Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Break Out of a Career Rut

It happens to even the most dedicated professionals: suddenly a job or a career path that used to inspire you becomes downright draining. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, don’t worry. Take these steps and you’ll find yourself reinvigorated and excited to get to work once again:

Locate the source of the problem

You may think you need to change career paths entirely, when really it’s something about your current role specifically that has you feeling less-than-thrilled. Before you start looking at making a switch or going back to school, stop to consider the source of your unhappiness. Are you bored at work and ready for a new challenge? Are you feeling physically and emotionally drained by long hours? Do you have a nagging boss who can never seem to utter the words “thank you” or “please”? Zeroing in on why exactly you’re feeling so dissatisfied helps you to correct the problem more effectively.

Don’t do anything drastic

When you’re unhappy in your career, it can feel tempting to do something bold in order to correct the situation. Why not throw all your papers up in the middle of the air and announce you’re quitting to go backpacking across Europe? Why not leave and start your own business? But while these ideas may give you a burst of energy at the time, they’re not always long-term, sustainable solutions. Before you act, come up with a solid plan. Weigh the pros and cons of your choices. Talk to people who have followed a similar path before. Do some research. A carefully coordinated plan is much more effective than acting quickly and then spending months trying to undo the damage.

Give it some time

Realize that everyone feels discontent with their job from time to time. If you once loved your line of work, don’t be so quick to assume that you need to make a major change. Maybe you’re going through an especially busy or boring time at the office, or are working on a project that doesn’t really strike your fancy. Allow yourself to get through this period and then reevaluate. You may find that you fall back in love with your profession again over time.

When you decide a change is necessary, take action

If you’ve really given the situation some thought and it’s clear that nothing’s improving, it’s time to take action. Instead of sitting at your desk daydreaming about a different life, start taking steps (even small ones) to make some changes. If you don’t, you’ll end up feeling even more frustrated, which can start to negatively impact your mental health. Come up with a realistic plan and then get to work.

How did you navigate through a rut in your career? Let us know in the comments!

Image: Wavebreak Media Ltd/

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.

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