When you first start at a new job there is always hope and optimism.  You try your hardest, you work to get to know everyone, and you hope for the best.  Many of us even ask during the interview process if there are opportunities for advancement.  Most managers will say there are plenty of opportunities.  Unfortunately, that is not always a reality.

Sometimes you go to work at a job that seems promising.  Everyone is really nice and the entry level position you've taken seems OK.  However, that position is only OK if you are going to move somewhere up the ladder.  If you've been at your position for a long time and there is still nowhere to go, you might be at a dead end position.  If you've been looked over for promotion opportunities or there are simply no other positions ever available, now is the time to ask yourself, "Am I at a dead end job?"

Signs Your Job is Leading You Nowhere

You may be wondering what are some signs that your job is going nowhere.  After all, you were told there would be job opportunities in the future.  So where did they go?  Some signs you may want to look out for are:

  • The company is not doing well financially.  Instead of new jobs opening, the company continues to downsize.
  • You've been at an entry level position for more than 2 years, yet you were told people rapidly advanced at the company.
  • No one seems to view you as anything more than an entry level worker.  You are never assigned anything too complex and no one talks to you about other opportunities.
  • You are assigned a number of more complex duties, yet you do not move from your position.  Basically, they've found an inexpensive way to get the work done without paying a higher salary.
  • When you look around at other positions, you not only do not qualify for them, you would not want those positions even if you did.
  • You are continuously frustrated with your position.  No matter how hard you work, it goes unrecognized.

Dead End Sign

Now What Do You Do?

You do have a number of options if you determine your job is a dead end position.  If you feel no one views you as someone having an upper level position, start approaching managers in other departments and volunteering to help.  Always greet everyone at your company with enthusiasm.  Whenever the opportunity should arise, discuss with some of your co-workers your career goals and other work experiences that would make you perfect for a different job or department. 

If you are constantly given new tasks, but you never go anywhere, now may be the time to approach a manager to find out just what they have in mind for you.  Have a frank conversation about where you would like to go and where they see you going.  You might find out some interesting information.  Perhaps they were unaware you were ready to move on.  Maybe you will learn that there will be some future opportunities coming along shortly.

Sadly, you may discover there is no future for you at your company.  Perhaps the downsizing continues or you learn there are no positions available in the future.  You may also discover they have no intention of helping you progress in your career.   The harsh reality of the matter is you need to start looking for a new job.  Sometimes you are not a good fit for a company.  Sometimes your managers and co-workers just do not appreciate your hard work. 

When it is time to go, you will know it.  You need to send out resumes and find ways to interview while at the position.  In this economy, you just don't have the option of leaving without finding a new job first.  It may be difficult finding a new job right now, but it is not impossible.  Make sure to mention in your interviews that you are leaving your current job due to a lack of opportunities.  Hopefully, a new boss will appreciate your hard work and dedication, and he or she will make sure to provide the opportunities for advancement you deserve.