How to get out of a rut in your career path

Unless we are lucky enough to be able to afford not to, we spend an awfully large part of our lives working. If you dislike your job, or are simply just bored, that length of time can seem even longing. However, you have choices and it is possible to change things for the better – it just takes a bit of determination and some forward planning. Here are some tips you ensure you get out of a rut in your career path.

Think about what you want to do next

It may sound obvious, but often someone who is stuck in a rut becomes depressed, thinking that this is their lot in life. It is never too late to make a change; however, it does need a fair amount of thought. Think about the direction you want to go in and how you could get there – it may be that you think in terms of years rather than months, and your next job may just be a stepping-stone. Sit down and write out a plan. Once you’ve done that, you will be ready to carry it out.

Talk things through with family and friends

Sometimes it is hard to make a rational decision on your own. You may be unsure of yourself, doubting your potential, whereas those who know and love you may be in a much better position to advise you of how far you should go. And they may have suggestions that you hadn’t considered. In any case, they may need to help support you while you are in the process of attaining your dream job, so their input is important.

Talk to your boss about possible career moves in-house

If you work in a reasonably sized company and there are other positions that you may be interested in, talk to your boss. If he or she is happy with your work, they may be more than willing to do anything to keep you – including possibly creating a new job for you. If you haven’t had a career development chat for a few months, then approach your boss about scheduling one – sometimes bosses forget about the importance of such meetings, especially if they aren’t aware that you are unhappy.

Make an appointment with a career expert

Talking to a career expert outside of your company may be a good idea, particularly if you are unsure of the direction that you want to take next. He or she may see the potential in you that you cannot see in yourself and may have some suggestions for career moves that you haven’t yet considered. They will also be able to advise you of the steps that you may need to take to reach your goal. Of course, they can only work with what you tell them, so make sure they know everything about your education and career history and that you provide them with an up-to-date CV.

Consider further education

If you are considering a step up the career ladder or a complete change of career, it may be necessary for you to go back to school. Do your research. You may be put off by the idea of having to take time off to study, but maybe you won’t have to. There are long distance courses or evening schools that may be appropriate for you, or you may be able to work part-time while studying. If the money issue is a major one for you, then consider how you can save towards it in the future and make the necessary changes to your lifestyle to accommodate it.

Consider turning a hobby into a career

If there is something in your life that you really enjoy as a hobby, then think about either working in that area or starting up a business that involves that hobby. In the latter case, this may be something that you can do while still in your current job, particularly if you are concerned that it may not pay enough for you to live on. Just make sure that you do your research and talk to as many relevant people as you can before making any decisions that you may later regret.

Re-think your image

Theoretically, your image should not be important; people should be able to see beyond your looks and clothes. Sadly, that isn’t the case in our society. People are more likely to remember you if you are smart and well-turned out. If your clothes, make-up (for the ladies!) and hairstyle are in need of a revamp, then do something about it. You will feel better about yourself, which will give you more confidence, which in turn is exactly what you need when getting yourself out of a rut.

Most importantly, don’t let your feelings for your job take over your life. If you have let yourself sink into depression, seek treatment for it. Making changes in your life are next to impossible if you are depressed and you will need all the help you can get. 

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