No matter how much you like your job initially, there may come a time when you feel uninspired or unhappy with your professional life. You may be bored and unchallenged, or simply be ready to try something new. Whether you’ve hit a small bump in the road or some major road work, feeling stuck at work is not the end of the world (or your career). With a little reflection, planning, and effort, you can get out of this rut and take your career to the next level.
Signs of a Rut
Some people may simply wake up one morning and realize that they’re in a rut. Others may be stuck for months without realizing it. Signs indicating that you’ve hit a rut include:
- You aren’t excited about things, and not just your work but other parts of your life too. It’s hard to feel inspired or passionate, even about things you enjoy.
- No matter how much you accomplish at work, you don’t feel as if you’re getting much done.
- You dream of a vacation or escaping your current life, but don’t feel motivated or able to actually make any changes.
- You often feel unwell, sick, stressed, or unenergized, both at work and at home.
- You feel like you have no purpose at your job or that you are constantly working toward nothing that matters.
In general, having constant negative feelings about your job is a good indicator that you may be stuck. Don’t let this state of life become your new normal. You don’t have to live this way. With some introspection, you can get to the root of and overcome this issue.
What’s the Problem?
First, identify the problem. Ask yourself a few questions if you are unsure of the source. Why are you feeling this way? What is causing you to feel stuck or unfulfilled? Is it the inability to move up in your current company? Personal problems unrelated to work? Are things at your current position stressful or unfulfilling? Do you still like your job? Are you in the wrong line of work altogether?
Consider the permanency of the issue. Will it go away or are you facing a lasting problem? Can you live with it? What can you do to fix it? Is it a simple matter of changing your own behavior or routine or are things beyond your control? Take some time to really reflect about what’s going on, your feelings, and how you think you should handle the situation.
Consider Your Options
Use that information to figure out what steps you want to take. While the solution may simply be talking to your boss or HR team about your situation, you may want do something more drastic. That could mean applying for a new internal position, looking for a new job elsewhere or changing industries entirely. Consider where your life currently is, where you want to see it go, and what you need to do to get there.
Take an extra day to really think about the course of action you want to take, especially if you’re considering a big change. Try to do this on a weekday, not a weekend, so you don’t get caught up with errands or plans. Do your best to stay focused on your future and make a decision about what you want to do.
Make a Game Plan
Once you’ve made a decision, figure out the steps you need to take to get there to take care of yourself and your future. Depending on what you plan to do, this may be easier said than done. Looking for a different job in the same industry will likely require you to find some new interview clothes and fix up your resume, but you likely have to go back to school if you’re thinking about a new career path. If you have to go back to school, figure out how to obtain financing for your education without relying on outside support. If you have to move to a new city, plan and research where you want to live. If you have to take a lower paying job to gain experience, account for that in your budgets. Remember that you are in control of your destiny!
After outlining the steps you need to take, don’t hesitate to go for it! Put your plans in motion. Leaving your current position can be intimidating, but stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to great things for your life and career. It will take time and hard work, but if you are truly committed to making a change, it’s well worth the effort. Not only will getting out of a rut advance your career, it will help you find joy in your daily life once again.
Madison Ann Baker is a writer, Netflix-binger, and pop culture enthusiast who lives in Idaho. Literature and linguistics are her two passions, both of which she studied in college. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her Borador, Dash, and re-reading Harry Potter. You can follow her on Twitter @mabakerwrites and check out her work on https://mabakerwrites.contently.com/