Stuck in a Career Rut

  |   Patricia Tiernan

Stuck in a career rut? It’s a common feeling, and there are often underlying beliefs that contribute to our sense of frustration and lack of fulfilment in our work. By recognizing and addressing these beliefs, we can take control of our careers and pursue work that is more fulfilling and satisfying. Here are some common beliefs that can keep us stuck in a career rut, and strategies for overcoming them:

  1. “I don’t have the right education.” It’s natural to feel like we need a certain level of education in order to pursue certain careers. But this belief can hold us back from exploring new opportunities or taking on challenges outside of our comfort zone. People are often surprised at how much practical experience is valued over professional education, don’t be put off applying by the education required if you have the practical experience.
  2. “If I can change now it has to be a perfect fit.” Many people believe that they have already invested too much time and energy in their current field to start over unless it 100% makes sense. But it’s never too late to make a change and pursue work that aligns better with your interests and values. Your next job more than likely will not be your last. Follow your curiosity and see where it takes you.
  3. “I don’t know what I want to do.” It can be difficult to figure out what we want to do in our careers, especially if we haven’t had much exposure to different job fields or industries. Uncover what an ideal career fit is for you, explore new interests and experiences, and talk to people in different careers. It’s not an easy question to answer as there are so many aspects to consider, check out services that are out there to support you to identify the direction you want to go.
  4. “I’m not good enough.” Imposter syndrome, or the belief that we are not capable of achieving certain goals, is a common barrier to career advancement. Part of beating this belief is understanding what your strengths are and what is the best career fit for you.
  5. “What if I fail”: Changing careers can be scary, as there is always a risk of failure or rejection. To overcome this fear, try to reframe your mindset and focus on the learning and growth opportunities that a career change can bring. As psychologist Nick Wignall says “Confidence isn’t the absence of fear it’s the belief you will be okay despite your fear”.
  6. “What if I succeed”: What if I’m really successful and it puts too many demands on my time or changes me? What is the worst that can happen and what can you do to ensure that does not happen?
  7. “I hate interviews “: Don’t let what is often a 40-minute conversation get in the way of your dreams. It is a skill like any other and there are lots of techniques and hacks that can support you to strengthen your performance.
  8. “I don’t want to give up my credibility credits”: If this is what is holding you back, uncover what you can do in the first 90 days to win credibility quickly.
  9. “I have great flexibility in the role, I will never get that if I go”: The world of work has changed. Learn how to negotiate and find cultures that will support your particular needs.
  10. “I don’t have time”: Your career is one of the most important areas of your life to get right. It affects your lifestyle, health, finances, identity, relationships and sense of fulfilment. Make time.

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