Wanna get on the fast-track of your career? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you want to get noticed, rise up the ranks through promotions, and make more money — you need to get uncomfortable.
I know, I know, getting uncomfortable can make us feel nervous. And let’s be honest, any time we feel that way, our preferred response is to pull back and go back to where we feel safe.
It’s very easy to get comfortable on the job, especially if you’ve been in the same role or at the same company for a while. You master your day to day, nothing ‘scares’ you anymore, you’re seen as an expert, and it feels pretty dang good. It can feel like a great place to be, but the reality is that staying stagnant for too long can actually harm your career in the long run. That’s why if you’re looking to get ahead in your next move, it’s about time you got comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Below are five “uncomfortable” situations on the job that can help put you on the fast-track of getting ahead if you decide to push forward with them. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Get Over the “Ickiness” Feeling of Self-Promotion
Don’t assume that everyone at work has your best interests at heart. You have to always advocate for yourself, even if it feels awkward or “icky.” One way to do this is by managing up to your manager and sharing your wins and accomplishments, especially if he/she isn’t constantly aware of the work you are doing. (You can download a template to document your achievements here!)
Another way to self-promote is to look for everyday opportunities to help both your manager and co-workers better understand your contributions. Discuss what you’re working on and how things are going. When you reach a major milestone on a project, don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm. Mastering the art of self-promotion will undoubtedly lead you to more promotions. Find out how you can self-promote effectively (without rubbing people the wrong way) in this post.
Don’t Doubt the Power of Your Voice
Don’t be afraid to use your voice in the workplace. Ask questions when you’re confused or are curious about something. Bring issues up when you are concerned about something or foresee problems. Add commentary to internal and external calls to set yourself apart from your team. Let your manager know when you’re no longer feeling challenged and want to take on more work or a new role. Find out ways you can build your influence using your voice in this post. Being curious, open, and honest can lead to more visibility and leadership opportunities.
See Networking as an Opportunity
Just the thought of “networking” can easily make some of us feel uncomfortable and awkward. In those moments, it’s easy to make excuses or avoid approaching others. But let me tell you, you can open a lot of doors simply by being open to the idea of meeting new people and putting yourself out there. You really never know who you might meet.
Instead of psyching yourself out, flip the script, and look at every event you go to simply as an opportunity to meet people – social events too! This way, the next time a “networking event” comes up, it won’t seem so daunting and it will take the pressure off.
At events or social gatherings, make an effort and go up and introduce yourself to others. Be curious and ask questions so you can get to know who you’re speaking with. Give insight into who you are and touch on your career aspirations when appropriate. Through your conversations, you’ll begin to find commonalities and cultivate powerful connections. This will allow you to identify if your new connections can help you in some way in your career or introduce you to someone who can!
Put in the Effort & Upskill
Avoid being stagnant in your career. Always be on the hunt to learn more. Be curious about how things work at your company. Raise your hand to help, especially if it’s an opportunity to learn something new. Look into certifications that may be applicable to your career. Take them. Maybe you’ve been longing to go back to school for an additional degree. Do it. Learn a new language if you work at a global company. Don’t allow yourself to tell you that you can’t. You can. Push yourself to think more, ask more, and learn more. Do what you can to put your all into learning something new every day.
Don’t Fear Moving On
Don’t allow yourself to get comfortable in your job. If you’re no longer being challenged in your role, look to other ones within your company that will allow you to be. If you’ve run out of options at your current company or there are no other roles that appeal to you, look to external opportunities, and begin the job search. Look for jobs that will not only push you professionally but that you’re also interested in.
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, events host, speaker, and founder of Lipstick & Ink®, a career and wellness organization aimed to motivate female 9-5ers and side hustlers to own their power and make their mark. In addition to her writing and career consulting experience with L&I®, Kelly works full-time in technology as a Success Manager at Salesforce. She is also in the process of writing her first book.
Kelly has landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets including Thrive Global, International Association of Women, General Assembly, TheGlu, SheFactor, EvolveHer, Cliquish, and Six Degrees Society.