What exactly do you mean when you say“I feel stuck in my job”? - You might feel that your role is unimportant or that you don’t bring value to the project. You might be frustrated because you don’t see progress in your current position or opportunities for advancement. Or you might offer improvements at your workplace that no one else supports. Any of these reasons for feeling stuck can affect your work and, if unaddressed, can even lead to burnout.
To avoid suffering unpleasant consequences of job stagnation, consider what it means to be stuck in your job and how you can get out of that state.
Job stagnation can result from numerous individual factors or even a combination of factors. Before you start searching for answers to the question “What to do with my career?”, you need to understand the real reasons behind your feeling. Below, we describe the circumstances that can make you feel stuck in your career.
Sometimes, it can be hard to define what is really worrying you. You might think that you’re feeling stuck but, in fact, you might just be bored. While being bored can negatively impact your effectiveness and cause stress at work, you have a number of options at your fingertips for counteracting this feeling and improving your working routine.
If you stop developing your skill set, you may soon feel the symptoms of job stagnation. Not developing as a professional, may leave you feeling that you don’t make a real contribution to the project you are working on. Something similar might also happen if you hold one position for many years.
There’s also a risk of getting stuck at work if you’re a specialist in a fading field. As the 2020 pandemic has shown, changes can happen in the blink of an eye, like offline businesses that suddenly had to switch online. It’s important to be flexible and open to new opportunities at any moment in your career.
Even if you maintain your professional growth and development, it is also possible to be stuck because you are working in a place that simply doesn’t offer you a pathway to advancement.
When you start your career with a particular company, you probably want your values and those of the company to match. That might even be one of your criteria for choosing an organization for cooperation in the first place. As time goes by, values can change ‒ yours and the company’s. If this happens, and your values are out of alignment, you may start thinking “I feel trapped in my job”.
There may be situations in which you take on a job mainly for the money. If there is really nothing else about your well-paid job that you find satisfying, you might expect to start feeling of being stuck in career.
If you realize that “I feel stuck in my job” has been stuck in your head for a while, it’s time to take action. A first step is to identify where exactly you got stuck: coworkers, project, role, company, or profession.
It may be that your coworkers impede your work somehow. You may: share tasks with a team member who always misses deadlines; have conflicts with other members of your team; have to deal with a difficult colleague or boss on a regular basis; etc.
You may also get stuck on a project. Working on one project for a long time can lead to frustration and a feeling that you don’t add value anymore, or that you are going nowhere. The same thing can happen when you take on a role or several simultaneous roles but none of them are personally satisfying to you.
Another place to be stuck at work is your company. If you’re on the top of a career ladder, you’ve tried several available roles, you’ve contributed to many different projects, and you don’t see further opportunities for development open to you, changing your company may be one of the most suitable options for you.
Finally, you might feel that the profession you’ve devoted your whole working life to doesn’t bring you the fulfillment it used to. In this case, you can reconsider your specialization, and apply your skills in a different arena.
Once you’ve defined where you got stuck in career, you can take steps to help you to get unstuck:
Take the time to create two lists of the tasks that you do at work. One list should include the tasks you enjoy, and the other should include tasks you’d rather delegate. Once you’ve prepared your lists, it’s time to think creatively about ways you can do more of what you like and spend less time on tasks that don’t inspire you.
Your network can help you find your dream job one day, and it may be able to help you make less dramatic changes as well. Attend offline events, online conferences, and build connections in professional social media to expand your work-related circle. The next time you think “ I feel trapped in my job and I want to change it”, your community can help you bring the change to life.
Consider the skills or industries that are interesting to you. Take some online courses to increase your knowledge base. Broadening your horizons will give you a break from being stuck at work. Moreover, you may be inspired and able to freshen up your situation by applying your new knowledge to your existing tasks.
Changing your working habits for the better is always a good idea. We hope that you can use some of these suggestions to reduce your “I feel stuck in my job” feelings and give you a fresh perspective so that you won’t have to ask “what to do with my career?” anymore.
Maria KonashContent Strategist
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