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For those dissastifed with work, it's time to be proactive.
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updated 4/29/2012 12:58:15 PM ET 2012-04-29T16:58:15

If the U.S. economy is going to rebound, people need to become more satisfied with their work.

Based on a job satisfaction survey conducted by Glassroom.com, 40 percent of employees are satisfied at work, while 27 percent say their jobs are “OK” and 33 percent are dissatisfied at work. If you don’t like what you do, how can your productivity and performance at work increase? How can organizations grow and compete when their employees lack competitive hunger?

As much as an organization is responsible to provide their employees the leadership, workplace culture and tools to thrive, the employee is equally as accountable to find satisfaction in their careers.

In today’s economy, you can’t predict the future based on the past. However, one thing is certain: you must find your own career satisfaction and success. Today you must continuously focus on creating opportunities for advancement. You must invest in yourself more than ever so that you can discover the talents that you enjoy using most and how to best apply them in your work.

Most employers claim to invest in their people, but do so with their best interest always in mind. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you; they just care more about themselves. This harsh reality requires you, as an individual, to reset your thinking so that you do not fall into the trap that most people fall into: staying stuck in their careers.

Here are five reasons people stay stuck in their careers and what you must avoid to find satisfaction and success in yours:

Stuck factor No. 1: Avoid confronting change

Get out of your comfort zone and open your eyes to the most obvious opportunities in front of you. Pay close attention to those that advance in their careers — they take chances, embrace risk and are not hesitant about putting ideas into action.

Use change as a learning tool. The more you embrace change, the more comfortable you become with uncertainty and risk. Learning to manage change and grow with it helps you open your eyes to approaching renewal and reinvention as a necessity in your career that helps you achieve a distinct competitive advantage.

Stuck factor No. 2: Resist growth and maturity

Do you know someone who has had the same type of job for more than 10 years? While some people love their jobs, most of them have fallen victim to complacency. Therefore, they resist growth and maturity. These types of people stop learning new things and resist getting trained in new areas that can make them eligible for the next promotion.

People get stuck when they lack the capabilities, skills and confidence to advance.

Just look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Have I worked smart enough to improve myself significantly over the past month?” Am I getting trained in skills and competencies that will advance me? If you answered “no” to these questions then you have a lot of work ahead of you and it begins with your attitude to welcome challenges and expand your horizons.

Think about those things that excite you most. Are you living them in your work every day? Make a commitment to stretch your thinking and stop procrastinating.

Stuck factor No. 3:Have trouble selling themselves

This hurdle is more common than you think. Some of the smartest people I know don’t know how to sell themselves. The next time you are in a meeting, carefully observe how others sell their ideas and recommendations. How do they engage your attention and your desire to learn more? Are they selling “noise” to get noticed or is their approach thought-provoking and well-thought-out? Can they be trusted?

If people knew how to sell themselves more effectively, new jobs would be created, more effective client relationships would be formed and innovation would be plentiful. Do you ever watch the television show "Shark Tank"? You see lots of great ideas presented, but poor salesmanship.

Companies are attracted to talent that sells itself. This means that you are effective at selling yourself as if it appears that you are not trying. Selling yourself is something that should happen naturally but requires you to understand yourself well enough to sound genuine and trustworthy.

Everyone has a story to tell and sell. Learn to tell your story well enough to sell it. What are the three most common threads that exist amongst the most prominent success stories in your career? Package them and sell the story you want your employers to buy.

Stuck factor No. 4:Associate themselves with the wrong people

This is the one thing that impacts people the most. Their inner circle of friends and associates add limited value to their career. Successful people are surrounded by others that want their success to continue. Success breeds success. If you associate yourself with ambitious people, it makes you want to be more ambitious.

Here’s a tip: When you think about the people who are part of and/or those whom you would like to be in your inner circle, ask yourself: Do I respect them enough to be my mentor?

Stuck factor No. 5:People don’t value time

Time flies when you’re having fun. Time slows considerably when things are difficult and not fun. This is the case for people that are stuck in their careers. Because they are not managing their time effectively and productively, they are wasting and not valuing their time.

Getting unstuck requires you to think about ways that make every hour count. Time is our most valuable asset yet people still don’t value it enough. If they did, ideas would come to life, dreams would become realities and careers would take flight. People complicate their careers because they would rather listen to what others think they should be doing with it, rather than using their time effectively to figure out the answers on their own.

Other people can suggest, but only you can define and search for your own career satisfaction.

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© 2012 Forbes.com

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