Job Complacency: How to Spot it and How to Deal with It

cookiecutterjob.jpgby David Bohl

“This isn’t my dream job, but it pays the bills and it’s close to my house.”

“I’ve been here for ten years and the company is good to me. While things aren’t always great, I should stick it out when times are tough.”

If these statements sound like something you’ve said or what the voice in your head is saying, now is the time to take a serious look at whether or not you’re suffering from job complacency. Especially in rough economic times, like the ones we’re experiencing now, you’ve got to be hyper-alert to what is going on with your job, your company, and the job market in general. Complacency doesn’t mean it’s time to switch jobs. It may or may not be that you need a new job. It may be as simple as correcting what you need to while sticking it out with the same company.

3 ways complacency in the workplace can negatively affect you:

Loss of ambition.

If you get too comfortable in your job, it can mean a loss of your ambitions. Maybe you landed your job a couple years ago, and man was it your dream job. Your dream job because you knew that you could get promoted in a few years to your ultra dream job. Now, however, the few years “later” has arrived and you’re kicking your feet. You’ve got it easy in the position you’re in. Do you really want to rock the boat and ask for that promotion now?

Sirens should be going off in your head! This is a sign of complacency.

Lack of experience.

If you’ve been at the same boring company forever, doing the same boring job all this time, you start to lose your marketability. And in an economy where layoffs are a reality, how great is your resume going to look if you’ve only had one job duty your whole life. Even if you stay in the same role, make sure that you take on projects that broaden your experience so that when you choose to look for another job or you are forced to look for a new one, you have the skills and experience that are attractive to companies–attractive enough to land you a new job (a better job).

Kills your quality of life.

Even though you try to keep your work life separate from your personal life, the reality is that these lives trickle into each other. If you’re just going through the motions everyday at work, then you’re probably feeling unmotivated and unhappy. This affects your personal life too. If you’re not happy at work and you’re not happy at home, you’re in trouble.

3 ways to deal with complacency in the workplace:

Dust off your resume.

A good business person always has their resume updated and is open to good opportunities that may come their way. Sometimes a job opportunity presents itself, even when you’re not looking for one. Be prepared. Dust off your resume, update it, freshen it up, and do some spring cleaning (no matter what time of year it is).

Get training.

Whether it’s taking a training class in your company or taking a class at a local community college, take training courses that’ll expand your horizons and open doors to new opportunities. If you’re a graphic designer and don’t know the latest in Web 2.0, then now is the time to sharpen your knowledge. It can advance you in your current company or it’ll help you to obtain new opportunities outside your company.

Move up or move on.

It’s time to decide whether there is a place for you to advance your career in your current company or if it is time to move on to another job at another company. Explore open positions in your own company to see if there is anything you’d be interested in. Also, check out what jobs are open at other companies. Try doing something you know you won’t enjoy like gutter cleaning in Edmonton, you’re sure to know more about yourself afterwards. It’s like window shopping, it doesn’t hurt to look, it doesn’t mean you have to buy, and you never know what you’ll find.

As I love to remind my coaching clients… complacency is not a good trait for any part of your life… relationships, personal life, or at work. Avoid complacency by keeping yourself and your skills up-to-date and marketable. Keep yourself in the game even if you’re not actively looking to make a change. You never know when the perfect opportunity for you may appear and you want to be ready to grab on with both hands when the time comes.

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