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4 reasons why you should challenge yourself in your next role

By Jana Angeles

If you’re itching to switch jobs and want to find a new role that helps you re-engage with your current skillset and knowledge, it’s time to consider taking on a position that challenges you and takes you far away from your comfort zone. 

In a time where millennials are taking over the workforce, the coined term of “company loyalty” ceases to exist as more people are finding the appeal of switching jobs every few years to help build their credentials, while also helping them re-focus on projects that are interesting.

Author of The Ordinary Leader, Randy Grieser writes, “I have come to believe that for all of us, work in many ways is a classroom in which we should always be learning. Because of this understanding, I want our employees to constantly be able to increase their knowledge and skills, and to do work that encourages that.” 

It’s true that there are plenty of people out there who want meaningful work and are given a purpose when it comes to their tasks and responsibilities. It’s important to find ways to challenge ourselves because not only can it help us engage with our jobs, it provides us the momentum of keeping things interesting and fresh. 

SkillsTalk provide reasons why it’s worth challenging yourself in your next role, should you decide to switch jobs.

Why should you challenge yourself in your next role?

  1. It promotes career growth.
  2. You get to network with new people.
  3. Allows you to engage in new tasks and responsibilities.
  4. It opens up an opportunity for ongoing learning. 

1. It promotes career growth.

plant growing in soil

Challenging yourself can be a great way to promote career growth. We’re all on different career trajectories but moving up the career ladder comes with taking risks and owning tasks and responsibilities that are outside your core role. It takes confidence and skill to be able to set some career goals and reach them, so in order to progress, we must be willing to take on the challenges that come with the job. 

As mentioned in Glassdoor’s article, 8 Habits of Employees That Get Promoted, one of the best ways to get recognised by an employer is to keep learning and take initiative.

Jessica Thiefels writes, “Show your boss that you’re committed to continuously improving and developing your skills by finding learning opportunities, both within the office and outside of it.”

Learning opportunities such as studying a course can help expand your knowledge and current skillset, which can encourage you to pursue a role in the future that challenges you to be an even better professional. 

2. You get to network with new people.

Networking with other people can put your best foot forward when it comes to building a successful career. By putting yourself out there and making meaningful professional connections, it challenges you to improve your communication skills and collaborate with others

Recruitment agency Michael Page writes, “Being visible and getting noticed is a benefit of networking that’s essential in career building. Regularly attending professional and social events will help to get your face known.”

As stated above, networking with other people can set yourself up well when it comes to your professional life. Not only will you get to meet others from all walks of life, it also gives you a chance to learn from other people’s knowledge and expertise.

This can take those who identify as introverts outside of their comfort zones when it comes to meeting new people, which can help improve the way they connect and collaborate with others in a professional setting.

By undertaking a role that helps you to “come out of your shell” can be beneficial because it provides you with the challenge of starting from square one, engaging with new personalities and an unfamiliar working environment.

3. Allows you to engage in new tasks and responsibilities.

teamwork concept

Out with the old, in with the new - that’s what happens when taking on a new role. It’s exciting to change jobs because you get to start fresh and look forward to the many learning curves and rewarding opportunities ahead.

Perhaps taking on new tasks and responsibilities gets you excited, knowing that you get to challenge yourself mentally by working on something that is unfamiliar.

If you’re in the process of looking for a new job but want to keep things in your current position interesting, simply ask your boss if they or other teams need a helping hand.

By diversifying your skills and learning different processes, it can help you immensely when it comes to dealing with new challenges and change at the workplace. 

Alex Cavoulacos from The Muse writes, “Think about what skills or knowledge you want to develop, and see if there's an opportunity that'll let you do just that. If possible, have a few concrete ideas in mind so you can suggest areas where you may be able to get more involved.”

Having a conversation with your boss about taking on more can be equal parts productive and insightful. It also shows that you have positive qualities in yourself that make you a great team player, since you’re already taking the initiative in helping others when it comes to their workload. 

4. It opens up an opportunity for ongoing learning. 

One of the key benefits of taking on new challenges is that you get to experience something that takes you to different horizons. When you’re in a job for almost 5 years, you may have exhausted all learning opportunities and feel that you’re ready to start the next chapter of your work life. 

In some instances, you’ve probably experienced symptoms of burnout or realise you’re in a toxic work environment.

Taking up a new job opportunity means you open yourself up to ongoing learning and making yourself available for further training and study options.

When you’re in a new position, you become aware of the many possibilities you can grow as a professional and you get exposed to different perspectives in both your work environment and colleagues. 

When thinking about your ideal future job role, it’s important to think about your career progression and how it can evolve. So it’s wise to ask yourself the following questions when choosing a job opportunity:
  • Where do I see myself in the next few years?
  • What learning opportunities are available at this company?
  • Can I see myself getting promoted after my annual performance review?
It can be tough to figure out what to do next, especially when you get too comfortable in a job but it’s important to keep your options open when it comes to your potential career prospects.

How do I tell my boss I want to be challenged?

If you intend to stay at the same company but want your role to change, it's important to have a conversation with your boss on how you can make this happen. Perhaps you've plateaued in your current role and getting bored of the same old tasks and need to gain a new perspective when it comes to your career. Here are the steps to take when talking to your boss about needing to feel challenged at work:
  • Evaluate what you do on a daily basis: This will give you a chance to look over your current responsibilities and assess what tasks you need to delegate to someone else or feel like it's not relevant anymore.
  • Think about what you want in your role: Are you looking to pursue a promotion at work? Think about the pathway you're currently on and consider challenging yourself in other ways that can help improve your professional life. Perhaps you can upskill with a short course or a nationally-recognised qualification. No matter what you decide, it's important to look at ways you can put your best foot forward at work.
  • Have an open and honest conversation: Being upfront with your boss about not feeling challenged can help improve your situation. If they have your best interests at heart, they will work together with you to come up with a plan on how they can delegate responsibilities that are not only challenging but ones that are equally fullfilling and engaging! 

Upgrade your skillset with Upskilled

If you’re looking to change jobs but want to best prepare yourself for the new challenges ahead, consider studying a course with Upskilled. With a range of qualifications across some of Australia’s in-demand industries, you can enjoy the flexibility of online learning and be on your way to getting a nationally recognised qualification. Contact Upskilled and enquire about a course today. 

Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2020. Content has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 
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