Do the dividers of your cubicle seem to be closing in on you? Is that awful sound coming from your office actually your career gasping for breath? Does work seem to drone on, week after week, with each day the same as the last?
If so, you may be experiencing what Sander Marcus, Ph.D., a professional career counselor with Friedland & Marcus in Chicago, calls "Career Depression Syndrome."
Career Depression Syndrome, or discouragement or unhappiness in your job, could stem from high stress levels at work, job burnout or a turbulent job market. Read through this list to see if you recognize yourself in these situations and to find out if you could be at risk for Career Depression Syndrome.
When people leave your company, instead of being replaced, are the remaining employees expected to pick up the slack and work two jobs for the price of one? Doing double-duty temporarily until the department is reorganized or a replacement is hired is fine. However, you cannot continue like this for long.
2. Unsung hero:
Are your extra hours and "go the extra mile for the client" attitude unrecognized or unrewarded? If so, you need to start making some noise about your accomplishments. "Sometimes, you can't just do your best," Dr. Marcus advises. "You have to let people know you're doing your best. Show how your actions positively impact the company."
3. Out of the loop:
Has a change in management left you out in the cold? Heed the signs. This could bring your career to a screeching halt or worse, signal the end of your job. "Always keep an updated list of accomplishments ready," Dr. Marcus says. "This information may help influence your new boss, or it makes it easier to update your resume if you think your job is in jeopardy."
4. Looming dread:
Do you dread getting out of bed in the morning because it means you have to face another day at work? Is your weekend cut short because Sunday is spent dreading Monday and the return to grind? Then it's time to rejuvenate your interest in your job. Set some new goals for yourself and stick to attaining them.
5. Is this all there is?
Do you find your productivity slipping and that you lack a general interest in your job? It could mean it's time for some career enrichment. "Take courses, seminars. Find out what's new in your industry. These are necessary moves to keep you interested and from becoming obsolete," Dr. Marcus warns.
6. Temper, temper:
Do you find minor challenges either at work or at home touch you off more often? Then it's time for an attitude adjustment. "Don't ever lose your professionalism even if you are being treated poorly," Marcus says. It's never a good idea to burn bridges.
Do you no longer feel like investing emotionally in your co-workers? If you start daydreaming when your co-worker tells you the funny thing her cats did last night, or if the extent of your participation in lunchroom conversations is, "Uh-huh," in your mind you may already have one foot out the door.
# If you've answered, "Yes," to five or more of these questions, your job is most definitely at a dead end and you are at risk for Career Depression Syndrome. It's time to look at the "big picture" of where your career is headed and map out a strategy to get you where you really want to go.
# If you see yourself in three to four of the situations described, your career is definitely on cruise control. You need to revisit your career plan and get yourself back on the right path.
# If only one or two of these scenarios look familiar, you're probably OK, but keep an eye out for the symptoms which can lead your career down a dead end.
How to Tell If You Are Stuck in a Dead End Job
Whether or not you like your job you may find that you feel stuck in your current job. Do you feel like your work just continue to trudge along and that each day you go in to work you are doing the same thing you did yesterday and last week. If so then there is a chance that you may be stuck in a dead end job and need a change of pace. You may be either unhappy or discouraged with your job and this can be caused by either stress at work, job burnout or a change in the job market. The following are some signs that can show if you are stuck in a dead end job and need a change of pace.
Do you find yourself and others are expected to pick up the slack for workers who leave rather than your employer hiring new employees. It is perfectly normal if you are expected to carry an extra work load until another individual is hired. However, it is another thing entirely if this goes on for too long and no new employees are hired while more continue to leave.
Are you not being recognized or rewarded when you put in extra hours at work or go the extra mile for clients. In this case it would be best to start making your accomplishments known and see what happens. If you still feel you are not being recognized or rewarded then it may be time for a change.
If you feel you are no longer being included once a new management or boss is brought into the company then you may need to do something. This can often be a sign that your career is going to start slowing down or end entirely. The best thing to do in this case is have a update list of your accomplishments within the company on hand so that you can show your new boss the reasons why it would be beneficial and helpful to keep you around so you don't risk losing your job.
If you find yourself losing interest in your job then you may want to enrich your career to make it more interesting and keep your productivity from slipping. To do this you should find courses or seminars related to your industry. This not only help to keep you interested in your job but it keeps you from becoming obsolete from the point of view of your boss.