Spark Your Journey Banner image

Archive for February 2015

Help! My Career Is Stuck In Neutral

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Pam Norton 2 Comments

Woman sleeping on laptopat at her working plac

Your career isn’t great, but it’s not bad. It may be comfortable, but it’s not going anywhere. You’ve been at the same level for a while now, perhaps too long. But you don’t hate your job – you just don’t love your job. Meh.

Do you need to find a new job? Do you need to change careers? Is this a temporary slump or the sign of something more permanent?

These are big questions that could have far-reaching answers, and there are no quick and easy answers.

Have you reached the end of the road in your current job or with your current company?   It may be time to look elsewhere.

Perhaps you’ve lost your passion for what you’re doing, or you never felt passionately about what you’re doing and you’ve reached the age (around 40) when you want to express that part of yourself through your work.

Maybe you’re suffering a bout of depression that can take the color out of everything. It happens to the best of us.

Doing the inner exploration to get in touch with what’s going on is a long process. One thing’s for sure: while you’re going through this process you need to protect your confidence above all else. If your confidence has already started to wane, you need to take action now to build it back.

This can be a challenge when your outlook is in the ‘meh’ range. Here are three actions you can take starting today.

  1. What did I learn today? Borrow a page from the concept of keeping a gratitude journal and keep a journal of what you learned each day. Like a gratitude journal, the intent is to help you connect to a deeper understanding and appreciation for your life. Some days you may learn interesting things that you can use such as watching your role model handle a touchy situation or an interesting shortcut that will produce faster results. Some days you’ll need to stretch: golly, you really can tell the difference between regular and diet soda. Don’t worry about size and scope; just pay attention. If you’ve got a few blank pages in your daily journal you’ll start searching for learnings each day, and that’s the true goal.
  2. How can I stretch myself today? Being comfortable is so comforting until it becomes a trap. It’s like cooking a frog. Put a frog into boiling water and he’ll leap out, but put a frog in cooler water, turn on the heat and he’ll stay in the pot until he’s ‘done.’ (I hate that story, but it applies.) There’s a great saying: everything you want is just outside your comfort zone. That means you’ll need to stretch and endure some discomfort to get what you want. Try something new, speak up and offer a new idea or ask someone senior for advice. The more you stretch, the more you’ll learn and be more confident, and the more confident you are the more you’ll be willing to stretch. It’s a great cycle, but it also works in reverse. Make sure your cycle is moving in the right direction.
  3. What do I need to say ‘no’ to? Saying no can be scary. You might be afraid that you’ll be viewed as unhelpful or not a team player. You need to get strategic about what you say yes to. The key is to only say yes to things that position you for your next level or that align with your goals.   There are graceful ways to say no such as suggesting someone else who might be a better fit to help out. If your boss is the one asking you could point out that something else you’re working on has more value and then offer another suggestion. Manage your boundaries.

These may seem like small actions, but small, consistent daily actions produce results. Just ask anyone who has succeeded at something.

=========================================================================================

About Pam: As a Career Success Coach, I help individuals and teams dig deep to tap into their strengths and potential, eliminate self-sabotaging behaviors, think and execute strategically, and get more success and fulfillment from their careers. You can learn more about me at www.transitionsparkcoaching.com. While you’re there, download my free guide to creating a resume that will help you stand out from the crowd, 7 Steps to a Power-Packed Resume. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook.