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How to Break Out of A Career Rut

How to Break Out of A Career Rut


By Rowe Leathers
Contributor and Career Coach, APUS

On average, workers stay at a job for 4.6 years. Many leave for better opportunities; others leave simply to get out of a rut. Feeling like we are stuck in a rut makes going to work challenging and uninspiring. When we can no longer believe our work is worthwhile, we start to look elsewhere for inspiration.

During a recent conversation I had with a client, she told me about her passion to help people. That passion gave her the clarity and strength to make a change in her workplace environment. Although she liked her administrative position, she did not care for the corporate environment in which she worked.

Self-Reflection Can Help You Discover Your Ideal Job and Leave the Career Rut

Self-reflection helped her uncover that her ideal job would be to continue doing what she already does, but with a non-profit organization. There, she would be working with people with similar values and who were putting their efforts toward helping others.

If you find yourself in a career rut, be sure you are clear about what you want to walk away from before you jump ship. Is it your job or your career?

A Skills Inventory Might Help You Identify A New Career Path

If the answer to the above question is your job, then a change of scenery might be the answer. However, if you feel your career has hit a dead end, a skills inventory might be what you need to identify a new career path.

Identify your strongest skills and determine the potential roles that value them. Do you love data analytics or excel in project management? If so, be sure to use these key skills in your search.

Also, identify your passion and then consider looking for a similar position in a different industry. See if you can find a role where you can make a difference. Sometimes, a simple change in environment will reignite your passion and allow you to do what you do best.

If a new career is what you seek, be realistic. There are challenges in starting a new career. Research what it will take to establish yourself in a new field, and decide whether it will be worth your time and effort to change course.

While it may take time and sacrifice, work that is inspirational will energize your soul and bring a special excellence to your tasks that management will be sure to notice. Perhaps then the opportunities you seek will come to you rather than having to chase them.