We’ve all had a bad day at work. The days when you can’t concentrate and your productivity is low. But when these feelings last for more than a few days, it’s likely you are stuck in a career rut. If so, you probably feel disillusioned and disengaged, have a sense of frustration and feel that you’re not meeting your full potential. This lingering feeling of needing and wanting more from your career is a heavy load to carry and if held over a long period of time can be detrimental to your health, happiness and well-being both personally and professionally.
Ignoring, pushing through and ‘getting on with things’ might seem like the solution but over time you will become increasingly disillusioned and disengaged, not to mention your confidence will suffer. Being honest with yourself and facing your feelings are vital for you to pivot your way out of this awkward career moment.
Take A Career Selfie
We are all familiar with the ‘selfie’. A ritual that has become par for the course. Seldom an accurate reflection of reality, double takes, filters and lighting tend to distort reality! In the career selfie, a variation of this ritual, the lens is turned towards your career. Use this concept to consider how you got stuck in your career. Ask yourself these simple questions-
How long have I been feeling like this?
Is it the day-to-day function of my role that I dislike?
Is it the company culture?
Do I feel psychologically safe in my workplace?
It might be the long hours you are expected to work, the lack of professional stretch opportunities or you may feel that there are no opportunities for progression.
The list is endless. What is important is that you attempt to figure out how you got to this point in your career. Without an honest analysis of your current situation you will go around in circles asking yourself the same questions over and over, feeling the same and having the same conversations. Take control of the problem by acknowledging it, not ignoring it.
Focus on micromoments
The likelihood is that you are not in a position to leave your job while figuring out your next step. And while you have to be honest with yourself about why you feel like this, you also have to survive and grow professionally. During this time it’s a common human experience to focus on the negative, all of the bad things and everything that’s going wrong. Take a moment and make the choice to switch mindset. Move your mindset to focus on your daily micromoments. These are the things that go well, the learning opportunities, the tasks you enjoy, or something else positive that happened. This refocus helps to make a difficult situation tolerable while growing your confidence.
Plan your exit strategy
Work out what your next steps are and ask some questions. Have you decided that you want to change job? What do you need to do to ensure that you make a successful exit? Do you need to upskill or build on new skills before you can make the move you want? If so, what will you do and how? Update your CV & LinkedIn profile? Begin to network and attend events linked to your professional area. Meet for coffee with old colleagues, friends or family that might be able to open doors for you. Figure out the next 3 big steps you want to take over the next 6 months. Break each step down into one smaller achievable weekly task.
Move to Action
Nothing will change if you don’t change something. So now that you have your exit strategy figured out, move from thought to action. Take each smaller weekly goal that you have established and identify the date by which you want to achieve that goal. Set a reminder on your calendar, ask somebody to hold you accountable for your goal or work with a coach. Whatever you decide to do, the important thing is that you start to action your plan and make the changes that you need. This action mindset will boost your confidence and push you to make the changes you need.
So, if you’re feeling disillusioned, frustrated and fed up in work, it’s time to plan and execute a change.
Begin with a career selfie,
Focus on your micromoments,
Plan an exit strategy and
Move to action.
If you don’t design your own success, someone else will do it for you.
By Sinead Brady