Bonnie Siegler | Dear Bonnie

Mediocre in Mumbai

Dear Bonnie,

I’ve been at my current job for the last six years. I’ve gotten to a comfortable place within my company and make a good salary. The thing is, I’m worried that I’m a bit average. I fear that if I don’t take active steps to improve myself, I’ll just hover around this kind of middle zone forever. How can I go about getting better and earning more? I have a degree in my field and work for a well-respected company, so I’m not sure what I can do to get to the next level.

Mediocre in Mumbai

Dear M.,

You are not alone. And because of that, this is a problem that has lots of possible solutions.

One huge, life-changing decision you could make right now is to go to graduate school. Think about which aspect of your job you most enjoy or which project has given you the most satisfaction. What made you feel like you weren’t working at all? It may be a more niche aspect of your current career or a tangential one. It doesn’t matter, as long as you love it. Once you’ve zeroed in on what excites you about your field, begin exploring programs that could work for you. Just going through this exercise will teach you a lot about what’s outside your office door.

A smaller step would be to go through that same exercise, and simply take a related evening class at a local school. A little eye-opening can go a really long way. It may even give you a new appreciation for your current job or introduce you to an interesting new process that will make your work better.

Another huge, life-changing decision would be to find a new job! Maybe you’re simply approaching the seven-year itch and it’s time to move on. Every new situation introduces lots of new challenges, which is a great way to see what you’re really capable of. And I’m sure that a potential employer would enjoy meeting someone who wants to be challenged and get better at their job.

Lastly—and this is probably the most annoying, maternal advice I have ever given—try getting involved with peers in your community. You can find out how other people deal with similar feelings and maybe learn about new opportunities at the same time. I’m a big proponent of professional design organizations, and in Mumbai you could join—if you haven’t already—the Association of Designers in India, or any other groups you may know. Organizations like this exist to teach, inspire, and help build communities.

And they will prove that you are not alone.

We want to hear from you! Send your questions for Bonnie to [email protected]   

Jobs | April 18