This post is featured on behalf of Stacey White.

Your career should be in motion. A constant upward motion is the preference. If you tread water during your climb of the career ladder, then you’re dangling in limbo, with no true goals in mind.

For every career, there is a possible progression. If you’re a server at a restaurant, then you can plan to become a manager. If you’re a nurse, then you can always undertake an online RNBSN program to allow you to achieve your career goals. If you’re a writer, then one day you may want to look into editing.

The point is clear: no job is finite with no more upward movement– even CEOs can one day hope to be CEOs of bigger, more lucrative companies.

Yet even the most dedicated of individuals can find themselves faltering on the career ladder. Your upward momentum begins to slow, then eventually falters, and comes to a stop. There are numerous reasons this can happen; understanding these is key to getting moving once more.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Reason #1: You’re Too Comfortable At Your Existing Job

Let’s be clear: being comfortable in your job is a good thing. No one wants to work in an environment where you’re constantly on edge and unsure of your position. It’s a positive if you know the job, know your colleagues, and generally know what to expect each day when you arrive at work. This can mean that you’re able to focus on the job in hand, rather than worrying about your status with the company.

However, there can be a downside to this. If you’re comfortable to the point you hate the idea of working somewhere else, then you could be holding yourself back.


You may have a great working environment right now, but who’s to say the next rung up the career ladder isn’t going to be even better?

Hanging on because you’re comfortable means you’re not going to make the best of your potential. Appreciate the work environment you have, but don’t become wedded to it. If you leave on good terms, then you’re always going to have the chance to come back if a new career step doesn’t work out for you.

Reason #2: You’re Not Sure What Your Next Step Is

If you’ve been working in the same job for a period of time, you can get to a point where you’re not even sure what the next step is.

Not all jobs have a linear managed progression that is always pointing the way to the next step.


Look online and see what people in your occupation have then gone onto in the future. This should give you a stronger guidance in regards to progression, and what the skills you have already learned might help with in the future.

You could also try talking to your boss, though make it clear you’re not looking for their job– just that you’re looking for the next step, and where do they think you might have something of value to offer?

Reason #3: You’re Distracted By Other Life Issues

When you’re struggling with your work-life balance, progressing up the career ladder can feel like the last thing on your mind.

If you have personal problems impacting your work, it can feel like the last thing you want to do is destabilize yourself. You’re trying to keep everything as calm as you possibly can, so shaking things up and looking for new work opportunities just doesn’t seem to be a viable idea.


Here’s the thing: there’s always going to be something happening in your personal life that has the potential to hold you back.

There will never be a time in your life when you have got all of your ducks in a row, giving you a perfect platform to launch a career initiative from.

When you understand that the idea of there being a “right time” is largely a myth, it’s easier to push for progression in the moment rather than deferring it until later.

Make later mean right now; holding yourself back is not going to be helpful in the long run.

Reason #4: You’re Lacking In Confidence

Finally, let’s discuss the biggest and most pervasive reason that people don’t push to progress in their careers: a lack of self-confidence.

When you watch TV talent shows like The Apprentice, everyone is so sure of themselves and cocky. There is no doubt that this is a helpful attitude to have in the workplace. To truly stand out and progress, you need to be ready to toot your own horn on occasion. If you don’t have a fundamental belief in yourself or the value you bring, then tooting your own horn is going to be nigh-on impossible.

Job interviews are particularly difficult if you’re struggling with self-confidence. At their core, job interviews are a disturbing mix of an audition and a sales pitch.

You’re trying to outline to a company why you’re indispensable; if you don’t believe the words you’re saying, then you can be sure a potential employer is going to pick up on it as well. If you don’t believe you deserve better than you already have, then you can get stuck on the career ladder for a seemingly interminable amount of time.


There are various things you can do to improve your self-confidence, but it’s not an overnight fix. In fact, if you have chronic self-confidence issues, you might find it beneficial to attend therapy. This can help you work through some of the problems you’re experiencing and help to negate any negative feelings you have about yourself and your ability.

Self-confidence is undoubtedly a tough nut to crack, but it’s one you have to be able to push through if you’re truly going to improve your lot in life. Get into the habit of talking about yourself more positively, even if you’re only saying the words to yourself in the mirror. You can master your self-doubt, if you’re willing to put the work in to do so.

If you have identified the reason you’re holding yourself back from the next career leap, then hopefully the above will have helped you formulate a plan to progress past it. Good luck.


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