Many people find themselves in a job they don’t love, but when it gets to the point of spending Sunday nights dreading going to work on Monday morning, there’s a problem. It may be that you’re not looking forward to work because you feel stuck where you are. If you’re feeling frustrated with lack of career progression, then it doesn’t have to be that way.
Why you might feel frustrated with lack of career progression
People get stuck in a rut for many reasons. Here are just some of the reasons why you might feel stuck in your job:
- You may be afraid to leave a job that’s familiar for something new.
- You might be comfortable with what you do.
- You need to retrain because your skills and training are out of date.
- You aren’t sure of your value or of the value of your skills and talents.
- You don’t know how to get a promotion.
- You don’t know where you want your career to go.
- You’re convinced that you need to keep proving yourself to earn a promotion.
- You’ve decided that you should wait and see if anything changes for the better.
If you’ve ever felt the Monday morning blues and spent the rest of the week wondering what you’re doing and why, you aren’t alone. And it is possible to change your circumstances, get out of your rut, and stop feeling frustrated with lack of career progression.
How to get unstuck
If you’re feeling stuck and you’d like to make a change, take a look at the list below for some ideas. You might need to work through all of these, or simply pick and choose the ones that suit you. Either way, there’s no need to stay frustrated with lack of career progression.
1) Admit that you have a problem
This is the first step in getting yourself unstuck. If you keep ignoring how you feel and carrying on regardless, you’ll never move forward.
Admit that there’s something wrong and allow yourself to realize that you need to do something about it. It’s not easy but let yourself sit with the feelings that come up and acknowledge that you need to take action. Try journaling to get your thoughts down and get clear on what the problem is.
Without this step, it’s difficult to look at how you can make progress in your career.
2) What do you really want?
Again, you’ll probably want to get a journal or notebook out here and brainstorm about what you really want in your life. Think about what your ideal job would be and whether you could have that in your current company. Write down what you like about your current job and what you don’t.
Look at your skills and talents. Make a list of things that you are good at and enjoy. There’s no point in deciding to move from one employer to another, only to end up in another job that you dislike.
Think about where you want to be in five years’ time, or ten. Do you want to be promoted where you are, or do you want to leave your current company for a better job?
Take your time and really think this through. You’ll feel clearer and likely less frustrated when you’re done.
3) Build your confidence
If you’ve been in your current job for a while and you’re feeling frustrated with lack of career progression, you may also have low self-confidence.
Before you can go any further, you need to build your self-confidence back. Look at that list you made above of all the skills and talents you have. Start there and take note of all the things that you are capable of. Talk to your friends and tell them how you’re feeling. Get support from those around you.
Work on believing that you really do deserve to be happy in life and in your career.
4) Change your mindset
It’s hard to be positive when you’re feeling down and stuck in a rut, but a good attitude can really help you pick yourself up. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your life, think about what’s good in your life.
First of all, you’re doing something about your problem. You’re taking action, and that is a really positive thing. Focus on that, and on what you want.
Try to replace negative thoughts in your mind with positive ones as soon as they come up. This will help you feel better in your current situation, and help you get out of it faster.
5) Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. We’ve already mentioned talking to your friends earlier but lean on your family too, if they’re supportive of you. They will want to be there for you. You may get some great advice and a boost in your confidence simply from sharing how you feel and asking for help.
If you know you can trust someone at work who will listen to you, then confide in them. Talk to them about how you feel and see if they have any suggestions and practical steps you can take.
6) Practice self-care
If you’re feeling down, don’t push yourself too hard, and make sure you take time for yourself. It’s important to take regular breaks and to be able to leave work at the door when you’ve finished for the day.
Set up some things to look forward to, like time with your friends, hobbies you love, and vacations.
Reward yourself every time you take a step closer to making progress in your career.
7) Spend time with people who inspire you
Tim Ferriss said, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with.”
If none of your friends have been where you want to go and none of them have the skills you need to develop, then try to spend time with those who do. I’m not at all saying that you should ditch your friends, but do find people who have been where you want to go.
This brings us neatly to the next two points:
Get out to networking events as much as you can. You never know who you’ll meet, who their connections are, or what they might be able to do for you.
Don’t just do this with an attitude of “What can I get out of this?” With networking, you need to give before you get. And don’t disregard people who you think can’t help you. You might not want to be a florist, but you don’t know who they know that might be able to help you.
Enjoy your networking, have fun, and you could soon find yourself with some great and helpful connections.
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9) Get a mentor or a coach
Does your company have a mentorship program? If they do, ask to join it and see if you can connect with a mentor who can help you make progress in your career.
If not, look into getting a career coach, and perhaps a life coach, too. Learn as much as you can, be open with them, and let them help you.
You will still have to do the work. No one will do it for you, but mentors and coaches can help you make great leaps forward.
10) Don’t let failure stop you
This can be a big one for some people. Fear of failure can prevent you from really letting go and aiming for what you want.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Everyone fails. It’s how you react to it that matters.
Treat it as a learning experience, then put it behind you and move on.
Albert Einstein had this to say about failure: “Failure is success in progress.”
11) Take a fresh look at your job and build a career strategy
Take a look at your current job and see if you could take on more responsibility. Are there things you don’t like that you could delegate to someone else?
Do you have ideas you can share with your manager? Can you talk to your manager about what you need to do to move up?
Don’t be afraid to discuss things with your manager, if they’re supportive. It’s likely they’ll want to know how you’re feeling because they won’t want to lose you. This is also true for your company:
These are just some of the statistics out there about employee engagement and retention. It costs companies a lot of time and money to lose a good employee and replace them. Have confidence that you can say something to your manager and ask for help.
If they don’t want to help or support you, then you know that this is not the job or the company for you.
12) Be a lifelong learner
One of the best ways to get out of a rut and stay out of your rut is to be a lifelong learner. If you’re always learning and developing new skills, then you’ll never be stuck again. Your skills will always be up to date and you’ll never be stuck in a job you hate for the lack of them.
Not only that, but employers value employees who want to keep on learning and growing, and you’re more likely to get a promotion than someone who doesn’t develop themselves.
Don’t stay frustrated with lack of career progression. Work your way through the steps you need above and make the changes you need for success.
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