Stagnation. Monotony. Disengagement.

I’ve felt the weight of a career rut at some point in my 18 years of professional experience. You show up everyday, but you start losing interest in what you do and you find yourself looking at job openings during your spare time. Each day feels like a repetitive cycle with no end in sight.

In this fast-paced world, it’s all too easy to find ourselves trapped in a professional stalemate. These ruts can leave us feeling stuck and unfulfilled.

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This feeling even gets stronger especially during the beginning of the year. I feel you and I understand you. Good news is that actually the solution is just within your grasp. Let me share with you how to get unstuck from a career rut and rediscover your passion.

🔎 Do a self-audit.

When I was feeling stuck with my career, the first thing that I did was to question myself. Why is my current situation such? What could possibly be the causes?

Self-audits helped me pinpoint the specific areas causing dissatisfaction or stagnation. I reflected on my work, the work environment, personal development, and alignment with my values and goals.I also assessed my skills, strengths, weaknesses, and interests during that time.

When you’re auditing yourself, you become more responsible for your growth because you take ownership of your path. This is the biggest lesson I gained from examining my past experiences and patterns. We are in a rut because there are recurring situations in our professional and personal life that we don’t resolve. We don’t pay attention to missteps and obstacles and somewhere in here may be the root cause of our career rut.

By doing a self-audit, you can get insights that could help you create a new strategy for your career.

🔎 Find a new hobby or rekindle your love for an old one.

Another practical advice that I can share with you is to focus on seeing the spark life used to offer to you. In my case, it was helpful to revisit my forgotten hobbies and start exploring new ones. 

When you start forgetting hobbies that made you feel fulfilled, life becomes less creative which then triggers a career rut. Revisiting your forgotten hobbies help you remember important and meaningful experiences you had in the past. Trying new hobbies also help you discover new aspects of yourself that used to be hidden or unknown. 

The benefits of hobbies aren’t just limited to personal enjoyment. They can have a ripple effect which can positively influence various aspects of your life including your career.

It’s okay to feel uninspired at times. It’s part of the human experience. The key is to acknowledge it and take proactive steps to rediscover what brings meaning and joy into your life. Here’s my blogpost on sparking your creative spirit.

🔎 Change your daily routine.

When things become too familiar with you, you will suddenly feel that your job is not challenging enough. Worse, you might also feel that your job is leading you to a dead end. Changing your daily routine can make life more interesting. Take a bike ride to work, for example, instead of driving your car. You can also cook instead of buying meals at lunch, or you can spend more time in the company lounge or gym. These small changes help you gain new experiences and perspectives of your job that might not have been possible when you were still stuck with your old routine.

These small changes also signal that life constantly evolves and that you too must adapt to these.

🔎 Go back to your why’s.

Work can become very difficult and boring when you lose the reason why you wanted the job in the first place. Forgetting your purpose and the bigger meaning behind your work can be very frustrating. That frustration leads to unhealthy habits, dissatisfaction, and a career rut. Your judgment of your worth can become clouded because you’re losing sight of who you want to be. This is a pretty common experience among adult professionals, but they got out of that because they went back to their ‘why.’

One mature approach on how to get unstuck from a career rut is to go back to the reason why you took your current career path. Sometimes your job might be your dream job but because you did not expect that it would be too underwhelming or overwhelming, you end up being stuck in a career rut. However, our current circumstances are shaped by our past decisions.

Pondering on your ‘why’ helps you understand and remember your purpose. Although your purpose might change or has changed, going back to why you got into your current job helps you see the bigger picture.

🔎 Update your CV or resume.

This can be a catalyst for getting out of a career rut. While updating your CV, you’re forced to reflect on your experiences, skills, and achievements. This process can reignite a sense of accomplishment and remind you of your strengths. Your CV is a tangible reminder of your capabilities and can positively impact your mindset when networking or applying for new roles.

As you update your CV, you’ll likely consider where you want to go next in your career. This exercise prompts you to align your skills and experiences with your aspirations, providing clarity about your professional direction. You might notice areas where you lack certain skills or experiences. This recognition can prompt you to seek out opportunities for growth and development.

This whole task is a reflective process that can reignite motivation, clarify goals, and prepare you for new opportunities, all of which can help pull you out of a career rut.

If you need guidance on how to take this reflective process, I have a course that may be relevant for you. It’s called Building Your Brand Equity Even As An Employee.

I always want to end things on a positive note. Remember that career ruts are often temporary. They might indicate a period of stagnation or a need for change, but they’re seldom permanent. Things can and do change. Actually, being stuck can be an opportunity for redirection. It might push you to explore new interests, learn new skills, or even change paths entirely, leading to a more fulfilling career.

It’s a natural part of the career journey and can lead to positive outcomes. To get unstuck from a career rut requires a proactive and an open mindset.

Are you finding it tough to get unstuck in a career rut? Share your obstacles below and maybe we can help you out!

Here’s 20 Journal prompts to answer for when you are feeling stuck in your career. Try them out!

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Maria Nerizza S. Veloso-Liyanage

A big believer in wondering, I founded Snippets of Wonders in hope of it being your Creative Learning Hub. Through stories, life lessons, strategies, ideas, resources, and courses, shared on this site, may I inspire you to keep wondering. For me, there’s always an option to live life differently…only if we WONDER enough!

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