Remember your first day at work? The optimism you felt, the excitement that you had for your new role. The expectation that you’d grow within it, learn new skills, and enhance your abilities and experience. Every day was a thrill, every challenge was exciting, and sometimes, you weren’t able to fall asleep just because you were working on a project that was so interesting that you lost track of time whenever you worked on it.
Time eventually passed, and a dim routine settled in. Suddenly, you find yourself in a rut that is stunting the joy and purpose that you derive from your career. You realize that you are stuck and your current role is boring. This could happen to you anytime during your career. The excitement and joy of your work could disappear after a few months or years. It’s then that you’d start asking yourself this question: Have I outgrown my job?
If you’re still unsure, here are the nine signs that you may have outgrown your job:
1. You are not advancing career-wise
A great job should provide you with more than just a paycheck. Additional skills, new experiences, and even new contacts can all be valuable assets in your career progression. These were the reasons why you took the new role in the first place. You wanted to learn something new and/or have more responsibility. If your current job no longer offers these, then it may be time to re-evaluate your current working situation.
2. You have reached the ‘growth peak’
Have you hit a “growth peak” in both pay and responsibilities? If so, you may need to put your overall, long-term career into perspective. When your skill set is not being utilized and there is no potential for future promotion, you know that you’ve reached a “peak” in your current job.
3. The job is no longer challenging
Is your role no longer challenging? Are you able to work while half-asleep? Are you too comfortable? Although being comfortable at work is important, getting too comfortable is both a drain professionally and personally. If you’re not exposed to new tasks at work, then you are surely not adding to your skill set as fast as your peers are at other organizations.
Adversity sparks growth, and it is through that pressure that we acquire new skills. If you switch to autopilot and settle for “easy,” this will just leave your abilities, resume, and career underdeveloped.
4. You have poor work-life balance
Is it difficult for you to take a day off? Have your holidays turned into typical working days, and your boss thinks that working from home from time to time sounds like a joke? Your work-life balance has turned into a work-work balance, and the joy from work was replaced with frustration.
5. The excitement starts to die
A sure warning sign that you have outgrown your job is when the excitement fades, and routine takes over. You, then, become the proverbial clock-watcher. And we all have at least one clock-watcher colleague at work.
Perpetual boredom at work often leads to a decrease in efficiency and accuracy. If allowed to become a pattern, boredom will spell doom for long-term career progression.
Every work seems challenging and interesting in the beginning, but it becomes monotonous over time. Our unconscious starts taking it for granted and we might even end up delivering a lousy performance.
6. You just can’t stand the people
People problems can range from challenges with customers, all the way to issues with coworkers, bosses, and others. Sometimes, a clash of incompatible cultures is no one’s fault and you just find yourself picking arguments with coworkers because your current frustration starts driving you crazy. And when you start to see that your colleagues are getting more recognition or standing out from you in other ways more often than they used to, this can feel discouraging and can further distract you from your job.
7. You are always overworked
Are you performing the work of multiple employees, across multiple skill sets? Any job can experience temporary fluctuations in work volume. But if it’s clear that your employer expects you to consistently do the work of several people permanently – even people above your pay grade – you become physically and mentally drained by the end of each day.
8. Your employer cheaps out with old tech/methods
Is your employer married to old technology or ways, making it difficult to accomplish the tasks and responsibilities expected of you? When you see that your peers in other companies are using modern technologies and new methods, which are helping them learn new things and acquire new skills that you don’t have, you start feeling frustrated. Frustration will always set in when a skilled employee is forced to work with substandard tools and old ways.
9. You have found passion elsewhere
When your work environment no longer satisfies the deepest parts of your personality, it could be an indicator that you have outgrown your job. You joined that company because you loved their company mission, but over the years, you have evolved and the company has, too. This means that the mission may have changed, and your interests may have changed as well.
Of course, you’re not the same person today that you were when you began your current job. People change, and so do their goals and desires. Over time, you were likely exposed to new ideas and professions that you didn’t know about when you made your career plan. That is, if you made a career plan. New technologies are creating new opportunities that could look more interesting that the one you hold right now, and that could happen a few times during your life.
Some people like boring jobs where there are no surprises, but there is also no personal development for them. That job becomes their comfort zone and they are happy there. However, for most people, career and personal growth are important. And even if you love the company and team, sometimes you have just outgrown the job and it is time to move, and that’s all right.
If you begin to feel that you’re more interested in another field, sector, industry, or job than the one you are currently in, that may be the biggest sign of all.
If you don’t like how things are, change it! You’re not a tree. – Jim Rohn