Why Being Comfortable in Your Job is Killing Your Career

Having a good job is great, having a job where you feel comfortable and safe is even better. But there is also such a thing as being too comfortable in your job. Why? Well it can be difficult to grow professionally and progress in your career when you are too comfortable in your job.

To excel in your career, you should be willing to explore outside your comfort zone, take risks and do things you typically wouldn’t do. That doesn’t really align with being comfortable in your job though, as that would imply not stretching yourself and not continually learning and growing.

So you’re probably wondering, “how do I know if I’ve become too comfortable in my job?” We’re here to help you figure that out. In this blog, we will be discussing some tell-tale signs that will help you determine if you’ve become too relaxed in your job.

Before we get going, let’s caveat this right at the start to say that the last 12 months have been a nightmare for everyone. People have been furloughed, they’re working part-time, many have lost their jobs, so we’re definitely aware that this is not a typical period of time. However, everything you’re about to read still holds true and perhaps it’s more important now than ever as things start to open up again. Right, let’s get to it!

You’re not learning anymore 

If you are not learning you are not growing. Whilst this may be a bit of a cliché, it’s also true. If you are not learning anything new in your current position, if you are not acquiring new skills, if you find yourself doing the same repetitive and mundane tasks, then as long as you remain in that job there’s a risk that your career will grind to a standstill.

A job should offer more than a monthly payday. It should offer learning and growth opportunities; as well as networking opportunities to connect with other professionals both within and outside your industry. If your job doesn’t offer any of these, then you might want to start looking for other job opportunities.

The job market is cut-throat – now more than ever – and people are constantly upgrading their skills in order to remain relevant and have the necessary skills and qualifications needed in their industry. If you are not upgrading your skills and qualifications then you are likely being left behind – which spells career catastrophe!

Your ambition is on the wane

Are you becoming less enthusiastic about your job? Do you watch the clock on your desk until it’s time to log off? Do you find yourself dreading work days because of how boring your job has become to you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we have some unfortunate news for you – your ambition might be on the wane.

Now, it’s important to understand that this doesn’t always mean you have become less passionate about your career. Whilst that might be true, it could also mean that your current job no longer inspires or motivates you. It can be difficult to excel in your career when you are not even excited about your job. Your ambition is what keeps you going and pushes you to strive for better as a professional.

As such, your career either plateaus or worse… begins a downward spiral where you are lacking in ambition, inspiration and motivation. No one starts out with the expectation of settling for a mediocre career, but if you become too comfortable in your job with a waning ambition, then having a mediocre career is almost inevitable.

Others are coming up to overtake you

Look at recently employed colleagues. Look at people who were hired after you. Look at who is getting promoted, taking on new responsibilities or being assigned more challenging tasks. If this progression is happening to others while you remain bogged down in your position, still handling the same responsibilities you have always handled, then it is obvious you have been overtaken in the workplace.

Seeing this play out can be terrible as no one would want to see their colleagues getting favoured over them. But then again, when you aren’t learning anything new or at least making an effort to learn new things, then your employers might not see the need to promote you or give you more responsibilities. The point here is that you will be sidelined by your company if your employers do not see the value of your contributions to the growth of the organisation.

When you become too comfortable in your job, you are likely to become complacent and where there is complacency, a drop in performance or productivity is never far behind. Now, it’s not unreasonable for employers to reward their more productive employees over the less productive ones, right? Right! That’s what being too comfortable in your job does to you, it allows you to sit by while others outperform you and consequently overtake you.

Recognise the issues and take action

If you find that any of these scenarios are applicable to your current position, then it goes without saying that you are way too comfortable in your job and it’s killing your career. However, the good news is that regardless of how long you might have been stuck being too comfortable in your job, it’s never too late to steer your career back on track. So how can you do that?

Well first things first, you must acknowledge that being comfortable in your job is detrimental to having a successful career. Unless you recognise and acknowledge the fact that you have a problem in your job, it’s going to be difficult to overcome that hurdle.

The next thing you need to do is determine the particular cause of your problem. Why aren’t you learning new skills or acquiring new qualifications? Why does your job bore you? Why have you become less invested in your current career? Why are your colleagues advancing their careers while you are still stuck in the same position? Ask yourself these questions and while you may not like the answers, it will help you discover where things are amiss and allow you to figure out the best course of action to take to tackle the issue.

Finally, take action. Unless you are deliberate about leaving your comfort zone job-wise, your efforts to advance your career may never yield significant results. Take concrete steps to propel your career. Do not wait to be assigned new responsibilities, seek them out or directly ask for new responsibilities. The more challenging the tasks, the better.

Find out the new skills, certifications and qualifications in your industry, take training courses and acquire new professional certifications to upgrade your skills to ensure you have the skillset needed to be relevant in your industry. Also, do not be afraid to apply for a new job, internally or externally if your current job no longer brings you fulfillment. There is no gain in staying in a job that doesn’t excite you.