Brick Walls & Glass Ceilings Part I: Six Career Roadblocks

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: January 17, 2012

Workplace challenges are inevitable. But most challenges we undertake go hand-in-hand with obstacles that interfere with—and sometimes even prevent—our progress.

Think of your career as a road complete with twists and turns, bumps and potholes, speed bumps and detours. You can reach your destination. The key lies in recognizing specific barriers, and using time-tested strategies to knock them down.

Part I of this article will show you how to recognize six common roadblocks that people face in the workplace. Part II will show you how to move beyond them.

Roadblock #1: All talk, no action.

Your issue is not lack of goals and vision. But instead of taking action you spend all your time thinking about how great your life will be once you realize your goal.

Recognizing Roadblock #1: 
You’ll know if this roadblock is impeding your success if you say or think things like:

  • I “wish” I could get a promotion.
  • I’ll get around to this later.
  • I’ll do this when I have more time, money, knowledge, etc.

Roadblock #2: Hanging with the wrong crowd

Instead of helping you move forward, the people in your life--family members, friends, co-workers--contribute to your inertia and lack of momentum.

Recognizing Roadblock #2: 
You’ll know this roadblock is impeding your success if the people in your life:

  • Tell you your plans and ideas are “crazy” or “too risky.”
  • Point out every flaw in your plan.
  • Don’t congratulate you for your successes, but instead find ways to criticize.

Roadblock #3: Getting knocked down . . . and staying down

Every time you challenge yourself, you find that you get knocked down a time or two. Getting knocked down isn’t a problem . . . but staying down is.

Recognizing Roadblock #3: 
You’ll know this roadblock is impeding your success if you:

  • Frequently give up when you encounter the slightest problem or issue.
  • Have trouble seeing anything to fruition.
  • Avoid trying things you have failed at before.

Roadblock #4: Staying in your comfort zone

There's nothing you would love more than that new promotion, but it will challenge you, stretch you, and take you out of your comfort zone. So you stay put.

Recognizing Roadblock #4: 
You'll know this roadblock is impeding your success if you say or think things like: 

  • I do a good job where I am.
  • My current position fits me like a pair of old, comfortable shoes.
  • There's really no reason for me to make changes.

Roadblock #5: Playing the blame game

Sure you haven’t reached your goals. But it’s not your fault. You blame your inability to reach your goals on anyone—and anything—other than yourself.

Recognizing Roadblock #5: 
You’ll know this roadblock is impeding your success if you say or think things like:

  • I’m not promoted because there’s a glass ceiling.
  • I don’t have enough time or money to attempt or reach that goal.
  • There are people who sabotage my success.

Roadblock #6: Lacking confidence

When you don’t believe in yourself you limit your options, your behavior—and ultimately, your life.

Recognizing Roadblock #6: 
You’ll know this roadblock is impeding your success if you say or think things like:

  • The last time I tried something like this I failed.
  • I don’t have the skill or knowledge to do this.
  • I can’t picture myself doing this.

If these roadblocks look familiar, that’s okay. Hitting barriers is a normal part of moving forward. Be sure to read Part II of this article, which will give you specific strategies to knock down the barriers and roadblocks that might be getting in the way of your success.

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