Stuck in a career rut? MEG WALKER gets the experts’ advice on how to fall in love with your job all over again.
As we say farewell to January and look forward to springtime, many of us are wondering whether it’s time to take the next step in our careers. Maybe you’ve been at loggerheads
with your boss or colleague. Maybe you’ve been disillusioned by budget constraints or lack of freedom to make decisions. Maybe, just maybe, you’re simply bored out of your mind.
The good news is you’re not alone. Most of us find ourselves in a career rut at some stage or another, and this time of year naturally heralds this sort of feeling towards work.
You want to up your game, tap into your creativity, enjoy your job again. And this is the perfect opportunity to channel that frustration into newfound energy to drive change – considering your options, getting resourceful, and making a plan. Follow these steps and get ready to love your job again…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
It may be an office cliché, but in this instance, it works. Don’t just think it’s time to leave your job. A career rut doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to quit and pack up. There may be a multitude of options available in your company.
“For some, yes, it may be time for a new job, but for many, it’s about raising their game, navigating their career, asking for more,” says Jane Downes, owner and principal career coach at Clearview Coaching Group (clearviewcoachgroup. com). “Go to your boss and ask if you can take on new work. They’ll appreciate that and be impressed.”
Finally, look at the real reasons why you want to move. Many people want to leave their jobs because of their boss, rather than their actual role. If you have an issue with your boss and you’ve built up goodwill with others in the company, see if you can use this to your advantage, whether that’s by getting involved in a project in another department that will challenge you or working with another team. If you just up and leave your job, all that hard work and late nights disappear, and you’re back to square one.
UPSKILL AND NETWORK
Yes, we hear this all the time, and often we feel there just isn’t a spare moment to devote to this. The fact is, though, you simply cannot afford not to continue to develop your career. It takes time and a bit of dedication. The good news is there are so many ways we can upskill that don’t involve signing up to an MBA. Online courses usually involve maybe a two-year commitment, with tutorials to log into in the evenings, Saturday classes, and perhaps a couple of two-week periods where full-time commitment is needed. At the very least, attending industry talks and workshops can provide you with a wealth of information, new contacts and most importantly, a new sense of hope and inspiration to motivate you.
FACE YOUR FEARS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE RISKS
“I was quite afraid to make the change out of banking and becoming an entrepreneur. At the time, my ex-boss gave me some very good advice – don’t be afraid of change,” says Heidy Rehman, former stockbroker and founder and CEO of career wear brand Rose & Willard (roseandwillard.com). “Someone else once said to me, ‘Never leave something, always go to something.’ Many people leave a job thinking they’ve had enough, but then end up doing something quite similar because they’ll look for jobs that are compatible with what they’ve just done. Fear can often keep us from making changes. But changes can be made in stages. Nothing needs to be absolute and final.”
“If it’s really not working for you and you feel there’s no way out – every day has become intolerable, boring – then it’s time to reassess,” says Downes. “What scares people is that they think the jump is too much and they don’t chunk it down and put steps into place – it might take two years to change career, but working to a plan and taking action will remove the pressure and stress from your work.”
Seeking the advice of a career coach was a strategy that worked for Linda Kearney, who now works as a management accountant at Lulu Guinness in the UK. “I was working as an accountant at a leasing company in Dublin for four years. It was my first job after I qualified. I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I was feeling unmotivated and had lost my confidence.” After working with Clearview, she decided she wanted to move to London and work in fashion. “I needed someone to make me believe I could do that. I handed in my notice before Christmas two years ago, without having a job lined up, then in January I booked a one-way ticket to London, interviewed at Lulu Guinness on the Monday, and got the job on the Wednesday. I worked really hard for my qualification, but now I’m working in an industry that I’m passionate about. My best advice is to invest in yourself. You might decide to stay where you are and just approach your boss about being more challenged.”
This article originally appeared in the February issue of IMAGE magazine, on shelves nationwide now.