Career Transition

The Cost of Settling in Your Career

settling in your career

Does this sound like you? You feel stuck in a role that doesn’t challenge you. Your pay is less than you deserve. Work no longer fulfills you. This is the cost of settling in your career.

At least three times a week I am speaking to executive job seekers who have definitely settled in their career. The interesting thing about these professionals is that the majority of them know they are being underutilized and underpaid.

So why can’t they seem to escape this situation?

This is a critical question. Most people assume they are stuck due to a poor choice or a change in management. In reality, this is only part of the reason.

The real reason for settling in your career

The truth is, there are two reasons that executives end up settling in their career:

  1. They don’t truly believe there is a job that is a match for their experience and skills.
  2. They don’t believe that any employer will believe they can do the work.

Both of these beliefs limit their opportunities and cause self-sabotage because they’ve decided it will never happen.

Deep down, most executives know on a practical level they should not settle, but they don’t know how to make it a reality.

They are paralyzed by fear. So they end up making decisions that cause them to take a job that is beneath their skills or isn’t challenging enough.

They assume there is no chance of landing that ideal position they once had their hearts set on because it’s out of their control.


Also read: Why You Need an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to Advance Your Career


Why it’s tough to break the settling cycle

Let’s look at the people who do not believe there is a job match for their experience and skills.

This is someone who is unhappy in their current role, but not miserable. They convince themselves it’s not so bad because they are earning a decent salary even if it’s under market value.

Therefore they throw in the towel and decide to stay where they are because it’s easier. This is truly settling in your career and you’re losing money when you don’t command your market value.

Also, these are the same people who are shocked when a pink slip arrives on their desk. They then go into panic mode and take the next job that is offered to them, landing in the same cycle they were just released from.

Interestingly enough, many of my clients who fall into this category are the EXACT SAME ONES who find themselves with multiple offers simply because they never really put in the effort required to land their ideal job.

You only need one employer to want you

Now let’s talk about the group that believes no employer will believe they can do the work.

For many, they have been in one industry for so long they can’t imagine someone taking a risk to hire them at the same level in another industry.

They see companies hiring specialists, not generalists. They see descriptions that specify digital marketing and they think that since they are not a digital native, they don’t have what it takes.

Deep down, this type of behavior is similar to the first group because it boils down to the lack of belief they have the right skills that are in demand today.


Also read: How to Be the CEO of Your Career | Advancing on the Job Series


They feel like they will never be able to compete with Millennials and worry that potential employers want someone cheaper and more tactical.

The truth is, I see these fears and limiting beliefs all the time. Recruiters, peers, colleagues, and even family convince us that we are lucky to have a job and it’s okay to settle.

This is the mentality and message the majority of us are hearing on a daily basis so it’s no surprise that we unknowingly internalize these feelings.

The shift you need to make to stop settling

I’m here to tell you that you can find that ideal job you have your heart set on and command the salary you deserve for it IF you are willing to shift your thoughts and behavior.

Landing a new position that challenges you and pays what you deserve is 80% mindset and behavior change.

Instead of focusing on what you’re lacking, start focusing on what you do great. When you master this, you will stop settling in your career.


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About the Author

Self-proclaimed job search geek, Michelle Robin takes the often frustrating and miserable task of job search and makes it more enjoyable, perhaps even fun, for her clients. An award-winning dual-certified resume writer (NCRW, CPRW) and founder of Brand Your Career, Michelle helps sales and marketing executives transform their career marketing materials into a package that wows their target employer. Click HERE to register for Michelle’s free training, The 5-Step Game Plan to Land 6-Figure Marketing Roles Without Resumes or Attending Networking Events.