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“I was so excited about this job when I started it. I’ve had really valuable experiences here, but now I just feel like I’m ‘over it.’ I’m bored. I’m not as motivated to do my best work. I don’t look forward to coming to work in the morning. There isn’t a path for me here. I’m not challenged. Maybe I’m not good at anything else. I’m working so many hours a day, there isn’t time to see my family, let alone look for another job.”
“I know it’s time to move on, but where would I even begin? I’m STUCK!”
Sound familiar? Don’t worry – I promise you are not alone (although it may feel that way right now). This is all completely normal. Professionals at all levels, with all types of backgrounds and experiences, share these thoughts with me – almost daily.
Even so, feeling stuck when it comes to your career is a REAL thing. And it can be overwhelming, frustrating, and something that usually seems easier to put off… until you just can’t take it any longer. While it can take time to figure out your next move, you don’t have to wait until it becomes an unbearable situation to take action.
Here are some tried and true tips to get you unstuck and headed towards the next stop on your career journey.
- Step Aside: First things first, get out of your own head. Things tend to be so much worse when we are highly emotional about them – and feeling stuck in a job you don’t like can certainly be emotional. Get back to the facts with questions like: why did you initially choose to come to this current role/company? Have you achieved those things? Your boss might be a nightmare, but what aspects of your job do you like? Is there another role at your current company that would be a great new fit, or are you ready to move on altogether? What kind of accomplishments have you had or lessons have you learned during your time here, despite some of the challenges you’ve faced? How does this experience fit into your larger goals or greater purpose?
- Figure Out Where You’re Running: Are you running away from something or towards something right now? Often, when we are running away from something, we are so desperate to leave, that we don’t take time to figure out where we really WANT to be. Make time to uncover passions, interests and goals about where you want to be in 5-10+ years. Refocus your energy on where you are going and the value that you will bring, rather than on the quickest way out.
- Take Inventory: This is a big one. Get familiar with your skills, strengths, and successes. Start out easy. Grab a sheet of paper and have a freestyle brainstorm session with yourself (remember- there are no rules in brainstorming!). Once you start jotting stuff down, you’ll be surprised at how they start to flow. Keep the list handy – you’ll want to add to it over time. All of this information will eventually help you clarify your job search direction and will be helpful in networking, interviewing, and writing resumes and bios.
- Knock on your Network’s Door: This is key! Once you start your exploration process, reach out to your network and connect. I promise- people will help you if they can. Call your mentors. Find ways to meet other professionals, and reconnect with those you haven’t seen in a while. Grab a cup of coffee, or an after-work beverage, or meet up for lunch or even to watch game. Catch up, tell them what you are looking to do, ask for their insights or ideas, and identify ways you can help each other. You will be amazed at the opportunities that will come from it. But, you never know until you ask!
- Phone a Friend: Or a relative, mentor, spouse – anyone that loves you, but will be brutally honest with you at the same time. Someone who can commit to being “your person” during this process. Someone who will give you solid feedback, brainstorm with you, keep you accountable, prep you for interviews, attend networking events with you, and remind you how great you are when you need it most.
Frankly Speaking: As this year starts to wind down, we look towards the New Year with a fresh start. Especially for those of you feeling stuck, this an in ideal time to assess, evaluate and set new goals for months ahead. Carve out time for yourself – and stick to it. Reflect. Make a plan. Put the balls in motion. And keep them moving until you find what you’re looking for.
Lisa Frank is the CEO of LBF Recruitment Strategies, an executive search & career coaching firm. As a recruiter, connector and coach she offers a relatable and “Frank” approach to all aspects of life. Through her blog, Frankly Speaking, Lisa shares her insights, guidance and outrageous (but true) stories about career and life topics with plenty of humor, humanness and candor. Follow Lisa on LinkedIn or Twitter (@LisaBFrank) or visit www.LBFStrategies.com.