It’s only Sunday afternoon and you’re already starting to get the Sunday Scaries because in about 12 hours you’ll have to return to work. It’s only Monday afternoon and the day has gone by so slowly that it feels like you’ve already worked a full week. Sound familiar?
Work routines can feel repetitive and demotivating at times, everyone has felt this way at some point in their careers. But when the feeling of stagnation becomes persistent and the frustration with your job starts to seriously undermine the quality of your work, it’s time to make a change.
Getting out of a career rut is certainly daunting, but following these tips may make it easier.
1. Identify the causes: Once you’ve established you’re in a career rut, the first thing to do is to identify the causes of your dissatisfaction. Doing this will help you understand whether you need a radical change of job/field, or maybe just “revamping” your role within your current company will do the trick. Compiling lists of “wants” and “needs” will also guide you in understanding what type of change you should aim at. For instance, if your basic needs aren’t met in your current position, perhaps you should consider a more radical change, whereas if your list is heavier on “wants,” you may first seek new challenges in your current workplace.
2. Assess skills and options: Being aware of what your skills and strengths are, and of what you have to offer professionally is key to figuring out what options will be right for you. You should seek positions that will make you shine and put your skills to good use. If you decide to embark on a completely new adventure which may require acquiring new skills or refining those you already possess, having a clear picture of your skillset is necessary to select options, prepare for the transition, and succeed in the new position.
3. Wipe away obstacles and qualms: By identifying and listing factors preventing you from getting out of the rut, be them objective obstacles or personal qualms, you can more clearly assess their actual size and weight and examine if/how you can overcome them. Your mind tends to raise constant objections against leaving the safety of the rut, but you must fight against it: individuating these blocking factors will make you examine them more objectively and eventually overcome them.
4. Figure out a game-plan: When you’ve understood the direction to take, set realistic goals along with manageable steps to reach them. Pace yourself and don’t take excessive risk. Changing or rekindling careers takes time: don’t be impulsive. If you identify potential knowledge gaps between what you’re doing now and what you want to do, start filling them before making any drastic change. Also, plan ahead financially. Be sure you’re living within your means: if you’re in debt, changing careers is harder and scarier, and it may even be too risky. Lastly, try to connect with people who had a similar career change: their advice will further guide you in step and goal setting.
As cliche as it may sound, when it’s time to make a change, don’t wait for it to come to you. Plan changes and make them happen. Only you can break the cycle and give new life to your career
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