When you’ve had the same title for what feels like years and it doesn’t look like you’re getting a new one anytime soon, it’s easy to feel stuck in a rut. You might start to worry that your skills are stagnating and you’re going to fall behind.
But I’m here to tell you that just because your title hasn’t changed doesn’t mean you’re not improving. Yes, your boss should be acknowledging when you’ve grown (and if you haven’t gotten a raise or promotion in a while it’s worth evaluating why), but it may not always come in the form of a promotion or raise.
That’s why I’ve put together five signs you’ve definitely increased your skill set—without even realizing it:
1. You’re Getting More Positive Feedback (and Less Constructive Criticism) on Hard Assignments
Probably an obvious statement, but it’s also something you tend to overlook in the hustle and bustle of your day-to-day.
Notice how your feedback has changed over time. Maybe when you first started, you were constantly critiqued on your work and used to go through several revisions before getting it right.
Now you’re making your way through these same kinds of assignments with ease—and while your work isn’t always perfect, your manager’s clearly giving you more praise than they did when you started.
2. You’re Working Faster (and Smarter)
Not only are you receiving less constructive criticism, but you’ve also found that you can complete projects in half the time. You’re no longer flipping between your company handbook and that spreadsheet, or asking your colleague tons of questions before sending that email, or losing all your afternoon to writing one report (in fact, you can now crank out multiple in that time!).
Sure, speed isn’t everything (and sometimes it can work against you). But the sheer fact that you can work fast if you need to says wonders.
3. You’re More Confident Overall
A while ago you couldn’t bring yourself to raise your hand in meetings, carry out a task without asking your boss if it looked OK, or do anything that wasn’t specifically asked of you. Today, you’re a self-assured, outspoken, and involved member of your team. You feel confident of your value and in the work you accomplish, and aren’t afraid to push yourself and try new things.
4. You’re Receiving New Assignments With Less Oversight
Not only are you confident in yourself, your boss is, too. You’re not just asking for your boss’ approval or weigh-in less—they’re letting you move forward without it. This means your manager trusts you. This is big.
5. You’re Completing Projects You Never Thought You’d Be Capable of Even Starting
Think back to six months ago, a year ago, when you first landed this role. Did you imagine you’d be doing the kinds of work you’re doing now? If so, did you feel ready?
Chances are the thought of tackling your current to-do list would’ve terrified past you. If you’d had to or attempted to do them, you certainly wouldn’t have felt confident in the outcome. And yet now here you are, getting it done and done well.
What does this all mean? Well, it’s probably time to ask your boss for more challenging work and to take on more responsibility. Use your next one-on-one (or, sit them down) to talk about what you’re currently doing and other projects you could take on.
Or, use that time to actually advocate for that promotion you’ve been eyeing. See, it’s possible while you see these improvements, your boss doesn’t. So, prove to them you’ve made serious strives and deserve some recognition—this worksheet can help you organize all your accomplishments so you go to your manager with concrete evidence.
Finally, relish in this moment! You’ve come a long way, and that’s something to be proud of.