams develop the skills necessary to achieve success and fulfillment in both their occupational pursuits and personal lives.With 35 years of experience, Dr. Hoistad has been a pioneer in the field of professional coaching. She’s advised countless CEO’s, executives, business group heads, emerging leaders, partners, teams, and professionals in career transition and business development, teaching them how to dig deep, and sometimes loosen up, so they can start living by their values, finding their purpose, and achieving their professional and personal goals with intent and confidence.By helping professionals see that personal wholeness is a means to achieving optimum professional performance, Dr. Hoistad provides her clients the tools to become catalysts for change in their own businesses, careers and lives. They learn to leverage their strengths, build on their expertise, and expand their influence to become true innovators in their fields.