Stuck in a rut at work?

4 Strategies to Give Your Career New Direction

You arrive at work and get your first cup of coffee. As it’s sitting on your desk, still steaming, you start daydreaming about your plans for the evening. Sound familiar? If so, you may be stuck in a rut at work. It’s an easy problem to ignore, after all it’s terribly cozy in the comfort zone, however you shouldn’t let yourself fall into this trap! Let go of the fear of change, discover new career prospects, and finally do what you love!

Career revamp

Sometimes you get to a point where you can’t advance in your career – that’s your signal to get out of the comfort zone.

Disinterest in the job does not happen overnight, nor can it be blamed on anyone but yourself. To get to the point where you feel stuck in a rut, two basic conditions must have been met: (1) your own inactivity, which primarily results from the pursuit of security, and (2) the conscious ignoring of reality. How do you break out of this cycle? With honesty, openness and courage. Don’t be afraid, be honest with yourself and about what you want and make a plan of action to go out and get it.

Cracks in the comfort zone

Your job is a good fit? Your company also? Great! Then you should probably continue in your current position. If, however, you feel the façade of your once perfect job slipping be honest with yourself. The power of habit can easily take possession and daily routines you once enjoyed and found meaningful can turn into humdrum boring tasks. If you continue on this way you can run the risk of losing promotion potential. In other words, you should always be on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities for growth – if you get too deep in the comfort zone you could be missing out on these potential opportunities.

Something missing?

Do you recognize any of the 5 possible signs of being stuck in a rut? Ask yourself openly and honestly. What applies to you:

  • Do you only work on the same tasks?
  • Is there no foreseeable increase in responsibility in your position?
  • Do you doubt the content of your work?
  • Are you ever envious when you learn about the professional successes of others?
  • Are you already longing for the evening early in the morning?

If you answered these questions with “yes” then it’s high time for a new start.

Break the cycle

So, you’ve realized it’s time for a change, but don’t know how to start? It’s no wonder, our habits and routines are strongly connected with the human need for security and stability. They are nothing negative in themselves, though they do provide the perfect breeding ground for falling into a rut. This, in turn, leads to frustration and self-doubt; to psychological and physical discomfort. The good news is you can break the cycle! You don’t have to work for another 10 years unhappily.

Moving forward in 4 steps

Career coach, Christine Gindert, advises to look at your own experiences confidently and recommends a four-step action guide. Of course, a career coach can also offer meaningful support and help.

  1. Analyze your situation
    You have realized that you need a change. This is the first step. Without this insight, you will not move forward. Go into a relentless analysis, don’t sugar-coat anything.
  2. Formulate new goals
    Be clear about the concrete goals you are looking to achieve in the future and the prospects you are looking for. Write down these goals and use this list as a checks & balances for the target achievement. Being honest with yourself here also opens up quite unconventional paths! Build a very positive target image.
  3. Act and think boldly
    Even if it is difficult for you – do not depend on perceived security in the old job. Get ready to think outside of the box and consciously take risks. Without the courage to take risks, your career will plummet faster than you would think.
  4. Leave everything behind you
    Especially the feelings of hopelessness and disinterest! A new job can work miracles here. In the search for new challenges, you should also pay close attention to the opportunities that are offered to you in the company. Stay alert, and above all do not fall into the old pattern of monotony.

About the author

Jörg Peter Urbach is the author, editor and blogger of Sprachleidenschaft. He has been writing for more than 25 years, for print and online. Concepts. Stories. Journal articles. After studying musicology and German language and literature, Jörg Peter worked as an editorial manager in the classical music business. As long-time chief editor of the portal, he knows how to inspire readers with clever topics.

If the native Kieler is not writing, he is walking through the Alps. Or listening to the opera. With mindfulness.

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