Wherever you’re in your professional career, there’ll be challenges that you simply encounter within the workplace. this is often totally normal and may even be something that drives you ahead in your career, towards greater success. Here are 8 common challenges that you simply might encounter in your career and ways to show these into professional successes.
1: A difficult relationship with your boss or manager
This is one of the most common complaints of workers; after all, who hasn’t had a difficult boss at some stage of their career? According to a study from a US university, up to 40% of workers in the business world think they work for ‘bad’ bosses.
There is a way to turn this around and build on your own professional success. If you are stuck with a direct report that you don’t get along with, make it your mission to check out other team managers both above and beneath them, and build on relationships with these people in a subtle and non-threatening way.
Seek advice from them, build a rapport and try to gain a wider understanding of how the business runs, in totality. Make sure you never directly undermine your boss as this could foster negative relationships and even put your job at risk, but simply work on looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes those that we don’t directly report to can be a great source of information and might be only too happy to give you some of their time.
2: A co-worker who constantly steals your thunder
Again, this is a common problem and one of the most feared job challenges. You might have worked hard on a project only to have someone in your team take all the credit. Or your ideas might constantly be sidelined by someone with a “louder voice” than you. What can you do? In this case, going directly to HR to make a complaint might not be the best option. Again, fostering a fresh, workable relationship with the co-worker in question might be more effective. Spend time listening to how they act in meetings, what their work ethic is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Make a conscious point of involving them directly in projects where they normally take over. Plan extra meetings, some one-on-one time, and observe “how they tick”. If you can, seek to build a friendlier relationship with them over time and aim to shift the dialogue and the vibe between you.
3: Working in a role that you feel is not in line with your talents
There have been multiple studies done on employment engagement and how this affects happiness, satisfaction and retention at work. In some workplaces, as many as 80% of workers feel actively disengaged on the job, meaning that they do not feel that they are living up to their potential. If this is your experience, you can still achieve professional success. Use your feelings of dissatisfaction to make some changes to your working experience. Book a meeting with your manager about how you think you can advance in your role, noting what skills and interests you’d like to develop. The, book another meeting time 2 or 3 months down the track to make sure you’re sticking to your new goals.
In this way, you can turn a negative into a positive and you might be surprised at what you uncover. Many workplaces allow for professional development for those who specifically ask for it. Research short courses you may want to do and conferences or training days you might be able to attend.
4: A non-cooperative team atmosphere
Is your team hostile or distant? Is there a lack of teamwork or company culture at play? Has the business suffered due to changing market conditions or a downturn in the commercial landscape? This problem can be overcome to your advantage, if you are willing to put the work in. Aim to become a ‘cheerleader’ for your organisation or team. Don’t go overboard, but aim to introduce little things that might make your co-workers feel more cared for. Could you organise an informal team lunch? Would bringing in donuts one day a week help to break the ice? Could you talk to your manager about having a monthly team meeting where the first few minutes are reserved for something light-hearted and fun? This shows leadership skills and you might be noticed by those higher up. At the very least, you’re bound to improve at least one person’s day.
5: Overwork and/or overtime
Are you being worked to the bone? It’s surprisingly common, in fact, a recent survey reported that 28% of people often or very often felt overworked. The same amount reported feeling overwhelmed by their jobs often. This is terrible news for those who want to achieve a work-life balance – or is it? There are ways to use this common challenge as a chance to succeed in your career. If you are feeling overworked, make a more conscious effort to log your daily tasks every day. Keep better records of what you do, how long it takes, and whether tasks are taking longer than you expect.
Over a period of 2 or 3 months, you will have a better idea of how to present this information to the people that matter. Look for efficiencies in your role, point out overtime and make a time to discuss how your work could be better delegated or streamlined. Maybe you could even make an argument for a new role within your department, or for you to outsource some of the more mundane tasks to free up your time. Make this one of your goals.
6: Feeling stuck
Do you feel that your career is going nowhere, fast? Even though this may be a depressing realisation, this notion can be used as a launching pad to something better. What would you be more suited to? Where do your frustrations lie? What do you like about your current role, if anything? It might sound simple but it’s often via the ‘bad’ job experiences that we learn to hone our true skills. If you feel that you are stuck where you are, use this as an opportunity to get somewhere else. Don’t expect miracles overnight; even though this might happen. Instead, plug away at a new career path, take on further study, and check out other job opportunities when you can; both internally and externally.
7: Lack of inspiration
Like other career challenges, lack of inspiration can be overcome; you can use this negative and turn it into a positive. None of us feel inspired every day, so don’t be too hard on yourself or your current situation if this is your reality. You can change your life and get ahead in your career by using lack of inspiration as a starting point. Spend some time focusing on the things that do inspire you. If it takes time to come up with a list, that’s no problem. What tasks do you really love and what do you love about them? Do you love playing sport on the weekends to unwind and relax; or do you appreciate the teamwork; or maybe you like managing others on the field – the answers will be different for everyone.
Once you work out two or three things that you really feel inspired by, find out ways that these can be incorporated into your current working life. Sometimes a lack of inspiration is just down to a lack of focus on what we really excel at. Spend some time reconnecting with your goals.
8: In the wrong job role entirely
One of the biggest challenges that some people might find that they come across in their careers is when they realise that they are in the wrong job role entirely. This is more common than you think. Often, we aim for job roles that look good on paper, are highly paid or are what we thought we wanted to do years ago.
CEO and business author, Louis Efron has said, “Life is simpler than we make it. You probably don’t need an assessment to tell you if you are good at your job. If you are honest with yourself, you should definitely know if it is time to move on.”
This could be seen as a great career challenge but also the biggest chance for career success down the line. “Pretending to be someone else while at work or at any time in your life will not make you happy,” the expert says. “If you find yourself victim to any of the signs, don’t quit your job today, but start looking for a new one that will make you happier tomorrow.”