Are you feeling stuck in a career rut?
Maybe your job is unfulfilling. Maybe it doesn’t pay enough. Maybe it isn’t flexible enough.
Whatever the reason for your career rut, you aren’t alone. In 2017, a Gallup poll found that only 30% of America’s workforce and 15% of the world’s workforce feel engaged and fulfilled in their employment. While the rate of engaged employees in the U.S. had risen to 35% in 2018, and actively disengaged employees had fallen to 13%, the remaining 53% were categorized as not engaged. Stated another way, a full 66% of employed Americans felt disconnected from their work. Feeling stuck in a career rut is the unfortunate norm, it seems.
The Gallup poll results are enlightening in relation to the record number of people now changing jobs and careers. In a Bankrate survey of more than 2,450 working-age adults in the summer of 2021, a shocking 55% indicated they were looking or intended to begin looking for a new job over the next 12 months. The pandemic is the most commonly “blamed” culprit for what has become known as the “Great Resignation,” inspiring a re-evaluation of values and priorities and deep thought about what we really want out of our careers.
If you are feeling stuck in a career rut it is true. There has never been a better time to make a change. But change brings uncertainty and risk. Wanting to make a career change and actually taking the steps necessary to make a career change are two different things.
Of course, nothing in life is certain, apart from uncertainty itself. No one has a crystal ball, and no one can tell the exact outcome of the choices they make, whether those are career choices or choices impacting any other aspect of life.
Taking risks—especially risks associated with your livelihood and income—can be scary. But if you have carefully evaluated all your options and still feel a deep desire to get out of the career rut you are stuck in, there is a good chance that the risk is likely to be worth the reward.
If you are ready to get out of your career rut and find a new job or career that is more fulfilling and rewarding, here are some ways that making the change can bring benefits into your life.
Life is Short!
Really. It is!
Do you want life to pass you by while you are playing it safe?
Or do you want to spread your wings and fly?
Do you want to be someone who leads a life of “quiet desperation” (as author Henry David Thoreau famously said)? Or do you want to share your gifts with the world, do what you love, follow your passion and be of service to humanity and the world?
To be really fulfilled in your career and reach your potential, risks will be necessary.
Falling Off a Ledge
There is a wonderful story of a monk who fell off a ledge; clinging to a branch that he grabbed onto as he fell, he kept his eyes tight shut, too afraid of the certain death that would befall him if he dropped. When he finally let go, he was surprised to find that the distance was only a couple of feet!
Letting go is one of the major lessons of Buddhist philosophy; letting go of outcome and success can help us live life more fully and more freely and be more willing to embrace risk.
As Thich Nhat Hanh taught, “Letting go takes a lot of courage sometimes. However, once you let go, happiness comes very quickly. You won’t have to go around search[ing] for it.”
Letting go also allows us to embrace the experience of the present moment. Paramahansa Yogananda, who was famous for bringing yoga to North America in the 1920s, said, “If you stay in the present, the future takes care of itself.” Easier said than done, of course, but what a concept to live by!
If you are feeling stuck in a career rut it is important to consider the overall lifestyle and quality of life that you wish to lead. Is your job negatively impacting your quality of life? If so, maybe it is time to fall off a ledge, and maybe, just maybe that ledge isn’t as high as your fear of change has made it seem.
Release Negative Thinking
Learning to let go of that which no longer serves you is empowering. Maybe you have stayed in your career rut because of fear that you don’t have the skills to do anything else.
Identifying your limiting beliefs can help you release them when you can see that they are false and probably holding you back from reaching your potential and your success.
For example, perhaps, like so many, you have a deep-down belief that you are “not good enough,” or that you are “unworthy.”
Are you absolutely sure this belief is 100% true? How do you feel when you believe this thought?
Of course, maybe you do need to seek out some training or professional development opportunities to gain new qualifications for the career change you want to make. But that is a surmountable challenge.
You now have a unique opportunity to reprogram your mind with a healthier, empowering, and inspiring belief. Perhaps it could be “I am acceptable just as I am,” or “I have the capacity to learn the new skills I need.” You decide what works well for your situation. Once you release your limiting beliefs, you will feel much more comfortable taking risks.
Another limiting belief could be. “I might fail.” This is a common fear that holds people back, and it isn’t a helpful one. Will the first career move you make be the perfect one? Perhaps not. Mistakes are a part of life. But if you reframe your mistakes as learning opportunities, nothing can stop you from ultimately succeeding. Every time you take a risk and make a change you learn something new about yourself and gain a bit more clarity about what you want and what you don’t want in a job and career, and the next move is likely to be an improvement.
Therefore, you could drop that belief and change it to something more empowering and inspiring for you, for example, “I can handle all the ups and downs on the road to success with ease,” or whatever works for you.
Learning & Gaining Wisdom
Is the cause of your career rut a job that you feel too comfortable in? Do you feel like your career has stalled or that your personal or professional growth is stagnating?
Staying too long in a job that isn’t fulfilling and engaging isn’t healthy. We don’t grow and learn by hiding in our shells. Growth comes with experience and being open to taking risks helps us gain that experience. Taking responsibility for your career is essential, and in your efforts to get out of your career rut you are certain to learn new skills and will update your knowledge of new technologies and industry trends.
Enrich Your Life & Find Meaning
When you pursue your passions and build a career that allows you to express your passions, you tap into a larger or greater meaning for your life. Life no longer becomes about the mere day-to-day existence, but rather the focus becomes the pursuit of something that holds great meaning and value.
We spend a lot of time at work. So, it makes sense that our jobs would play a big role in our life satisfaction. If you’re not happy in your career and feeling stuck in a career rut, you’re probably not living your best life. It’s easy to feel there’s nothing you can do about a job you dislike and fear the risks. However, small adjustments and some preparation can allow you to make a change for the better. You don’t have to settle.
When you are ready to get out of your career rut and make a change for the better, Distinctive Career Services is here to help you. If you are still trying to determine exactly what it is that you want, set some goals, and create a plan to achieve them, check out our Reinvent Yourself! program. Or, if you already know where you want to go and just need some support to get there, our professional resume writing services will be invaluable in writing an effective career change resume. The first step is a free consultation during which we’ll discuss your needs and help you determine the next steps. Book a consultation today.