What do you do if you're stuck in a job with no advancement?


Phil:   What do you do if you feel like you're stuck in your job and have no room for advancement, but you still love your job and would like to stay there? 

Jenna:  That's a good question.  One, I love that the person loves their job and wants to stay where they're at.  That's always a good thing.  It can be frustrating, though, if you want more, but it doesn't seem like there is more.  Maybe there's no leadership position, or maybe you just don't even really want that leadership position.  I think this is where we need to get creative either in our role or what we're doing on a daily basis.  So I think you can either maybe expand your role or maybe expand your skills and do so in terms of either what you're interested in or what your strengths are. 

For example, if I want to expand my role, like, let's say I am a staff physical therapist, but I do love teaching.  Well, maybe then there's an opportunity where you create a lunch and learn, or you create a night where everybody gets together and discusses the most current research, or just different opportunities where you can kind of use some of your strengths of teaching, but also kind of have a little bit more engagement at work. 

The other thing would be skills.  So maybe you are a new grad or early in your career and you can start to develop in different areas with continuing education or reading and learning, or maybe you've progressed enough where now you need to help others learn those kind of things.  But I think those are two ideas where even if you are in a role where there doesn't seem to be much upward movement, you can still create things that get you excited about going in every day.  What would you say?

Phil:  I think the key thing is the creativity aspect is important, and I think you have to talk to your leadership.  You have to talk to get that communication going because if you love what you do, that's a great meeting to have.  You can go in and say, hey, I love what I'm doing, but I want more, and I don't see what that is.  And you'll be surprised, as long as you're persistent with it, what ideas come from that. 

But I will also say one thing that you have to be careful of is define what advancement means. I think, or what does the future look like? Because I think a lot of people think that they should or have to become a manager or become an owner or something like that, and you don't actually have to do that to really still love your job. 

I'll use myself as an example.  I've been in PT for 25 years.  I'm an educator.  I don't have any desire to be the department chair or a dean or a president or a vice president of a university.  I love what I do currently, so I really shouldn't advance, although I've had a lot of pressure to.  I've thought about it. I thought like I should, but I really shouldn't because it's not the right role for me.  I'm in the exact right zone.  With that said, though, then, what are the other things?  If you're feeling a lack?  Usually, that's what we're actually talking about is like, I feel like I'm not growing.  And it goes to your point, is what does growth look like? 

Well, that can be in a lot of different areas within your job, outside your job.  Sometimes I've found that even people like taking up a hobby, whether it's pickleball or just taekwondo, learning something new that actually challenges them, that reinvigorates them for their job as well.  So make sure you define advancement as you look at that.


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