The unsettling feeling of being stuck at work is doing more damage than you’d expect. Feeling stuck can put a strain on you and your work, even though you might very well still be happy with your current job. However, determining the reason why you feel stuck is quite a challenge.
There are plenty of reasons why you might be feeling stuck at work. In fact, it’s probably a complex blend of deep-rooted concerns underlying this feeling. Have a look at some of the most common reasons for people to feel stuck in their careers and try to discover whether your concern is rooted in one of them:
1. Getting too comfortable in a job
Though it may seem tempting, there’s a true risk in getting comfortable in your job. The tasks that once pushed you beyond the borders of your comfort zone are now average at best. They no longer encourage you to grow. You might feel comfortable in this position; however, continuing in this state of mind could eventually cause you to feel stuck. Enjoying continuous growth, inquiry and progress in your job is the ultimate antidote to a plateau.
2. Going against your values
When this is the reason behind your feeling of being stuck, it’s probably time to turn the wheel immediately. A career that’s drifting away from what you aspired based on what you find important in life is not a sustainable option. Staying true to who you are and what you stand for is therefore an effective fix to being stuck in your career.
3. Being too specialized
In some fields being specialized is essential. However, there’s always a risk of overspecialization, with the chance of marginalizing your skills. When you work in a shrinking market, you might be feeling stuck because of the decreasing demand for employees with your specific skill set.
4. Being dependent on the income
Taking on a job that earns you a high and stable income is attractive and not at all bad when you enjoy the job. However, you might be feeling stuck in this job because you’ve grown accustomed to and dependent on the inflow of money and are in no position to leave. If you want to maintain your current lifestyle, that is.
How to not feel stuck
There’s no shame in feeling stuck. A significant part of all employees knows the feeling and deal with it in their own ways. Fortunately, there are guidelines, tips and tricks to help you overcome the sensation and start enjoying your career.
- Surround yourself with the right people
The people make the job. At least, a substantial part of it. When your feeling of being stuck is rooted in the poor atmosphere at work, go out and find your people. There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy your work even more in a different setting. Sharing the burden of a bad day or the happiness after a great success with people that you just click with lightens your mood.
2. Push yourself
When you’re too comfortable in your job, make sure to keep pushing yourself. Keep learning, growing, challenging and developing to tackle the plateau and turn it into a climbing curve.
3. Ask for help
Advice from others can put things in perspective. Whether it’s your partner, sibling, colleague or life coach, some thoughts on the matter from someone other than yourself can truly help you. Good advice can help you identify the feeling of being stuck and support you in your attempt to overcome it.
4. Stay true to yourself
Probably the most valuable of all: remember why you started your career. Is your current job still within margins of this motivation? When you get distracted from the elements you find important in a job, chances are you’ll lose motivation for what you’re doing — and get stuck.
Whenever you feel stuck in your job, try to find out what makes you feel this way. When you determine the reason behind your discomfort at work, act upon it. Feeling stuck is not worth your time nor your energy.
Feeling stuck and actually being stuck are two different things. Don’t get the two mixed up. Remember that feeling stuck is often temporary, and can be solved by adjusting your mindset or actions. Actually being stuck requires more rigorous adjustments, like a career change. Consider your options and don’t throw yourself into something new when the old is still perfectly okay — you just need to ‘unstuck’.