No one wants to feel like their skills are being underutilized or their potential is being wasted.
But it’s still a fairly prevalent issue. According to one survey, 35% of millennials with bachelor’s degrees said their first jobs out of school didn’t require a college degree.
Of course, having a college education doesn’t necessarily make a candidate more intelligent than people without degrees. Anyone can be too smart for their job, whether they’re overqualified or just stuck in the wrong role, field, or organisation.
Here are some signs that it’s probably time to move on to something more challenging soon:
1. You’re bored
Nonstop boredom is the biggest indicator that you’re too smart for your job, according to a LinkedIn Post from CEO and founder of Human Workplace, Liz Ryan. “If boredom overwhelms you such that you need sugar and caffeine to stay awake, you’re in the wrong spot,” Ryan explains.
“You might find yourself constantly taking on other tasks or helping on other projects out of sheer boredom or just to keep your mind stimulated,” he told Business Insider.
2. You don’t have to try hard
Tasks that don’t phase you at all always seem to stump everyone else in your office. Of course, it’s great to be adept and above-average in some areas, but if you’re consistently outperforming pretty much everyone all the time, it’s time to consider that you might be overqualified.
“It could be a sign that you’re too smart for your role if you’re finishing you assignments and taking on more,” says Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, and author of “Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad. “This is a great sign and grounds for a promotion if you are able to excel in your role and take on projects of higher value and responsibility.”
3. Your coworkers are stuck in place
If your coworkers can’t keep up when you explain a complex idea, or are opposed to reworking the way things have “always been done,” it might be a sign that they’re not intellectually challenging you. Even if they’re friendly and hard-working, it won’t better you to stay in a position that doesn’t push you. “You don’t improve your game by playing with people a level (or two or three) below your league,” Ryan says.
4. You’re not learning anything
Jobs should always function as learning opportunities, whether you’re miserable at the company or loving your work. If you find that there’s nothing else to learn from your role, it’s probably time to move up within the organisation or move on altogether.
According to Kerr, signs of lack of intellectual stimulation at work include feeling “increasingly bored, un-energised or demotivated by your current workload, to the point that you are often distracted or can’t focus to the point that your work is suffering.”
5. Your boss doesn’t have a vision
“You can’t grow your flame working for someone who has no idea what a vision is or where to get one,” Ryan says. Your boss should be someone you can learn from and bounce ideas off of. If they don’t have a plan for how to grow the department, or even further their own career, it’s a sign there’s not much they can offer you.
6. You clam up
“You have a tendency to not speak up during meetings because you’re concerned that people view you as the office know-it-all or that you’re always trying to be in the spotlight,” Kerr says.
7. You’re basically managing your bosses
“We all make mistakes, but if you find yourself consistently finding errors in your bosses’ work or opportunities to elevate their work, could be a sign that you’re too smart for your role,” Kahn says.
Kerr says that if you find yourself constantly looking at your boss and thinking “Wow, I could so do that job,” then you’re probably due for a promotion.
Emmie Martin contributed to a previous version of this article.
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