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Mark was known for his excellent work, high performance, and love for his job. He worked diligently for 12 years for the same company hoping that his high performance and loyalty would pay off. He hoped for a well-deserved promotion and a substantial pay hike.

13 years down the line and the only pay raise he got was the minimum that every employee was getting. Also, it just never seemed like the right time for him to get any promotion within the company. The saddest thing about his career journey within the company is that he was the top pick for projects and could always be relied upon to get stuff done. But in the end, he was obviously not good enough for a promotion or a salary increment.

Mark’s decision to stay in the same job for too long ate up numerous opportunities for career advancement. His career stalled and he wasted his potential. He never saw the years pass by until it no longer made sense for him to stay in the same position.

Truth is, staying at the same job for 5 years or more is far too long. Staying for too long in one position makes you less interesting as time goes by. You may even seem irrelevant to your managers. It does not mean that you have to leave your current company — you just have to brighten your future career prospects by moving up the career ladder.

What then should you do?

1. Do not turn a blind eye on your career just because your boss is

Some bosses can be excellent mentors, interested in their juniors’ growth and success. For such employees, career fulfilment is much more achievable, of course, depending on their own input in work.

Unfortunately, there is a certain category of bosses who believe they are a God-given gift to their employees, driving into their minds that without their superpowers, their juniors would be nowhere in their careers. The sad thing is that some employees end up breaking their backs seeking their approval, believing that things will end up better in the end. Pleasing your boss is a good thing, but you shouldn’t do it to the detriment of your own success. These bosses will always assure you that better opportunities will be available in the future, with the “future” having no specific time.

2. Get your game plan in order

The longer you stay in the same position, the more difficult it would be for the managers to envision you anywhere else. Work and be good at your job, then actively look for opportunities for career advancement. Make your intentions known that you seek to advance and work on it. You could take up short courses such as Public Speaking that will set you apart.

It will be easier for the managers to advance you if you seem to put work and time towards advancing your knowledge and skills.

3. Document your performance

It is a common practice for companies to conduct regular performance reviews. Perform exceptionally well and highlight your most rewarding achievements. Advocate for high profile tasks and put effort, time and skills into them. Make your achievements noticeable during performance reviews. Do not take your achievements for granted. If you do, no one else will market them for you.

4. Get other people invested in your success

Avoid giving your boss the ultimate control over your career. Follow good advice and be self-aware enough not to sheepishly follow retrogressive suggestions.

Nurture excellent working relationships with people other than your boss. A mentor, a career coach and peers who mean goodwill will always point out where you seem to be slacking. Get their perspective. Authentically listen to their input and accompany good advice with appropriate and timely actions. In addition, strive to help others grow. Celebrate with them when they achieve their goals. That way, they will also help you out when you make your bid for promotion.

5. Recognize the less obvious opportunities

Sometimes we may be so engrossed in the bigger picture that we fail to realize the gradual steps that help us get to the ultimate goal. The goal is not an exclusive event; it takes a series of small wins that make it all worthwhile.

The Standard