No Stagnation: Professional Growth

For this edition we will be discussing fighting stagnation in your professional life.

Remember the definition of being stagnant is having stopped, as by ceasing to run or flow; failure to develop, progress, or advance. The state or quality of being or feeling sluggish and/or dull.

Just to give a brief background of my professional experience – I am a Human Resources Manager and have been in the Human Resources field for over 8 years. I’ve held positions ranging from Administrative Assistant, Generalist, and Supervisor. I also have my Masters of Science in Human Resources Management.

Feeling stagnant in your career can be very difficult. There are different reasons one can feel stagnant. In my experience I have found that individuals feel stagnant professionally because of the following reasons:

  • Bored at work/Not challenged
  • Lack in skill set and unsure of next steps (no development)
  • No opportunities of growth within the company and/or the career field as a whole
  • Overloaded with work (burned out)
  • Not learning anything new/no growth
  • No raise in salary, benefits and compensation
  • Poor or difficult work environment

As I have mentored and assisted individuals during their career development, there have been some common themes with my advice.  I wanted to share a few in this post.

Set Goals: No one knows what you want besides you. Take a break, pray, sit down and write out your goals and visions for your career. What do you want to ultimately achieve? When you have that written down, decide on an action plan that will get you there. Be S.M.A.R.T. with your goals means the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Build your personal brand: Even if you are not a small business owner, you have a personal brand. What is everyone saying about you? Are the saying that you are always late, miss too many deadlines, rude etc This can keep you from progressing in your career. Focus on making your personal brand stand out. Put your best foot forward, ask questions, seek for understanding, ask to be on projects and make yourself available.

Get a mentor: I am personally a big advocate for mentorship both within and outside of the company you work for. Mentors look at things differently than you. They are able to speak to what is going on within the industry and not only your specific department. Mentors also help you to stay accountable and furthering your development.

Get a sponsor: Some may think mentor and sponsor are the same. Although it can be the same individual, the sponsor takes things as step further. A sponsor is someone who advocates for you. That means when projects and high profile positions are opening up they are advocating that you take part. The sponsor is someone who is reputable and seen in a positive light, and are vested in seeing you move up.

Get certified: In each industry or company, there are certain certifications that are either required or preferred. Even if you are in an entry level position, seek to get certified or become the expert in a specific area. If you are seen as the expert, the company and industry will find value in you. Also, this opens the door for you to look for other positions that will challenge you.

Resume building: When was the last time you reviewed your resume? Make it a point that you revisit your resume every year to add additional skills and talents onto your resume. If you have taken a course within your company or have played an important role in a project or initiative, place that on your resume. Also, before applying for a job look at the job description and ensure that you resume shows you are qualified for the position.

Education: This one may be difficult because of the cost component, however, in some industries specific degrees is a must. There are companies out there who offer tuition reimbursement. If possible, further your education. It allows you to stand out from your peers, those within your career and other applicants.

I will leave you with this: If you are currently in a situation where you dread going to work and it is negatively affecting your health … it is time to re-evaluate your situation. Stress can kill (it also makes you gain weight … just speaking from experience). We all need to make a living but don’t let it be at the cost of your health.

Until next time, stay professional!

For His Glory Only,
Danielle J.