I am stuck in a run

Dear globalcounselor,

I am 43 years old and mother of two girls in their 20s. I am Customer Service Representative with a motor company. I have been working as a single parent to keep a roof over our heads and to put food on the table. Now that my children have moved out, I have a little more time on my hands and I want more. I want to achieve more and to move up the ladder in my work but I don’t know how. I am not good at speaking up for myself and I watch in dismay as people who have joined the company after me moving up and leaving me in the dust stirred up by their feet from running towards the top. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like them? Each day I go home from work feeling unrecognized even thought I work very hard for the company. Because I have been there the longest my boss calls me foundational, the rock and such things which makes me feel good but does not increase my salary.  How can I get out of this rut.

Stuck

Dear Stuck,

One way to get out of the rut is to climb out of it, one foot behind the other. This may sound like I am trying to be cute but I am serious. How can you do that? First of all decide what would get unstuck look like for you? Would a raise, a promotion or both make you feel better, finding a job in a different department within the company or venturing outside the company to find your grail? Once you know what that would look like develop a plan for getting it – be direct, ask your boss for a raise, take a course and then tell your boss you’re read for other responsibilities and why you think you will do good at it, tell your boss what your goals are for your career in the next five years and how he or she can help you accomplish that, then ask if you can count on their support.  Be sure to toot your own horn. Make sure someone in authority knows when you’ve accomplished something and what you are working on. Find a mentor you admire and ask for what you need, maybe you might have to splurge on a few dinners or breakfasts. It is a small price to pay for the support you get. One of our problems is that we fail to ask.   Let me know what steps you have taken to move out of the rut you’re stuck in.

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