Professional growth isn't linear; there are a myriad of ways to learn, grow, and advance as an executive.
And career growth or change doesn't necessarily mean job change. Leveling up your career can take many different forms, from assuming more responsibilities and investing in professional development to seeking mentorship or joining a corporate or nonprofit board.
But when? And how do you know which path, or paths, are for you?
In this article, we'll dive into key signs you need a career change and offer simple strategies you can take to advance your career today (or, you know, whenever you're ready).
Signs you need a career change
Signals for a career change or level up will vary by individual, specialty and role, goals and aspirations, and much more. This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will alert you to some of the experiences or feelings that undergird career dissatisfaction or stalemates.
Signs you need a career change No. 1: Apathy
Lack of motivation. Indifference. Apathy. If this describes your experience at work as of late, it may be time to consider how to advance your career. Before you start sending out your resume, take time to reflect on the potential roots of your apathy. This can be hard to discern at times, especially because apathy can creep up in the most unexpected ways and at unexpected times. Apathy is linked to other conditions and experiences, and it's important to be mindful as you consider this potential sign you need a career change.
Here are a couple distinguishing questions to consider if you suspect apathy could be at the core of your career change desires:
- Am I experiencing burnout? Symptoms of career burnout and apathy often overlap, according to Psychology Today. If burnout is the culprit, a different approach will be needed to adapt your career or circumstances.
- Am I experiencing depression? Apathy can also be connected to depression. If you suspect this may be your experience, seek out the guidance of a mental health professional who can help you navigate your experiences.
Signs you need a career change No. 2: Lack of growth or opportunity
Professionals and executives on the move need space to grow. If your organization doesn't offer that, be it professional development opportunities or other avenues for career growth, it's time to pause and reevaluate how to advance your career. (More on this ahead.)
Signs you need a career change No. 3: Value mismatch
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People learn, grow, and change. Sometimes organizations don’t. If you find a misalignment of values between yourself and your organization, it may be time to reevaluate your career. Are there ways you can contribute to meaningful change in your workplace? Maybe that’s through practicing diversity leadership in your own sphere of influence or even initiating diversity discussions with the CEO or Chief Diversity Officer. Wherever the misalignment falls, take time to consider how you can leverage the difference to make a difference.
How to advance your career
No matter what your "why" is, we'll help you figure out the "how." Below are practical steps you can take to explore how to advance your career right where you are.
- Grow right where you are. You don't have to leave your role or company to grow as a professional. It's possible to advance your career right where you are through pursuits like upskilling, mentorship, and paving your own leadership path. Upskilling offers an opportunity to learn and grow in an area of your own interest while also equipping you to perform at a higher capacity in your current role. Mentorship—identifying a mentor or becoming a mentor—is a mutually beneficial learning opportunity, especially if you connect with an individual who inspires you and/or is different from you. Lastly, consider paving your own leadership path at your current job. This could look like leading an Employee Resource Group (ESG), taking on more responsibility (But first, make sure you can reasonably manage it and that you're passionate about the work), or spearheading community volunteer opportunities.
- Consider board service. Serving on a board of directors is an excellent way to take your career to the next level. Plus, you'll grow in your leadership capacity and in your service to the community. If you're considering board service for the first time, the boards of a local nonprofit, community organization, or school are all great first steps. Ready to join your first board? Here's how.
- Raise your hand for new opportunities. If you want to grow as a professional, make it known. Let your colleagues and network know that you're looking for ways to advance. You may be surprised by what happens when you simply let your intentions be known. And if you're ready to explore what's out there, joining AboveBoard is a seamless way to "raise your hand" for the next step in your career.
Find your next growth opportunity on AboveBoard
Whether you're looking for a new executive opportunity or searching for your first (or second, or third) board role, AboveBoard's direct and open support offers a new resource for seasoned executives to discover career-enhancing opportunities. At AboveBoard, we want to ensure qualified candidates of all backgrounds have the chance to be considered for top tier opportunities. Our inclusive platform is a space where seasoned executives can confidentially explore, consider, and choose to express interest in leadership opportunities that further their career goals.