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Goal Setting 101: When You've Hit A Ceiling At Work

Human Interest

Have you ever felt stuck in a job?

Or felt that your current job duties were not good enough to make you an ideal candidate for a promotion?


If you have, your story might be similar to my assistant at work. This is her story.

A few months ago, in a one on one meeting, my assistant vented to me that she felt like she didn't have a clear idea on what she should be doing to move up in the company. She said that as an assistant, her job duties are so open-ended with plenty of tasks that are pretty much all over the place (getting coffee, taking notes for me, making copies, etc.), that she really didn't know how to measure her level of success as an employee.

After my employee vented to me, I gave her three tips on how she could take herself to the next level in her career. Since then, I have seen this employee improve, become more well-rounded, and knowledgeable. Because of her growth, this employee is definitely in a position for a promotion now.

This situation with my assistant showed me that her story and her frustrations are not unique. In fact, we have all had those feelings of inadequacy and helplessness at least once in our careers. If you are feeling in a rut at your job and don't know how you can set measurable goals, check out my tips below.

Be the Best at What You Do

Because my employee was feeling inadequate and uninspired in her role, she started acting like what I would call a "B" level employee.

If you are unfamiliar with this term, an "A" level employee is someone that does the basic functions of their job at a satisfactory level, but then goes above and beyond. A "B" level employee just does the bare minimum when it comes to their job. He or she is not a bad employee, but they are not anyone to brag about either. A "C" level employee is one that needs a little improvement and doesn't perform at a satisfactory level. A "D" level employee and below is on the edge of getting the boot.

I realized from our discussion that my employee was acting at a "B" level because she didn't have the right attitude or energy as it came to her job. When we met, I gave her a pep talk, and reminded her that her current role wasn't the end of the road. I assured her that if she put her best foot forward at all times and improved her work ethic, that it wouldn't go unnoticed.

Figure Out Where You Want to Be and Cross-Train

When my employee approached me and said she felt her career was going nowhere, I asked her a very simple question that she had trouble answering:

Where would you like to go next in your career?

Too often, we focus so much on what we don't like about our jobs and where we are, and don't focus enough on where we want to be. No matter where you are on the corporate ladder or what role you have, you should always be looking ahead at what's next in your career. If your supervisor asks you where you would like to go next in your career, you should already know the answer to this, because your goal setting is two steps ahead.

After you figure out where you want to go next in your career, look internally for resources. For example, let's say you are an administrative assistant, but you want to work in marketing. Take the initiative and approach someone in the marketing department and let them know you want to do administrative work for their team and shadow them. For most of us, we are not busy at work 100% of the time, so when we do get some free time, instead of scrolling on the 'gram, or playing around with Snapchat's newest filter, we should use our leisure time wisely.

Next, most companies have some type of online training library filled with training resources. Take advantage of those resources and teach yourself about key items in the field you want to go into. Also, take advantage of external resources like Google, Udemy, or YouTube. There are a ton of resources on these platforms that can teach you about the very field that you want to work in.

Go the Extra Mile

Last but not least, always go above and beyond when the opportunity presents itself. Increase and improve your work ethic to the point where your boss will never have to "follow up" with you on a certain task, or ask you to do a certain project because you have already done it. Take time out to further understand your boss and your company, and look for ways that you can improve operations or streamline a process without being asked to do so.

Also, do the things that people may not always want to do. The people that go out of their way and volunteer for tasks that may not be as popular as others always stands out.

If you are feeling stuck, I highly encourage you to take the tips above and use them to your advantage. If you do, drop us a note below and let us know how it works out for you!

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