That feeling of being in a career rut sucks. Let’s not sugar coat it. Not feeling motivated at work, or like you’re not making progress in your career, can really drag you down on a day-to-day basis — but there’s a big difference between hating your job and being in a career rut. Here are the signs:
1. Do you need a challenge? You could do your job in your sleep and do it well. Your manager is thrilled with your performance and every day is smooth sailing. Sounds like a dream right? Yes and no. Being good at your job is obviously a positive thing, but being too comfortable with your career is a sign of a rut. For your career to evolve, you need to evolve too. Take an online course that will help you develop a new skill, or ask your manager if you can assist another team in your downtime, or even propose a new project to work on. You might have to make yourself uncomfortable if you want to get out of a boring career rut.
2. Do you need respect? There are very few things more frustrating than being disrespected at work. If you aren’t feeling heard or like your contributions matter at the office, you may feel like your career is stalling. If you frequently find yourself cut off in meetings, ignored in email chains, or that your seniority is not being respected by your colleagues, then it is time to make a change — whether that’s having a frank talk about how you’re treated at work with certain colleagues or by looking for a new job.
3. Do you need a promotion? It’s normal to feel stuck at work if another positive annual review comes and goes with no offer of a raise or new title. Well guess what? You don’t need to wait until that next review rolls around to ask for a raise. Gather the evidence to support your claim that you’re ready to move up in the company. Round up all evidence of how awesome you are and any data that proves you’re successful in your role. Then schedule a private time to speak with your manager and make the big ask.
4. Do you need a change? If you’ve found yourself in the wrong industry or role, it’s never too late to change that. Take a good, hard look at what you love and hate about your current role and industry, then start researching the industries and roles you find interesting. Do the opportunities that you see line up with what you love about your job? Is there a way for you to transfer your skills to a new company?
5. Do you need a break? Dreading the alarm going off in the morning? That third cup of coffee just not cutting it anymore? At the end of the day, you may be feeling burnout because you are simply burnt out. It’s time to take a break! Start small with making sure you actually take a lunch break every day, or plan that dream vacation. If you really need a refresh, consider taking time off work to learn a new skill. If you’re still not excited about your job and career after giving yourself a break, it’s time to make a change.
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