5 Signs You’re Stuck in a Career Rut — and What to Do About It

Career Wisdom
Person looking disappointingly at a computer.

We offer five signs that you’re in need of a change and how to take action.

In trying times, it’s easy to feel like you’re living in a general state of discontent — but it could, in fact, be unhappiness in your career. If you’re no longer feeling energized by your work, or if you never felt inspired in the first place, now could be the time to try something new or, perhaps, move on. Here are five ways to tell if you’re stuck in a bad career rut — and, if you are, what to do about it.

1. You Don’t Feel Energized

If you are lacking in excitement for your career, then perhaps it’s time to seriously consider making a move. But first make sure it’s your job and not other aspects of your life that really has you down. Put soul-searching first on your to-do list, and take your time to investigate what you would like to do next.

If you decide that you’ve reached the end of the line in your current job or career choice, then start thinking about what else you might like to do and take the first steps toward taking action, including researching and planning.

2. You Don’t Feel Aligned With Your Colleagues or Your Company

If you feel that you don’t share a general sensibility with your colleagues, then it may make sense to look into other teams or positions within your company. Or, do you dislike your company, field or the work you’re doing altogether? That’s a pretty big distinction, and being able to distinguish between the two is an imperative as you consider making any significant changes. Be sure that it’s your present place of employment and not the work or industry itself before making any major steps in a new direction.

3. Your Skills Are Being Wasted

Perhaps you are great with people and love working with a team but, in your current position, you are working mostly on your own. If this is the case, then you may want to see what other options are available within your company. However, if you’ll be in the same general position even if you change roles at your current place of business, then now might be a good time to consider other options. One option is to see what you can do to team up with others to set new goals, create new opportunities and ultimately stretch yourself in new areas and ways.

How do you know when your career has gone stagnant?

4. You Are Easily Frustrated or Bored

This happens to everyone at some point. If your job has become stagnant and the routine is getting to you, then set new goals for yourself, like shooting for a promotion or making a move to another part of the business. Or, try attending classes or conferences to learn new skills and to network with new people in your industry.

5. You Dream of Doing Something Else

Why dream when you can do? It’s a cliche — yes! — but it’s true: Life is short, and you don’t want to spend it missing the boat on better opportunities. If you always wanted to work in a certain field or industry but didn’t pursue it for any number of reasons, now may be the time. But before you take the plunge, do your research to make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need to do to be successful in your new venture. A professional mentor can help, especially if that mentor has made a similar change or works in the field you’d like to work in.

Resources at Your Fingertips

Need help making changes in your career? The Bear Down Network connects Arizona alumni to networking opportunities and resources that support professional growth and success.