How to Avoid a Stalled Career

Business.com / Career / Last Modified: March 16, 2017

Signs You Have Let Your Career Stall - Sunday night blues.

Sunday night blues. It’s a real thing. In fact 76% of Americans say they experience the Sunday night blues; and it’s one sign that you’ve let your career stall. Letting your career stall isn’t just bad for your professional life but for your personal life, too.

Half of Americans spend more time at work than with family. Although people say you should keep your personal and professional lives separate, you can’t help but let one affect the other, particularly if you are suffering in either your personal or professional life. What I mean is, if your career has stalled and you dread the idea of work, it’s likely that this is going to affect your personal life as well as your professional one.

Here are three reasons that your career may be stalling:

You're stuck in autopilot

Does it feel like time just seems to pass? I’m not talking about the whole 'time flies when you’re having fun' kind of passing of time; instead, every day just feels the same, and it’s hard to distinguish between what you did on Monday or Thursday. If you feel like this, and you can’t think of a recent work accomplishment you are proud of, then chances are you are living your professional life on autopilot. You may well realize this and think “I should get a new job,” “I should find some work I actually like” or whatever other goals you may have set to get yourself out of this rut. But instead of doing what you ’should’ do, you wind up doing nothing. It becomes a cycle of missed opportunities and passing time.

You can't stop procrastinating

We've all experienced this at some time. However, if you are procrastinating when it comes to your career, then you can definitely end up letting your career stall. You may know deep down that you need a change of career, but this soon turns into, “I will just keep this job a bit longer” or “I will look for a job next.” This is an ongoing cycle that needs to be broken in order for you to get your career back on track.

You aren't considering the future

You have no idea what you want to do next in your career. You have lost your way on your career path. You may well have come into the professional world with a clear career path and goals you wanted to reach, but somewhere along the way, that once clear-cut vision started to get blurry. Now you are at a point where you don’t even know where you are or where you want to go. Because of this, you just don’t do anything.

 

If you're experiencing any of those instances, it's important that you take initiative before they become detramental. So what, exactly, can you do?

Be aware of it

It may not seem like much but even just confirming that you are going to do something is a bigger step than saying you should do it. It’s about being active rather than passive and if you get the message into your head that you will do something, then you are actually more likely to do it. 

Plan

Make a plan. Changing career is a big step, and this can be hard to do without preparing yourself. It’s easy to let it slide and keep putting it off. Instead, if you make a plan with deadlines, you are more likely to complete steps to getting your career going again. The long term goal can seem far off and scary; and therefore, your plan should include lots of short term steps leading up to the long term goal. This way, you will feel like you are achieving something.

Consider rewards

Think about what rewards you would get from taking steps to help your career. If you change career would you get to spend more time with family, better salary or benefits, or even more interesting work? Focus on the positives that will come from making a change and how your life will be better for it. This will undoubtedly make you more motivated.

Get help

If you are truly stuck in what you can do to improve your career, get help. There are so many resources out there to help you explore different options including career and training information. Try books, coaches, programs and even online articles (like this one!). There are hundreds out there, and they can really help you focus your mind and get you on the right track. Ask for help from those around you too. They can help you realize your passions and encourage you to make a change. 

Don’t let excuses get in the way of a thriving career.  It is your responsibility to make sure you don’t keep falling into these traps. It’s never too late and now is the time to make a change and get your career back on track.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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