Feeling Stuck at Work?

By Mel Sim

Here’s what to do…

It’s 7am in the morning, the alarm clock rings signaling it’s time to go to work. Previously, you would jump out of bed, get ready and feel super excited about starting a new week. Recently? You just wish you could crawl back into bed because nothing seems to excite you anymore about work.

Sounds familiar? You, my friend, probably feels stuck at work. Like you don’t know why you are even working anymore, the work doesn’t excite you, nothing new seems to be coming your way, and you even wonder maybe it’s time to move on!

It’s a career rut and like every other rut you might experience in your life, it makes you feel unmotivated. The thing is, being stuck from time to time is common and there are many reasons why you might be feeling this way. For starters, maybe there really isn’t anything happening at work at the moment! Or maybe you need to be challenged to step out of your comfort zone but there’s no one to really push you to do it. You could also feel like there’s nothing else to learn and unfortunately, your company isn’t very progressive at upskilling its talent. Or maybe you took the job because the money is good… but even that super pay cheque can lose its luster over time.

The problem with feeling stuck is that people notice. Because you aren’t exactly putting in the same amount of effort into work now and you aren’t as gung-ho about things as you used to be. Your boss is bound to notice that your enthusiasm has waned and you’re not your usual chirpy, ready to jump into action at any time. Unfortunately, this can cause your career to plummet too as your boss starts to question if maybe you’re not in it for the long term.

So what should you do before that feeling of being unstuck affects your future at your job? Try these:

#1 Revisit your vision for the future
Your priorities may have changed now that you’re well into your career. Maybe you’re after something more challenging now… or maybe you just want to slow down from a job that had been super stressful recently. Whatever the case, what you need to do is sit down and write what it is that you want out of your career. That answer will help you decide if maybe your current job can fulfil it and what you need to do to get there, even if it means looking for a new job.

#2 Reignite your passion
Think of why you took up this position in the first place. Always wanted to learn more things about digital marketing but things aren’t exactly going your way? Speak to the boss to see if you can realign your work expectations. Loved your job in the beginning because of the challenges it offered but find that it’s a little bit boring now? Again, ask the boss if you can have some new responsibilities so you can feel excited about work once more.

#3 Look for inspiration
Maybe it’s a colleague or even your boss. Or maybe it’s someone well known in the industry. Expand your network to include those you aspire to be and learn from them. This can quickly help you find your lost love for your job and even inspire you to go further. Another good way is to find a career mentor who can help you overcome whatever you’re feeling right now and steer you in the right direction.

#4 Evaluate how you’re spending time at work
Are you doing routine things at work that you feel doesn’t make a difference whether it is done or not? If this is the case, there’s no wonder why you feel stuck and inspired at the job. Think of your day to day and write down what gets you excited. If there is something that clearly sticks out and you want to explore it, chart out your path and speak to the boss about it to see if this is something you can explore within your role.

#5 Don’t overthink it!
Sometimes it’s just a temporary thing but we tend to overthink the whole stuck thing and wonder if there’s really no way forward in the current role. This can consume your mind and make you feel less and less excited about work because all you see are the negatives. How about you leave it alone for a while? Forget the fact that you’re feeling stuck and find inspiration elsewhere that’s not work related. Maybe you can pick up that neglected hobby or make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read (and actually read them!). This can help you divert all that negativity about work and maybe give you a renewed goal that can help you feel excited about work once more.

But if even after doing all that and more and you still feel stuck… you need to give your career a good and hard long look to see if that feeling of being stuck is just a temporary thing or if it is permanent and not going away. If it is the latter, then most likely a new job or an entirely new role is the only solution.

Photo by Anthony Da Cruz on Unsplash

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