How to Get Out of Your Career Rut

how to deal with a career rut

It doesn’t matter if you landed your dream job right out of school or worked ten years to get the promotion you’ve always wanted; everyone eventually suffers career burnout, and even the most exciting job in the world can turn into monotony over time. If your job feels more stressful than it used to or you’re starting to second-guess your career choice, you may be stuck in a career rut. Instead of uprooting your entire life, you are a few steps to get out of it more easily.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Doing the same things the same way day after day will eventually bore anyone in virtually any job. Instead of sticking to your usual day-to-day routine, start looking for things to improve things in your working environment to streamline your processes and increase your comfort level at work, within reason. A few suggestions for shaking things up include:

  • Clean and reorganize your workspace. This isn’t just hygienic, it’s also good for your mental health. It can be interesting to change things up and rearrange your daily surroundings occasionally.
  • Get the right tools. How many days have you made do with the tools at hand because it was more convenient but ultimately less efficient? Take an inventory of what you have and what could be better, then make those changes.
  • Change your routine. If you do certain tasks in the morning, try working on them in the afternoon for a different perspective.
  • Ask for help from colleagues. Sometimes, we become too self-contained in our workplace. Asking for some help from others builds bridges in the workplace and can transform your workplace experience.
  • Keep up with technological changes. The digital workplace is changing all the time. If you use specific systems for specific tasks, consider whether better technology has replaced older systems.

Set New Goals and Create a Strategy to Achieve Them

Once you’ve considered these ways to shake things up, start thinking of new goals to set for yourself. These goals could pertain to specific work processes, personal goals, continuing education, or advancing your career in a new direction. In many cases, a career rut is just a career track waiting to happen; all it takes to start the process is motivation and dedication to making change happen. Outline action items, milestones, and a timeline for the goals you want to accomplish in your career, from single projects to yearly goals and career track advancement.

Look for Opportunities and Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Stretching yourself is the best way to break out of a box if you’re starting to feel trapped by your career. Look for opportunities to show your skills and experience and don’t shy away from risks. Perhaps your company recently posted a job listing that was more of what you hoped to land when you accepted your current job. Even if you have doubts about your qualifications, apply anyway. It never hurts to try, and taking a leap like this could be incredibly rewarding in the long run.

Ask for Advice

There is no one answer for how to get out of a career rut. Almost everyone will eventually feel some type of burnout from work, and the key to overcoming it may be as simple as changing your perspective. Input from others can be incredibly helpful, too. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues and supervisors for their advice. Friends and colleagues with similar jobs at other employers may offer useful tips, too. You may know someone with a position similar to yours who has experienced the same burnout, and a sympathetic ear can be just what you need to change your perspective and escape your career rut.

Additional resources: