Telling Signs Your Career is Going Nowhere

Very few people make it through life loving every day they’re at work. Every now and then, even if you have your dream career, you’re going to have a day that frustrates you or leaves you bored out of your mind. But what if work really is that terrible? How can you tell the difference between a bad day and a dead-end career? With help from Forbes and, these are 15 telling signs your career is going nowhere, including a toxic workplace behavior you should never tolerate (No. 10).

1. You can’t remember the last time work got you excited

Bored at work | AntonioGuillem/ iStock/ Getty Images

The occasional boring day at work is going to happen. But according to Forbes,  your career has likely come to a halt if you honestly can’t remember the last time your work brought you any kind of joy. If you don’t feel a sense of accomplishment from at least one thing on a weekly basis, your job probably isn’t going anywhere.

Next: Everybody’s working for the weekend

2. It’s an accomplishment to get through the work day

Criticism at work
Criticism at work | fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

We’ve all been there, whether it’s getting through emails, meetings, or contentious discussions with coworkers. But if your regular work goal is to get out of all these things alive, then your career probably isn’t advancing.

Next: Where does your mind go when it wanders?

3. Your mind wanders constantly

Do you regularly zone out at work? |

This goes along with what Forbes says about not getting excited about the things you’re doing at work. Sure, everyone daydreams at the office when the day is slow or you have extra exciting weekend plans you can’t wait for. But if a significant portion of your workday is spent with your head in the clouds, your career isn’t doing enough to stimulate you.

Next: Out of sight, our of mind

4. You don’t think about work after you leave

Woman driving in Hawaii
Driving away, feeling happy | kieferpix/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Now hear us out — working somewhere that doesn’t allow you to unwind at the end of the day or over the weekend can be unhealthy for you. But Forbes suggests that if you never think of anything creative to bring to the table for the next workday, your career is likely at a standstill.

Next: Everyone wants to climb that ladder

5. There are no opportunities for advancement

Thoughtful and nervous woman waiting for the interviewer during a job interview in a desk at office
Pondering why your career is at a standstill? | AntonioGuillem/Getty Images

Unfortunately, many workers feel this way. A 2015 study reveals only about 38% of American workers feel like they can advance in their careers. Now, this can be from a number of factors. But if there’s genuinely no way of moving up in your career, it could be time to focus your energies elsewhere.

Next: Even adults should learn something new every day

6. You aren’t learning anything new

Frustrated at work | Nattakorn Maneerat/ iStock/ Getty Images

Sure, you don’t want to be a novice at the position you’ve held for a couple of years. But honing new skills is a must for any career. “A career is the sum of the experiences, skills, and knowledge that you’ve earned from work,” explains. “This sum makes you more competent and earns you more authority or expertise on your field. If you’re not learning new things over the course of time, you’re not moving your career.”

Next: Same thing, different day

7. Your position hasn’t evolved

Colleagues all bored at a work meeting | Wavebreakmedia/ iStock/ Getty Images

Marketing expert James Marshall Reilly tells Business Insider that advancements in technology allow company positions to evolve. “These iterations allow the individual to grow intellectually rather than stagnate in one position,” he says. “They also allow for the influx of new ideas to established fields as people move around and infuse new lines of thinking into conventional and often rigid spaces.” If your position isn’t evolving in this way then your career is likely at a halt, Forbes says.

Next: Here’s a big indicator …

8. Your pay is the same

tax form with calculator
Tax form and calculator | Alfexe/iStock/Getty Images summarizes it perfectly: “If your salary is stuck where it was a couple of years ago, you’re not having a career but just a job.” Even if you stay in the same position for a couple years, your pay should reflect that you’ve been there for some time and have increased.

Next: This keeps some people from moving on to different careers.

9. You feel like you’re there out of loyalty

Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images
Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

This is something that happens to individuals who have been with a company for a long time, or just genuinely like the people they work with. They need to make a career move, but they feel guilty about leaving their colleagues. That feeling of guilt can also grip employees who know a company is failing but feel bad about leaving it, says. It’s best to go with your first instinct and look elsewhere.

Next: One of the worst toxic behaviors.

10. The environment is constantly hostile

Anger, embarassment at work
Work argument | fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

You’re not always going to get along with everyone in your career space. That’s just how things go. But if you’re facing hostile situations on a daily basis, it’s time for a career move. “Every workplace has its cultural quirks. But sometimes, the quirks by co-workers can be counter-productive that it threatens your career mobility,” summarizes.

Next: What about your boss?

11. Your boss is keeping you down

Dispute between young boss and young employee
A dispute between boss and employee |

Your boss can be the big reason your career isn’t advancing, from constantly contradicting you to poor decision-making on his or her own part. But the worst is if your boss is purposely keeping you from expanding your skill set. This could be a sign you need to make a career move. “If your employer won’t pay for professional development, you can get some professional development of your own,” Forbes suggests.

Next: Use it or lose it

12. Your best skills aren’t being used

IT professional working on computer
Are your skills being properly utilized? | scyther5/iStock/Getty Images

“Many people find themselves not doing what they are good at because they simply grabbed the first job opportunity that came their way,” says. “Ask the human resources for a transfer within the company, but if that’s not possible, it’s time to look for a new job that fits your skills.”

Next: And if you’re strongly considering a move, it’s a bad sign if …

13. You can’t think of anything to add to your resume

Businessman Reading Resume On Office Desk
Reading over resume | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Let’s say you finally consider a career move and start beefing up your resume. What you’re able to add to it from your current position can tell you a lot about whether you should make that move. The first sign of Forbes’ list of reasons your career is at a halt is “when you pull up your resume on the screen in order to update it, you can’t think of anything to add.”

Next: Not to be dramatic, but this is a sign …

14. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel

Light at the end of the tunnel| Arsgera/Getty Images

Have an honest conversation with yourself about this. Are you just having a bad week or two of work? Or are you actually stuck? Ask yourself this question a couple of times. Do your research and weigh your options. If there’s still a brick wall in front of you, it’s time to make that career move.

Next: If opportunity comes knocking

15. You receive a better offer

Partners meeting in cafe
Meeting in cafe | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

If you start looking for other employment options, take into consideration what makes this a move for the better. “The offer can be a higher salary, greater career mobility, better benefits, or an improved work schedule,” says. Above all, you should see room to grow. If this new opportunity gives you that ability, it could be time to leave your dead-end position behind.

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