It’s unlikely ― if not impossible ― that you will enjoy a lifelong career in tech without a few speedbumps. Though the tech industry is growing at an extreme rate, no field can promise all of its workers uninterrupted climbs up their career ladders. At one point or another, your tech career will stall.
However, reaching a plateau doesn’t mean your years of success have come to an end. Whether you end your plateau and resume your meteoric rise or learn to make the most of your career situation, you can overcome the dissatisfaction associated with a stall in upward mobility using a few of the following tips and tricks.
Go Back on the Market
Long gone are the days when you can expect to stay at one company your entire life. On average, today’s workers find new employers every 4.4 years, but millennial workers tend to hop jobs in about half that time. The reason for this is that switching companies tends to help young workers speedily climb their career ladders and avoid slow-and-steady dues-paying that traditional employment requires.
Even before you notice a plateau, you might consider returning to the job boards and looking for a better position at a new company. By jumping ship every few years, you might be able to maintain a consistent rise. However, you should also know that after a while, recruiters will be less impressed by a resume filled with short stints, so it might be worth enduring some plateau to maintain the integrity of your work experience.
Make a Lateral Move
Just because your current career path doesn’t have any current opportunities for upward mobility doesn’t mean similar tracks in your current company are equally stagnant. Though a lateral move might seem like a waste of time, you might find that switching jobs primes you for better promotions in the future.
While you are job hunting during your plateau period, you should consider positions that have equivalent pay and privileges to yours as long as they promise prospects for progress. Alternatively, you might ask your supervisors for additional projects and responsibilities that could prepare you for diagonal moves in the future.
If you love your current career and job, but you still want to advance when the occasion arises, you should devote some time to improving your knowledge and skills. A plateau offers the perfect opportunity for you to find time to return to school for an advanced tech degree. Continuing your education in your field shows commitment to your responsibilities and a drive to be better, both of which will attract attention from higher-ups and put you on the shortlist for raises and promotions. Plus, extra education can be added to your resume, so if you decide to return to the job market, you could find better openings there, as well. Additional training is never bad ― a fact you should remember wherever your career takes you.
Find Other Ways to Feel Challenged
Plenty of tech professions are incredibly specialized, which means you might not be able to find another employer or move laterally to continue climbing your career ladder. In that case, you might search out other ways to feel challenged at your job despite your current plateau. Ideas include:
- Consider the meaning behind your job and strive to uphold it.
- Schedule time for the activities you most enjoy about your job.
- Set goals for productivity, and continue to push your goals once you achieve them.
- Eliminate redundancies and strive to make your workday as efficient as possible.
- Learn about the inner workings of other tech departments.
- Look within your organization for a mentor who can present you with additional projects.
- Ask your bosses for regular reviews to evaluate your performance.
- Identify ways you and your employer can be a more positive force in the world.
Appreciate the Plateau
For now, a plateau might be exactly what you need. Career plateaus offer you the chance to feel comfortable at your job, which is an uncommon sensation in today’s competitive tech climate. While you can, you might enjoy the lower stress and sink into the familiar responsibilities of your plateau. In fact, by spending some time in your current position, you might realize that constantly climbing the career ladder will never bring you as much happiness as having free time to spend with your loved ones. It may be well-worth your time to slow down for a while and appreciate what you have.