Whether you have been pursuing your career for five years or 50, falling into a career rut is sometimes an inevitable outcome for many of us.
Finding yourself in this position will more than likely be a frustrating and worrying experience, however, and you may be eager to break out of it as soon as possible.
Therefore, we have put together a list of methods you can use to re-find your motivation and plan your next steps when you find yourself in such a situation.
Accepting the problem at hand
Whenever you find yourself in a career rut at whatever stage of life, perhaps the thing you need to start with is acceptance.
Acceptance of the fact that career ruts are entirely normal, everyone goes through one now and then, you are not alone, and that it’s something that comes and goes.
Acknowledge the situation that you’re in and the normalcy surrounding it, and most importantly, be kind to yourself because it’s not necessarily your fault. Letting go of self-criticism will assist you in focusing on a bigger goal, which will ultimately lead you out of the rut.
This makes you feel better on the inside about your situation and gives you the motivation boost that you need to get through a career rut.
On the other hand, denying the fact and running away from it will get you no farther than pushing yourself deeper into distress and dissatisfaction. If you hold onto denial in such a situation, it will restrict you from moving forward and getting back on track.
Identifying the root of the problem
Once you’ve accepted the fact that you’re in a career rut, the next, most logical step is to identify what’s behind it.
With a clear mind, sit down and try to calculate what is explicitly bothering you and causing the distress inside you. Did you have too little to do, and it makes you feel like your potential isn’t being used to the fullest?
Or have you been doing too much, pulling overtime and all-nighters, but still not getting the apt response in return?
Are you not passionate about the type of work you do and the field of profession you’re in?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember while identifying the root of the problem is honesty with yourself.
Take notes if that’s what helps you; jot down what bothers you, what you want to change, and the way you handle everything.
Once you have everything in front of you, it’ll get easier for you to work towards the solution since stretching everything out in front of your eyes will help you shift your focus and motivate you to work towards the solution.
Approaching the situation mindfully
A career rut can wreak immense frustration within oneself. When you are surrounded by such negativity, it is easier to let go of your true self and start blaming external forces for the problems that you are in.
While they may be responsible for everything, in such a situation, it is most sensible to stop focusing on external factors because they will bring you no good.
Instead of sitting back, feeling helpless, and waiting for the universe to stir some magic, try to be more realistic and mindful, and try calculating where you think you may have gone wrong.
Thinking about how certain of your actions would have contributed to the rut can help shift your focus immensely. Despite the fact that holding yourself responsible may cause you a tad bit of disappointment, it will also give you an energy boost. This is because holding yourself accountable for your problems will make it easier for you to correct your mistakes and eventually pull yourself out of the rut.
Doing otherwise will consume your energy to the brink, and since you need tons of energy to fight a rut, so save up.
Learn Something New
Suppose one of the reasons you have found yourself in a rut is down to not seeing where else you could progress or what skills you could learn next. In that case, a simple fix could be to seek out something that you would like to learn yourself, rather than relying on an opportunity arising within your workplace.
Learning something new can be a potent tool in propelling you back into motivation, especially if you learn a new skill that allows you to take up a new role within your workplace or apply for a different position elsewhere.
If you are interested in college as an avenue to explore this idea, then we recommend researching the various private lenders available for your student loan.
In doing so, you can put yourself in the best financial position possible and comfortably finance your future without worrying about tuition costs.
Re-Evaluate Your Goals
Where do you want to be in five years? College, school, job interviews, this is probably a question you are tired of hearing, but if you have found yourself stuck and unsure of where to go next, then this can be an instrumental question to ask yourself.
In doing so, you can analyze whether your previous goals have shifted and how to correct your current path to give yourself the best possible opportunity to achieve them.
We recommend physically writing your goals down in a secure location that you will not quickly lose, as doing so can bring them to reality and make them easier to visualize and plan for.
Take Some Time Off
In the highly productive and work-obsessed world, we seem to have found ourselves in. It may be a controversial idea to suggest taking time off work for anything other than an avoidable engagement or sickness.
Nevertheless, this option is well worth giving some serious attention to, as you may find that all you need to bring yourself out of your rut is a good rest.
So, book a week or two off from work and make sure that you clear your schedule and give yourself time to relax and recuperate. Maybe put some time back into a favorite hobby of yours that you’ve recently been neglecting or reconnect with friends and family you may have fallen out of touch with. Whatever you choose to do, it is likely that you will return to work with a fresh mindset, ready to face the challenges of the workplace with a more positive perspective.
The best care is self-care
In a rut, you most likely will lose track of yourself as you spend day and night worrying about why it happened and how to get out of it and breaking a sweat.
And practicing self-care is the best thing that can get you back on it, boost your energy, give your motivation a final push, and leave you feeling confident and capable of coming up with a solution.
Some things that you can employ include:
- Regular exercise to keep the mind and body vitalized
- Yoga to stay mindful and focused
- Reading books to tap onto your intelligence
- Spending time with your loved ones because their relentless support and love will make you feel like you’re capable of anything and everything
- Catching up on sleep because only a refreshed mind can think correctly and act accordingly
- Stepping back from everything and letting yourself breathe when the going gets tough
Talk to Someone
One of the last things we recommend doing with a career rut is attempting to tackle it alone.
A rut can affect you in a variety of ways. Even if you aren’t facing any mental health issues, it can tap into utter confusion and disorder within you.
As is the case with any problem that may arise on a day-to-day basis, it is always a good idea to share the issue with someone else and either get a second opinion or just expand your support network. In doing so, you will give yourself someone to turn to if the journey becomes challenging, as well as a soundboard for any ideas you have. Friends, family, even a fellow colleague, are all excellent people to talk to, and we recommend this being one of the first points you put into action.
If you prefer, you can also get into contact with a professional therapist. A therapist does more than just offering mental support and a safe space for you to let out all your frustration. They can even guide you in doing what’s the best for you in the future, all just by listening to your course of action from the past.
Career ruts are extremely typical phases in one’s life that one may stumble upon every now and then. They may leave the person dumbfounded and stunned by the incredible rollercoaster of emotions they bring with them, and the person in question may lose all their motivation as they start feeling helpless and trapped. However, with tips as easy as the ones stated above, you can get the push of inspiration and a refreshing boost of energy needed to advance out and away from your career rut.