Negotiation Skills

How to Break Out of Career Complacency & Finally Get a Promotion

You’ve been at the same company in the same role for years now. You’re loyal, hardworking, and sure, maybe you’ve been in a little bit of a rut. You got comfortable. It happens to the best of us from time to time.

But now you’re finally ready to move onward and upward! Climbing the corporate ladder is back on the agenda! And yet, no matter how hard you try, every promotion opportunity seems to pass you by. What’s up with that??

Complacency is the number one career killer, and yet, it’s easy to fall into. When you’ve been stagnant for a while, moving on becomes harder and harder for a number of reasons:

  • Your professional identity becomes synonymous to your current role; people can’t envision you doing anything else.
  • You become pigeon holed; people assume you’re only capable of doing what you’ve been doing.
  • You become almost invisible. You’re such a constant; people forget you’re even there.
  • You become irreplaceable. You’ve been doing the same thing for so long, people can’t imagine anyone else filling your shoes.
  • You look unmotivated or uninterested in challenging yourself; people assume you’re perfectly content with the status quo.

So how do you break out of this rut with so much stacked against you? Try the following:

  • Get vocal. Let your superiors know your career goals (be specific!) and ask for support. At most companies, it’s seen as a good thing to develop employees who grow with the company, so your manager will likely be accepting of your decision, even if he’s not altogether helpful.
  • Create a plan. Work with your superiors to establish a road map to get you from where you are to where you want to be. And be sure to include a timeline so you’re all on the same page.
  • Start preparing. If you don’t have specific, systematic procedures in place for your daily tasks, put them together now. This will help ease the anxiety of having to replace an established employee.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to stretch outside your comfort zone. To achieve upward movement you can’t do what you’ve always done. You have to shake up your routine and show your ability to grow, learn new things, and do more than what you’ve been doing.
  • Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere. You may have more luck outside of your current employer. A fresh environment might be just what you need to get your career back on track.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.