Are you stuck in a career rut? Strategies to break free…

What does it mean to be stuck in a career rut, and how can you identify if a change is needed? A lot of people don’t like Monday’s, but if you’re absolutely dreading heading into the office, and feel like there’s nothing worse than another day on the job, that’s a pretty good sign it’s time for a change. But it can be more than simply not looking forward to work. If you feel like the potential for progression with your current employer is limited, that’s another pretty good indication you’re in a career rut. And either your too stressed and over challenged, or vice versa, you’re in a career that doesn’t challenge and excite you. Either way, these are both signs that it’s time for a change.


But it’s easy to get stuck in a career rut. By human nature, we find ourselves putting negativity and risk aversion at the forefront of our minds when considering change. Especially with something as imperative as a new career; we flood our thoughts with negative questions and everything that might be difficult about moving on.

“I don’t have the skills necessary”

“Will I be able to earn the same money in a new career?”

“I’ll struggle to settle into a new team”

Sound familiar? You may well be in your very own career rut. But fear not; there is a solution. The first step to combatting this challenge is probably the hardest, but the most beneficial move you will make for your future career. You have to eliminate the negativity to be able to identify the possibilities. Those times where you’ve considered a change but instantly thought about the risks, replace that negativity with a consideration of the benefits from a career change. By putting aside the uncertainty, even if only for a moment, you can focus on real actions you can take to escape your career rut.

The Questions to Give You Answers

Now you’ve established that you’re stuck in a career rut, how do you determine what’s next? Take a look at the questions below and try to apply them to your situation; this is where you can start making some solid plans as to what’s next in your career.


What’s your real motivation for wanting to leave your job?

It’s a useful exercise to explore if there’s one underlying problem, or rather it’s an array of challenges. Whether it’s a dislike of the day-to-day activities or, that you don’t enjoy the people you work with, you should identify the true motivation for wanting a change. Going forward, you’ll use this as your one key driver when finding the next job, and can use it as a benchmark against a potential employer.


What are my talents and what are my passions?

An awareness of your talents and skills helps you to establish what it is you bring to an employer. The identification of your top ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills will enable you to be able to present to an employer exactly what it is you bring to the table. A good idea is to craft your personal elevator pitch – what are you all about, what gets you going? If you find it difficult to pinpoint these skills personally, brainstorm with a friend or colleague.

Combine your skill set and compare it to what your passions are. If you feel like you have the necessary skills and experience to pursue your passions, great, go for it. But if you’re not quite there, at least you’ve assessed what it is you need to work on and can create an actionable plan to reach your goals.


Actions to take

Now you know what it is you want to do, here’s some suggestions as to what you can do to escape your career rut.

  • Do a little bit at a time – set aside at least 20 minutes a day to make plans, doing a little bit of work at a time to not get overwhelmed, and avoid reverting into that negative state
  • Work on your CV and update your LinkedIn profile – use this advice from our blog on how to build a LinkedIn profile to be proud of
  • Use your network – To get some references and advice, as well as discover potential relevant opportunities amongst your peers
  • Create your 30 second elevator pitch – Essentially, you want to be able to convey to someone who you are, what you’re looking for and what you bring
  • Contact a recruiter – if anyone understands how to help people get the career they love, its recruiters. Send us an email, tell us about your situation, and we’ll try to help


Life’s too short to hate what you do. We’re fortunate enough to live in the internet age too, where we can learn anything we want; crucial for helping you escape your career rut. Obviously its dependent on real responsibilities you may have, but the career possibilities really are endless, and there’s no excuse to do something you hate.

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