When people start a career or get a job, the goal is usually to make progress in your career. However, many people find it hard to attain this goal because they are doing things wrong.

So, if you’re asking, “Why am I not progressing in my career?” “Why am I not doing well in my career?” This article highlights why you are not making progress in your career so you can fix the situation.


8 Reasons You Are Not Making Progress in Your Career

1. No or Wrong Personal Goals

You may be tired of hearing this because it is cliché, but since it applies, I will reiterate: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Many people don’t make progress in their careers because they have no goals. Most people see their jobs as a means of survival, not necessarily a life purpose.

While your job should definitely provide you with money, it should be more than that. Only when you see it as a life purpose can you set the right goals and plan to actualise them.

For example, if you are a teacher, it shouldn’t be enough to go to work every weekday and get paid at the end of the month; you should also consider how to grow in that position.

For instance, do you want to be the minister of education someday or be in the ministry making policies? Is it your goal to set up your own school to right the wrongs in the education system? There has to be something you are working towards.

On the other hand, your issue could be that you have a goal but are setting wrong or unrealistic goals. Using a teacher as our example, wanting to be a principal after two years of teaching is unrealistic.

I am all for the impossible happening and don’t doubt it can, but it will do you more good to set more realistic goals than to chase shadows. If the impossible happens by the side, then all is well and good. That’s better than being stuck expecting miracles, and they never happen.

So, instead, set short and long-term goals. As a newly employed teacher, you can set a short-term goal to be a teacher of the year, then a long-term goal to be the head of the department, and then the principal.

You can also set weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals and then long-term goals, as needed.

Of course, this does not only apply to teachers; consider your career path and how it works in your industry.

You must know how promotion works in your organisation or industry to do this. How many years has it taken the people before you? That would give you an idea of what to expect.

Once you have your goal, write it down and bring out your notes occasionally to look at them for encouragement when faced with challenges. Then, work towards it. Your goal will end up as wishful thinking if you don’t do the work, so be ready to put in the work.

2. Fear/Self-Doubt

Someone said something that I believe to be true. He said you find many talented people stuck at the bottom of society because they are too afraid to try.

Fear and self-doubt are your biggest enemies when it comes to making progress in your career and life. They cripple you and keep you from trying, convincing you that you are a fraud and can do nothing right.

The first thing you need to know is that this is not uncommon. Some of the most successful people still battle self-doubt, but the difference is that they don’t let it win.

When those discouraging voices come, counter them by reminding them of all your skills, experience, and hard work that you put in to get where you are and that make you qualified to seek what you are seeking.

3. Lack of Discipline

Being successful at any venture requires discipline. No matter how talented you are, you might as well close up shop if you are not disciplined.

Discipline will make you keep grinding when faced with distractions and challenges.

No lazy and indisciplined person can get anything worthwhile. If they do by some form of sheer luck, they’d soon ruin it. You need discipline and hard work to get to the top and to stay there.

You must be committed to whatever you are doing and work hard even when challenges come. That’s how you get where you want to be.

Reasons You Are Not Making Progress in Your Career

4. Lack of Passion

Many people don’t do well at their jobs because they lack passion. This can be caused by different things. It could be that they are in the wrong career or that they are no longer feeling challenged.

The latter is a perfect reason to change jobs. If you are bored at work, you won’t put in your best. Challenges make us exert ourselves and do far more than we thought we could.

However, if the issue is the former, you need some introspection. You need to return to the drawing board to discover what you would love to do and start planning to move.

Of course, you should be realistic when choosing a career path. There must be a balance between what interests you and what’s lucrative.

You should also ensure you have an emergency fund or some savings before moving, and you should already be setting things in motion.

For instance, if you want to change careers and don’t have the necessary skills yet, before quitting your present job, start gathering the skills you need through an online course or getting a mentor.

Then, when you are confident you have the required skills to excel at the job, you can make a move. Moving won’t be wise when you have nothing to fall back on.

Also Read: Common Financial Mistakes to Avoid for a Wholesome Life

5. Lack of Self-Development

In this fast-paced world, it is practically impossible to make any headway when you’re not constantly learning and growing, especially when you work in a digital field.

But even if you don’t, constantly develop yourself by learning something. Make sure you learn something new at least quarterly every year.

Take a new course, read a book, or watch a video to learn something about your field, keep up with the latest trends in your industry, or learn something about life.

Also Read: How to Cultivate a Reading Habit

6. Impatience

You may also struggle to progress at work because you are impatient. You don’t let things run their course because you’re always looking for shortcuts.

Don’t be deceived by scams online that promise thousands of dollars in a month. Nothing good comes easily.

If you want success, you must be ready to work hard for years before reaping the rewards. If not, you will keep jumping on anything in vogue because you think that is the next short route to success.

Keep learning, keep working hard, and be patient. It’s only a matter of time before you get results.

7. No Rest

This might seem counterproductive for workaholics and self-acclaimed hard workers, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. If you don’t take much-needed breaks, you will soon break down.

You are not a machine; even machines wear out from constant use. So, you need rest. 

Take rest in between tasks because your body needs it. Your brain also needs it; if you are overwhelmed and stressed, you are unlikely to get fresh, groundbreaking ideas and make sound judgments. Plus, it will ultimately reduce productivity and even affect your health.

8. Wrong Job

If you’re in the wrong environment, there’s hardly anything you do that will make a difference. So, if you are in an organisation where you are not being challenged, there’s so much pulling-down culture, and there’s no prospect, you need to find your way out.

Get a better job where your skills are recognised and appreciated, the work environment is positive, and you can see yourself growing.


Work is a big part of our lives. If you are not making progress in your career, it can affect every area of your life, including your health.

Thankfully, we don’t have to be stuck in the quagmire; we can do something about it. This article provides the answer if you are asking, “Why am I not growing in my career?” By applying what you’ve learnt in this post to your work life, you are sure to see changes in your career.