Am I in a dead-end job?

A blog reader asks:
My brother keeps pushing me to change jobs because he says I am in a dead-end job. He has given me a lot of good reasons to think so. I’m just not sure. Can you help?”
(name witheld)

You certainly could be working a dead-end job if you have held the same position, for years and years. If you had goals when you applied for the job and have yet to see those goals accomplished, it may be a sign of a dead-end job. Your work go unrewarded, beyond the normal pay raises, especially if you have been employed by the same company for years.

Another sign that you may be working a dead-end job is your pay level. Has it been relatively level for a number of years. Today, most employers automatically give all employees pay raises yearly or even quarterly just to keep pace with the cost-of-living. If you have been employed by the same company for an extended period of time with any above cost-of-living raises, you may be working a dead-end job.

Have you asked for a pay raise above the normal raises and have been turned down for no solid reason? If, Yes, you may be in a dead-end job. Look, most employers expect employees to ask for a raise, especially after an extended period of time without a raise; therefore, you may have nothing to lose by asking.

Also consider this – If you do exemplary work in your current position you may be too valuable to the company in your present position to be promoted. So ask for that raise if you believe this is the case.

If any of these apply, speak to your supervisor or supervisors about your concerns. This may involve asking for an increase in pay or asking for a promotion, should any positions be available. Remember, though, be careful what you ask for. Do not ask for an outrageous raise in pay. Before you ask for a promotion, be sure you really want more responsibility.

Whatever you do, do not let this idea of a dead-end job negatively impact your work product. Be sure to continue to present a positive attitude in front of your supervisors, volunteer to work late or cover someone else’s shift in an emergency and so forth. You need to be a model employee, someone the company needs to keep happy, someone who is a great asset to the company. Keep in mind that your company is in business to make a profit. That profit provides you, and others, with jobs. The more you help increase profits, the more valuable you are to the company.

It may surprise you to know that many times supervisors mistakenly believe that workers are currently satisfied with their jobs because they have not been told otherwise. You need to be upfront and ask them for more and assure them that you are capable of handling more.

The last option you have, when looking to rid yourself of a dead-end job, is seeking employment elsewhere. If you have a family to support or bills that must be paid, you may only want to use seeking employment elsewhere as a last resort, but it is still a step that you may want to examine.

Your brother may be seeing something you are not but remain objective, not emotional, as you examine your situation.

Free advice is cheap for the one giving it and can be disastrous for the one acting on it!

Jim DeSantis
Library for Dummy’