Life is Too Short to Feel STUCK in a Job! Four (4) Tips to Help YOU Get UNSTUCK Today!
Life is too short to feel trapped or, STUCK, as I like to say. No one is immune to such a feeling. In fact, it is normal to go through a season in life when things just do not feel quite right. Take a moment to think about it. Have you ever felt like you just can’t move forward no matter how hard you try? At work you consistently demonstrate your diverse skill set in hopes that your boss may notice you, your amazing talent and offer you that promotion you so rightly deserve. Of course, no matter what you do it never seems to unfold that way. Instead, you are told you are doing great work, but there is just no opportunity for advancement, so you feel STUCK. To change your situation, you then apply for what seems like 100s of jobs only to get one interview. You are not even excited about the interview because it was for a position that was not your first choice. Heck, let’s be honest it probably was not your 10th choice, but you just wanted to feel like you were moving forward so you accepted it. Sound familiar?
Perhaps, you are starting to feel like you missed the boat. You have a lot of unfulfilled expectations and are beginning to wonder, where did the time go, and how are you going to catch up? You notice for the first time that your extended family members and long-time friends seem happy with work and content with life, so you wonder, why that same contentment has eluded you? You start to feel STUCK and maybe a little depressed too.
There are several reasons a person may feel stuck. Here is a list of some of them.
- Fear Change – You know you need to make a change for your own well-being, but you can’t seem to move past the fear. You have been in your position for a long period of time and are not sure or willing to change to another position or company for fear the move will be a waste of time and won’t get you to the next level as you secretly hope. In fact, you are concerned a move may derail your advancement opportunities, so the thought of leaving causes you to panic a little. You then begin to think about the potential loss of insurance, pension, and other tangible benefits which does nothing but make you panic even more. You have become afraid of losing out on anything, so you choose to do nothing instead. You are now officially stuck.
- Regret – Sometimes you are stuck because you didn’t take advantage of opportunities when they were presented. You chose to stay in your current job because you were comfortable. Fast forward 10 years and you now realize that may not have been the best choice to make so you are filled with regret. If only you had taken that one job years ago, you would have advanced to senior leadership by now. Regret continues to eat away at you causing you to lose focus on making a change. Instead of moving forward with a new plan to rectify the situation, you stew on the, “what ifs” never making it to the, “what could be” potential. Yes, you are stuck!
- Boredom/Lack of Interest – You have been in your job for what seems like forever. You have become the go to person at the organization and you can pretty much do your work in your sleep if needed. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point. You are good! New people in the organization think you are lightning fast at finding information and getting work done, but truth be told, you have been part of the organization since its inception, so you just know where to find things and who to talk to for information. After years, you grow bored. You lack the interest to learn new things because the organization is not able to reward you for your endeavors, so you sit idle. Instead of learning new things to help you prepare for another position elsewhere, you just keep doing the same things to make the time pass but all the while, you feel trapped.
- Lack of Work/Life Balance – It feels like you are working more than you are not. You bring work home and when you don’t you are on your cell phone talking to others at work or about work. Family and friends have stopped asking you to participate in outside activities because they know you will just say no or make up excuses as to why you can’t join them. You end up in the hospital with stroke like symptoms which, thankfully, turn out to be exhaustion, but now you are concerned. This is your health, so you know a change must be made; however, you are not prepared to quit your job. You have no available options and you did not plan for the change so now you are feeling a bit stressed which only makes matters worse.
- Inability – This is a very tough spot to be in because you are aware and ready to make a change but can’t because you either lack the savings to do so or clear direction on where to go or what to do. This causes you to feel stuck because you do not have a plan in place to guide you down the right path. You feel like you have nowhere to go, and no one to talk to about your situation. You don’t want to share with family because you do not want them to worry so it just eats at you causing you to become very negative about work and everything around you.
- Economy – This is another tough one because you can’t control when the economy will be in a slump. As in the past, you have searched for jobs in your field, but have come up empty handed. Jobs in the industry are not available right now so you are forced to deal with your current situation without an opportunity anywhere in sight. This is not a fun place to be, but you have exhausted your search options and feel there is no other possibility available to you, so you grow impatient and frustrated.
There are many reasons that could have been discussed but I think you get the point so let’s focus on what can be done to make a difference toward getting unstuck.
To counter the feelings of fear, regret and boredom you may want to get a career coach. To combat work/life balance issues you should probably seek the help of a life coach. Perhaps, you are not stuck at all and merely need to re-examine your situation. In this case, a perception change may do the trick. Finally, to tackle your inability to make a change due to your circumstances or because of the state of the economy, you may need to think differently. Below I share in greater deal how to go about changing your situation.
Four things to get UNSTUCK:
- Career Coach – If you lack motivation at this point because you are consumed by fear, regret or boredom but you know you need to make a change, then it is time to get a little support from someone who can help you move forward. In this case I highly recommend hiring a career coach. A career coach is a champion for you, encouraging and guiding you to reach your career goals and objectives no matter what they may be. Disclaimer: A career coach is going to challenge you and require you to complete tailored actions aka homework, that are necessary for you to excel and reach your potential based on YOUR proclaimed career desires. A career coach is not going to hand you a new job. You are still going to have to work hard to find the next job, but a career coach brings many years of experience and a robust network to help guide you down the right path and connect you with the right people to get you closer to success. There are many career coaches out there so be sure to do your homework, so you can find one that is a good fit for you. You can do a generic online search by simply entering keywords in your search engine of choice to see what options are available in your area. You can also do a search on the online personal coaching directory called noomi.com. Either option helps you to get started.
- Life Coach – If you are struggling to gain balance in both your work and personal life, and you have not been able to course correct on your own, then maybe it is time to seek outside help. As mentioned previously, a coach could help you do the job. In this case, I suggest getting a life coach to help you find your balance. Like a career coach, a life coach can inspire you to take-action, such as making a positive life transformation or perhaps help you create a vision that you can turn into your purpose to move you toward life fulfillment. A life coach can even help you cope with the career situation until you are able to make a change. Please note, making changes is not easy. Again, do your homework as mentioned under the career coach section so you can find a life coach that is a good fit for you.
- Perception Change – Although already mentioned, you may feel stuck for many reasons, but have you considered that you might not be trapped at all? Perhaps you have built up in your mind this grand illusion of how things are supposed to be so when they don’t play out as planned you are discouraged and thus, feel trapped. Sometimes we just need to change our perception. Easier said then done, right? Here is a Henry Ford quote I love that often reminds me to re-examine a situation and take my emotions out of the equation. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” This usually helps me squelch those fears because upon further examination, the situation is not as bad as I initially thought. The challenges I may experience at any given moment are usually resolved once the stress within the organization has subsided which tends to occur after a large project launch or other major endeavor. It also reminds me that I shouldn’t compare myself to others because no two people will have the same experiences or opportunities and thus, not the same career progression either. We all work hard and deal with life and all that it has to offer in different ways. Hence, my story book ending and yours will be very different. It is just the facts of life. Finally, it tells me that my desire to change is good if I am doing it for the right reasons. There is a difference in leaving if I am doing so because I want to experience a new challenge vice leaving because I am not getting along with my colleagues and am dealing with wounded feelings. Bottom line, make sure you are leaving on good terms and for the right reasons. If not, then change the way you view the situation and you might be surprised to learn it is not as bad as you think.
- Think Differently – If you lack the ability to move on because you do not have the funds to do so or the economy has made the decision for you, then now is the time to think differently. What do I mean by think differently? It means sometimes you must figure out a way to create an opportunity when a traditional one is not available. For example, you work at an organization that is in desperate need of a particular-skill that you just happen to possess. Unfortunately, you are in a different job and your boss has already told you there is no opportunity for a promotion any time soon; however, he did not say you could not try for another position within the organization. If the position does not exist, you could create an information paper detailing the organization’s challenge and how your skill set can fix the issue and leadership might be so impressed with your initiative that they create a new position just for you. This happens more often than you think. This is especially fitting for interns trying to secure a position with the company after graduation, but it works in other situations too. The point is, you must start thinking of ways to create your own opportunities when other options are not available to you.
In closing, I hope this article has provided you with some options to help you move past those things that are causing you to feel trapped. Please share if you tried any of them or if you experienced a time when you were stuck, but made your way to freedom from the struggle of feeling trapped using another option not mentioned in this article. I am all about furthering the knowledge. Not to mention, you just never know who is reading this article and your experience could potentially help them move forward as well!
Cheering for you always!