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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

4 Signs You're Too Comfortable in Your Job

Being comfortable is usually a good thing.

At the beginning of a new job, that’s what you aspire to. You can’t wait to push past the awkwardness of getting to know new colleagues, the stress of not knowing what you’re doing, and the pressure to prove yourself. You just want to be able to relax.

But there’s a point at which being comfortable in your job can be a bad thing and work against you in your career growth. Honestly, you should always strive to feel a little uncomfortable in your job—because that means you’re learning, growing, pushing yourself, and working toward something bigger.

Here are a few signs you may be resting on your laurels at work—and what it can mean for your future.

1. “That’s Not Possible” Becomes Your Immediate Response

Remember when you were new to the job and eager to impress? You didn’t want to let anyone down, so no matter what was asked of you, you found a way to make it happen.

But when you get too used to the ways things are, that way of thinking can change. Instead, you start sticking to the status quo instead of challenging it. If someone asks you to do something that seems difficult or outside of your normal responsibilities, your response is no longer, “I’ll find a way to make that happen,” but rather, “Sorry, that’s not possible.”

The Danger Zone

When you don’t put visible effort into your actions or responses, you’ll eventually get caught. You’ll tell someone, “That’s not possible,” but inevitably, someone else will figure out how to get it done—and then you’ll look lazy. And if you keep it up, you’ll develop a reputation for being unreliable.

2. You Stop Pushing Back

When you’re hungry for success, you’re more eager to make your voice heard. That means when someone suggests an idea, you’re much more likely to share your opinion about whether it will work or not and what you think would make it work even better. You want to push your team—and yourself—to be the best you can possibly be.

But once you’re comfortable in your position, that becomes less of a priority. Instead of pushing back against ideas you don’t agree with or think will work, you start agreeing with whatever is suggested first. The less resistance you offer, the quicker the meeting can be adjourned and you can go home.

The Danger Zone

If you aren’t pushing back, there’s a good chance you’re becoming OK with mediocre work, and that’s bad news for your career. You should be excited to help your boss and team develop the best ideas possible—ideas that are going to work and deliver results.

At some point, especially if you started as a vocal go-getter, your boss is going to notice your lack of enthusiasm—and could assume that you’re not interested moving up (or being part of the team at all).

3. You Aren’t Interested in New Opportunities

When you know what you’re doing, you’re good at it, and you don’t have any intention of leaving that job any time soon, you start letting the idea of new opportunities pass you by.

You quit networking, stop updating your resume, and start neglecting your LinkedIn profile—and you certainly don’t set virtual foot on any job search boards. It just doesn’t seem worth your time when you’re perfectly content in your current job.

The Danger Zone

You may not think you want a new job right now, but by shutting yourself off from your contacts, you could easily miss out on new opportunities—for a new job, a way to collaborate with another company or department, or an introduction to another contact who could boost your career.

Plus, by staying job-search ready with an up-to-date resume, online presence, and network of contacts, if something unexpected were to happen to your current job, you’d be in a good place to quickly line up something new.

4. You’re OK With the Bare Minimum

You show up to the office at 9 AM, take your lunch break from 12 PM to 1 PM (OK, maybe a little longer on Fridays), and you’re out the door at 5 PM sharp. Your daily routine is like clockwork.

You have your job and day-to-day routine down to a science, so why stick around any longer than you’re expected to?

The Danger Zone

It’s not about working long hours or refusing to take a lunch break; we all want a healthy work-life balance. But such a firm routine hints that you may not be feeling any pressure in your job, let alone excitement about projects that push you past watching the clock—which could mean you’re not being challenged.

Instead, you should be constantly looking for ways to take on new responsibilities or projects that will help you develop new skills. By doing that, you’ll put yourself in a position in which others (namely, your boss) can clearly see your work ethic and potential for advancement.

Photo of woman at desk courtesy of Shutterstock.

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