Feeling like something is off in your career? Not sure what’s wrong? There is no shame in admitting when your career is stagnating. In fact, it can be super helpful to realise when that is happening, as it often occurs without us realising.
Whether you don’t feel like things are progressing or you are a bit too comfortable in a role you don’t feel that excited about, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of career stagnation.
By knowing the signs that your career is stagnating, however, you can decide whether you need to change things up and how you might be able to push forward your career development.
1. You experience bouts of boredom
It is common to feel bored occasionally at work, but if you find that these bouts of boredom are more regular or longer, it is clear that something needs to change. We can stay in our comfort zone on autopilot by remaining in one job for a long time but being bored may mean you aren’t being challenged or excited anymore.
This doesn’t mean that your career needs to change entirely. Perhaps working towards a promotion, taking on new projects, or exploring new roles could be for you. If you do want a career change, then exploring new jobs, talking to a career coach, studying online courses, and talking to people in other fields could be very useful.
2. You are not progressing
Having something to aim for in your career is essential to combating career boredom. If you find yourself at a dead-end, not knowing how to progress from your current role, then speak to your manager about your career growth.
It might be further training leading to a position up the career ladder, it might be exploring other departments, or you might find that there isn’t anywhere you can progress to in your current company or position.
Knowing where you are going and what you are aiming for is vital, and if the progression infrastructure at your current company isn’t working for you, you may need to take action and either find another company or explore other career options.
3. You are not learning anything new
If you are always learning new things at work, you are progressing, developing, and being challenged, so when you aren’t learning anything, that could be a bad sign.
If you have stayed in your current position for a long time, you won’t necessarily always be learning new skills, but there should be new opportunities for you to develop and learn as part of your continuous professional development.
4. You dread coming to work
It is never a good sign when you hate going to work. The Monday blues are common, but dreading the next day, having a lot of ‘sick’ days and just wincing at the mention of the dreaded work are all tell-tale signs of career stagnation.
A poll by the Resolution Foundation found that only 54% of UK workers said that they were satisfied with their current job.
Career stagnation can be a key cause, and it can show that you might be better off exploring other career options, job roles, or another place to work. Your work shouldn’t take over your life, and if you find yourself lying awake at night dreading the next day, it’s time to make a change.
5. You rarely talk about your job
If you dread work, are bored by it, or feel like you are in a stagnant career, you are unlikely to want to discuss it with friends and family. If you aren’t feeling enthusiastic or have little to update your loved ones about when it comes to your job, then the chances are high that you could be stagnant In your career.
Work might not always be exciting and on the go, but if you find that you barely ever want to talk about it at all, that could indicate an issue. In other areas of life, if we are enthusiastic, excited, or doing something new, then we usually can’t wait to tell those closest to us, so if you don’t feel that, it might be time to rethink your current job.
How to fix it
If any of the above sounds like you, then it is likely you have encountered career stagnation. So, what can you do about it? Well, there are many ways to get back to loving your job again and feeling as though you are progressing towards your career goals.
Speak to your manager
If you feel you aren’t getting anywhere in your job, the first step is to get in touch with your manager. Discuss how you are feeling and what you want from your job. Ask about training opportunities and the potential to progress in the company.
After having a general conversation about your aims and opportunities for development, set out a training plan with your manager to ensure you know how and when you will be doing additional training.
It is a good idea to plan a bit before the meeting and have an idea of where you want to progress, what training opportunities you would be interested in, and when you want to do it to ensure it isn’t put on the sidelines and not put into action.
Reconsider your strengths and weaknesses
This is a great way of figuring out where you might need more training and the areas that you excel at. This is particularly important if you are considering changing employers or careers, as it can help you take a step back and figure out what you want. Figure out your key strengths and weaknesses and ask yourself questions such as:
If you can answer these questions, you should be in a better position to decide what you will do next. If you like your current job but are keen to explore other options, perhaps look into study or training opportunities that are unrelated to work but something you enjoy doing.
Take a career break
If you feel stuck in a career rut, it can be hard to get out of while you are still working the regular 9-5. Therefore, taking a step back and having a break from your career can help you decide what you really want to do.
Not only is it a well-deserved break, but it means that you can properly consider your options, look into new opportunities, discuss your work-life balance and career path with others and make an informed decision.
Once you are ready to come back, you can see how you get back into the workplace after a break. You never know, it might give you that boost to take on new challenges, explore new avenues and start loving your career again.
One of the best ways to break out of a career rut is to seek further education that will allow you to either pivot towards a different career path or job or allow you to rise up to a more fulfilling role in your current company. Taking on a postgraduate, master’s, or MBA can be an excellent way to do this.
Ultimately, if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, there are lots of opportunities out there. Decide on your next steps and make your move. Whether it’s a career break, a new role, or new qualifications, explore our courses today and see how we can help you today or in the future to achieve your goals.