Moving Forward When You Feel Stuck

Remember that Eminem song "So Bad" when he says "same s**t, different toilet?" (I thought that line was the most clever thing ever). While he was referring to putting out the same type of music consistently, I've heard so many people use that phrase to describe that Groundhog Day feeling of waking up into the same existence each day and just going through the motions because you know that when you go to bed, you are going to wake up to do it all over. Yea... that's called being stuck.

You might think you have made peace with being stuck where you are. But your "stuck-ness" is affecting you in ways you may not even realize. When you've been stuck for a while, you are generally miserable to be around. People around you can feel your boredom, your lack of passion and your acceptance of mediocrity. You've moved from being a problem-solver and solution seeker to seeing no answers anywhere.

Apart from the drain on your emotions and the people closest to you, this can also be really harmful professionally! When you are feeling stuck for too long, it might mean you aren't staying competitive and picking up new skills.

First take a look at the role you are currently in and see if you can grow there. Who was in the role before you and what was their trajectory? If you notice that people who have had your role or are in similar roles are not growing, that may be an indicator that there is not a lot of opportunity for growth.

Have you had an honest conversation with your manager about your expectations? Have you raised the issue with your manager? Have you sought feedback? Think critically about how long it's been since you felt challenged.

If you are regularly feeling stagnant, bored or angry at work, there is a chance you are unfulfilled. If there has been no growth or new challenges and you've pursued that growth actively, it might be time to start looking for a new job or make a career change. However, while you get geared up to change roles, you can make some progress right where you are to stop feeling stuck.

Identify ways you can grow new skills in your current role. Can you take on additional projects? Also, consider what you have done to be proactive in making your job situation more appealing. Have you pursued additional training to add new value to your team? Have you connected with a coach to identify new opportunities to work on your goals and growth plan?

Have you spoken to people in your network? Before you make any decisions, take stock of the people and resources around you. There may be a someone in your network or an easily accessible resource around you that can help. Your network is there for a reason, utilize it! Reach out to people for advice, maybe someone has felt the way you have and can share their knowledge with you or connect you to others. Grab coffee with people that have jobs or career's that you're interested in. Talking to them and learning what you find interesting in their position is a great way to figure out what may be missing in your position.

Can you volunteer for a company resource group? If your company offers internal trainings or tuition reimbursement, utilize those resources. You can add to your resume in your current position and make yourself a more valuable candidate for your next role.

What's next?

When you have truly exhausted all options, start planning your next move. Take stock of your transferable skills. Be realistic about your level of experience. Are you willing to take less pay for a more fulfilling job? Can you afford to take less pay? You may not have to, but you need to consider what really motivates you and what you can tolerate. Finally, critically weigh the pros and cons of a career change or new role at this point in your career.

Staying in a job for too long after it's run it's course can negatively affect your confidence as you seek new opportunities, so once you decide you are ready to move on, plan your next steps and execute. Most importantly, take the time to diligence what you really want so you don't fall into the same pattern of feeling unfulfilled. A coach or development program is a great way to get help with this process.

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