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Throughout our careers, many of us encounter career blockers–individuals who hold authority, power, or influence and impede our progress toward our goals. It can be frustrating and demoralising, especially when our efforts and achievements go unrecognised. While this is a common challenge faced by professionals, it’s important to remember that we can still take back our power and navigate these obstacles. In this reflective blog post, I’ll explore strategies to overcome career blockers and regain control of our professional journeys.

Choosing Battles Wisely

When facing career blockers, it’s essential to choose your battles wisely. Engaging in every conflict can lead to stress and burnout. Start by identifying what’s most important to you–upward mobility, skill development, or fair recognition. By focusing on your priorities, you can determine who is blocking your path and devise effective strategies to overcome those obstacles.

 Open and Honest Communication

Initiating a candid conversation with your direct supervisor is crucial in addressing career blockers. Schedule a private, one-on-one meeting to discuss your concerns. Give your manager a heads-up beforehand, indicating the purpose of the meeting. During the conversation, clearly articulate your growth aspirations and present evidence supporting your case. Highlight your impactful work, contributions to organisational goals, positive feedback, and milestones achieved. Encourage your manager to provide specific expectations, support, and ways to measure your progress.

Proactive Progress Tracking

Be sure to discuss your career progression before year-end reviews. Regularly meet with your supervisor to share your achievements, seek feedback, and align expectations. Maintain a record of these discussions by following up with an email, summarising the agreed-upon goals and action items. Additionally, track your successes, including measurable data that demonstrates how your work has contributed to the organisation’s objectives. A well-documented record will be crucial if you need to escalate the issue to Human Resources or higher leadership.

Seeking Guidance from Trusted Advisors

In addition to discussing the matter with your manager, seek support from trusted advisors, such as mentors, sponsors, or allies. These experienced professionals can offer objective perspectives, guide navigating challenges, and help identify blind spots. Engage in open conversations with them, sharing your experiences and seeking their insights. They can also advocate for you within the organisation, promoting your work and ensuring that decision-makers are aware of your capabilities.

Pro Tip: When selecting work mentors, it’s crucial to look for trusted advisors who possess relevant expertise, experience, and a genuine interest in your growth and development. Seek mentors who are approachable, supportive, and willing to provide constructive feedback. It’s also essential to ensure that their values align with yours and that they have a track record of success in their respective fields. Remember, a good mentor guides and inspires you and challenges you to reach your full potential.

Career blockers are an unfortunate reality in many professional journeys, but we have the power to reclaim control over our careers. We can navigate these obstacles by choosing our battles wisely, engaging in open and honest communication, tracking our progress proactively, and seeking guidance from trusted advisors. Remember, your career is ultimately in your hands, and with determination and strategic actions, you can overcome career blockers and achieve the success you deserve.


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