Career Plateau: Signs & how to overcome

Career plateaus can be daunting. As an accountant, finance professional, or professional in any other field, you can move from believing in your abilities to questioning yourself and your decisions. We can liken this to driving; we rarely travel at a constant speed. There are times when we are flying along, and at other times we are forced to slow down, or we choose to slow down by ourselves. As professionals, we may experience a career plateau when it seems like there is no more room for personal development or career advancement, but we do not always realise that we have reached a plateau, and it will take a while for something to jolt us into realising our reverie. Gaining this realisation can be distracting and can even become all-consuming in some cases. How do we know we’re on a career plateau, and how can we break out of this situation?


Signs of a career plateau 


Being on a career plateau is never part of our plans, but it can happen to the best of us. Being aware of possible indicators is one way to prepare as you journey in your career. Here are common indicators to look out for:


Lack of career improvement

Some workplaces may induce a career plateau in their employees; it may be because of organisational policies, limited opportunities for growth, etc. If this becomes apparent to you and doesn’t match your own aspirations, making arrangements to move on to the next place is advised.


Your input looks invalid

You can also detect a career plateau when your skills and talents are not being utilised at work, even when you are performing in your role. If you notice this is the case, maybe question whether there are better ways to fulfil your role and get better results. Could you also put your skills and strengths to better use elsewhere?


You have stopped learning in your job


Continuous learning breeds career growth and can keep you motivated. Routines can give some comfort but can also lead to boredom and complacency. If there is nothing new to learn in your job, then maybe you have reached a career plateau. At this point, it’s necessary to seek out opportunities to learn or develop further. This could still be in your organisation or even in the same team, but equally, it could be about embarking on something new. Our Career Compass session or online course, Do Something Different, will give you just the right guidance to scale this challenge.


You have lost the spark for what you do

You can only feed and nurture what you love; the same goes for the spark you have in your career goals. When work feels too much like hard work, career growth and development go out the window, and you are close to sitting on a career plateau. If you feel like you’ve lost the love and enthusiasm for your work, look for new projects to take on or check out our Essential Skills online courses to boost your confidence again. 


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How you can break out of a career plateau

  • Be kind to yourself. While this may sound like an odd one, remember that you are where you are at a specific time for a reason, and that’s OK. You can start to move forward from wherever you are.
  • Have a destination in mind. Where do you want to end up in your career journey? A specific situation might just be the preparation you need to retire or, better yet, the major milestone you are working towards. Stay positive and support yourself through this.
  • It is time for reflection. Think about where you are in your career. For some, this is a time to update their CV and have a realistic assessment of their skills and strengths. Consider also the transferable skills that you have gathered, which can support any career transition you make.
  • Check for gaps; those could be neglected opportunities. They may also be the stepping stones that can project you to where you want to go. You may also consider building skills or experience in your current role or in an extracurricular or voluntary position. 
  • Look around. What resources do you have? How about your network? Leveraging existing relationships and experience can help you identify and secure your next role. Your current boss or trusted HR partner is also part of your network. How could you leverage these relationships to help you move forward? 
  • Ask yourself, “What further support do I require after trying out these self-help tips?”. We sometimes need greater clarity or even motivation to be able to move forward. Why not book a Career Discussion with us today?

In summary, detecting a career plateau can be quite easy if you look out for the signs mentioned in this article. If you spot any of these signs or something similar, please go ahead and use the self-help tips mentioned here. It can also be useful to seek a neutral pair of eyes to provide clarity and support to help you move again towards your career goals, so book your no-strings Career Discussion with us today.

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