Is It Time To Step Down In Your Career

Career overload happens to the best of us. You work so hard to get ahead and then hit hits you; you’re in too deep. So, when's it time to tap out?

You’re busting your hump, you’ve got a mission and nothing’s gonna slow you down. You’re determined to reach that next rung, determined to grab that corner office. So determined in fact, that you miss all the red lights along the way. You push, push, push until something breaks. That something is you.

Worn out, stressed and generally unhappy, you’re not even aware of who you’ve become. You have no clue that everyone at the office thinks you’re a tyrant, and lately, even more think you’re incompetent. You simply keep pushing until you finally make a mistake that can’t be corrected. The one mistake that ultimately ends up making a career decision for you. You find yourself on the receiving end of a pink slip.

So, what happened? How did you get so far ahead of yourself? How in the world did you end up getting fired when it seemed you had so much going for you?

The Slow Professional Decline

Ok, so you got fired. I’m sure you’re mad, I’m sure you’re super put off and your ego is bruised. But, instead of wasting time pouting and saying, “why me”, analyze why you were fired.

Define The Following:

  • What role did you play in your termination?
  • How could have your actions changed the outcome?
  • Did you look and listen for the signs that pointed to the fact that your termination was pending?

Here’s the facts, no one just walks into work one day and gets fired. You don’t go from hero to zero in one day. It’s a slow decline that happens over time.

Poor performance, taking on more work than you can manage and failing to complete tasks on time are events that gradually take place. Unless you pay careful attention and take steps to correct your performance, you’ll eventually reach max capacity for failure and you’ll get fired.

How To Balance Profession Growth

It’s tempting to strive to reach the top as fast as possible, but sometimes that strategy backfires. If you work hard to climb, climb, climb, and never slow down to learn, you’ll reach a point in your career where you’ll overplay your capabilities – basically you’ll reach a point of incompetency.

Some signs that you’ve reached a level of incompetency are:

  • Do you feel continually overwhelmed?
  • Do you sit in meetings with peers and wonder why they seem so prepared and more capable than you?
  • Do you feel like you’re continually putting out fires?

You may self-realize, or it may require someone else telling you you’ve reached a tipping point, but trust me, if the above bullets hit too close to home, you’re close to crashing professionally.

The only way to successfully grow in your career is to slow down, absorb everything you can during each phase of your career and then move forward once you’ve mastered your current role. Mastering your role doesn’t mean reaching stagnation. It simply means you shouldn’t move forward to the next level in your career until you’ve reached a point where you are confident in your capabilities and productivity in your current role.

When To Say Uncle

It’s normal to have feelings of professional insecurity, stress and at times a workload that seems unmanageable. However, if you reach a point in your career where these feelings never end, and you dread going to work, you may be in the wrong role. Your work should be challenging and rewarding, but it shouldn’t be miserable. If you’re struggling to find your way professionally, tap into our 1:1 coaching. Working with a Career Coach will help you find your way back to professional happiness!

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About The Author

Carter is our resident coffee junkie and a member of our sales and marketing resume team. Having spent most of his professional career in sales management, Carter leans on his professional expertise to create unique, accomplishment based resumes that speak to the demands of hiring managers and current market trends. If you’d like to simplify your career, follow Carter and the rest of our team on Twitter and LinkedIn to get updates on careers, job search and resume best practices!