Career Advice

Frustrated With Lack Of Career Progression: 13 Tips To Get Unstuck

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.

According to Mirror, half of employees feel frustrated with their current job situations. 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  • You need to retrain because your skills and training are out of date.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.

frustrated with lack of career progression

How to Get Unstuck and Progress in Your Career Development

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 you have hit a roadblock in your current job role 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.

Read More: How to Create a Career Development Plan for Employee Close to Retirement

2) What do you really want?

If you’re looking to advance your career and make career path decisions, 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.

frustrated with lack of career progression

3) Build your confidence

If you’ve been in your current job for a while and you’re feeling frustrated at lack of career progression, you may also have low self-confidence.

Before you can go any further to explore new opportunities, 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.

frustrated with lack of career progression

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:

8) Network

Get out to networking events as much as you can. Attending networking events can provide valuable opportunities for progression and professional development. 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 overcome a lack of career growth or no clear career prospects.

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.

frustrated with lack of career progression

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:

“Low employee engagement costs companies $450-500 billion each year” and “Companies with highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable.”

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.

Read More: “I Am 50 and Hate My Job!”: 10 Tips on What You Should Do

12) Ask for a promotion

Asking for a promotion or pay rise can be a daunting task, but it’s often the key to getting unstuck in your career. Many employees feel frustrated at the lack of career progression, but believe their bosses are unapproachable, so they’re holding back in their current role.

However, according to a recent study, over two-thirds of men have raised issues with management about their current job role, and seven in ten have successfully gained a promotion by asking for it. 

On the other hand, only 50% of women have been promoted after taking it upon themselves to ask management. So, it’s important to take the initiative and ask for what you want.

Don’t be afraid to approach your boss and ask for a promotion or pay rise if you feel you’re ready to take your career to the next level. With the right approach and preparation, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your career goals.

13) 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.

frustrated with lack of career progression

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do employees feel frustrated at lack of career progression?

A: Employees may feel frustrated at lack of career progression due to various reasons such as feeling unchallenged in their current role, not being provided with opportunities for growth, or feeling restricted by the organizational structure.

Q: How can one get specific about their career goals?

A: One can get specific about their career goals by assessing their strengths and weaknesses, identifying their interests and passions, researching potential job roles, and setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals.

Q: What is the role of job description in career progression?

A: A clear and detailed job description can help employees understand their role and responsibilities, set performance goals, and identify areas for improvement to progress in their career.

Q: How can project management and time management skills help in career progression?

A: Effective project management and time management skills can help employees prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and complete projects efficiently, which can advance their career through increased productivity and responsibility.

Q: Do workers feel the same way about lack of career progression at different ages?

A: According to a survey, workers aged 24-34 strongly feel frustrated about lack of career progression compared to just 10% of workers aged 55 and over. However, the feeling of frustration diminishes with age as 22% of workers aged 35-54 report feeling stuck in their career.

Q: What are the restrictions workers feel in their current role?

A: Some of the restrictions workers feel in their current role include limited opportunities for growth, lack of challenging projects, absence of adequate training and development programs, and an unapproachable management team.

Q: Can taking courses off their own back enhance career progression?

A: Yes, taking courses off their own back such as online courses or workshops can help employees acquire new skills, stay updated with the latest industry trends, and demonstrate their commitment to continuous learning and professional growth, which can result in better career opportunities.

Q: Should one consider a new role outside the current organization?

A: It depends on individual circumstances and priorities. If opportunities for growth and development are limited in the current organization or the company culture and values do not align with personal values and goals, then considering a new role outside the current organization may be a viable option.

Q: Is quitting one’s job the only solution for lack of career progression?

A: No, quitting one’s job should be the last resort. It is advisable to assess one’s skills, interests, and job market before making any drastic decision. Consider talking to your manager or HR representative to explore potential opportunities for advancement or development within the organization.

Q: How can one negotiate for a pay rise?

A: Negotiating for a pay rise requires preparation, research, and confidence. One should research the average industry salary for their job role, highlight their accomplishments and contributions to the organization, and be prepared to justify their proposed pay rise. It is advisable to have an open and honest conversation with your manager and be willing to negotiate and compromise.

Q: Should one stay in a job they are unhappy with just for job security?

A: No, job security should not be the sole reason for staying in a job that makes you unhappy or unfulfilled. It is important to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being, job satisfaction, and personal growth. However, it is advisable to have a backup plan in case of any financial instability or loss of employment.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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