Common Red Flags That Indicate You’re Working In A Dead-End Job With No Future

job red flags

Let’s get real: if you’re reading this, you have a niggling feeling that something’s wrong with your current job. Maybe it’s fine for now, but you’re starting to wonder what’s next.

It’s difficult to pinpoint where the feeling comes from, though, and then what to do with it from there. Is it because you’re working in a “dead-end job”, or are there a myriad of factors that are clouding your judgement, from interpersonal clashes to personal issues?

With that in mind, here are five signs you might be working a job with no potential for growth — inspired by Monash Online, where courses are taught by leaders who are changing their industries for the better with clear visions for the future, from psychology to education and business.

Take Dr Zahra Aziz for example, Lecturer and Deputy Course Convener of Monash Online’s Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced). Dr Aziz is working to address the 17-year gap between research and implementation, helping the research to reach the people who need it. Teaching online real-world projects to students that give them an opportunity to make a difference and contribute to important research.

1. Talk of a career plan is ignored or not acted on

Has your supervisor or boss ever asked about your long-term career plan, and then enacted steps to make sure you were on the right path? Does your workplace have a mentorship program you can get involved in? Have you ever asked for or been promised professional development or skill-building that never arrived?

If the answer to any or all of these is no, it’s a telling sign that your current job has little interest in helping you advance your career within or outside their business, and is likely to keep you where you are. Chatting to a Monash Online consultant could help illuminate that path forward.

2. You could do your job in your sleep – and have been able to for a while

While feeling confident and capable in your job is far from a negative thing, if you haven’t found any parts of it challenging in the past six months, it’s likely that you’re professionally stagnating.

If you aren’t receiving new duties or taking on new tasks, take a step back and consider why. Are you just coasting by maintaining the status quo? Or if opportunities for new challenges simply aren’t available, you’re ready for a new role — and if there’s no room for a promotion or more senior position, consider what a lateral move or complete career change could look like.

A dramatic shift or resignation may provide immediate satisfaction (and makes for a good story), but being pragmatic about how to create that change will give you a sense of structure and growth, say by studying online as you continue to work in the interim. Monash Online has designed its classes specifically for online learning, meaning you’re getting world-class teaching that fits around your work.

3. When comparing your emails from a year ago to now, they are indistinguishable

If your correspondence follows the same cadence and formula as email chains from a year ago, it’s an obvious sign that your job hasn’t evolved. Maybe the subject matter is slightly different, but if you could swap out a couple of words and resend an email from a year ago with no one blinking an eye, you are likely on autopilot. Worse yet, your job requires you to be on autopilot, rather than provide innovation.

4. Struggling to add anything to your resumé

Whether or not you’re looking for a new job, try updating your resumé or LinkedIn (yes, important people actually look at it) with any new skills or notable achievements from the past six months to a year. If none come to mind beyond “I competently did my job and achieved all goals”, you have demonstrable proof you’re not growing in your role.

5. You barely think of work outside of work

While it’s important to have a work-life balance, it’s a sure sign that you aren’t overly invested or interested in your job if it rarely pops up in your life or conversations. Our jobs don’t define us, but they are a big part of our lives: if you aren’t excited by what you do or believe it’s important, you have to question your purpose.

Perhaps this is because your job isn’t considering its wider role in the world: as per a 2021 study on Sustainable Development Goals by Australia’s top 150 companies cited by Monash Online, 42% of organisations don’t prioritise social impact. But a new guard of businesses are centring social change within their structure, led by Caroline Sanz, Deputy Director of Entrepreneurship and a Senior Lecturer (Practice) at Monash Online. Building upon her own experiences working across Australian businesses, HR and foundations like Beyond Blue, she’s teaching students how they can make their work matter.