Stuck in a career rut? You are not alone!
Why do so many of us find ourselves miserable and paralysed by our career when we know we should be doing something to get unstuck? What can we do about it?
For some people fear is what keeps us tied into an unhappy job. Take "Annie" as an example. She had fallen into accountancy after university, worked hard to get qualified, earned a comfortable salary and had been bored for years in the same job at the same firm. She felt she was in a rut…a comfortable rut that paid fairly well and was secure. When she came to coaching she felt very stuck and didn’t know what she wanted to do. The biggest fear was keeping still for long enough to explore what she wanted.
Maybe it’s a fear of emptiness - that if we look inside ourselves we won't find a life purpose, or career purpose, or whatever it is that makes getting out of bed in the morning worthwhile. So where might we draw the strength from to work through this fear of emptiness?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Allow yourself plenty of time to discover what's important. Think about what you want, rather than what you should be doing. There's no pressure to act on your thoughts or to make big changes...just allow yourself to be aware of what's important to you.
2. Read biographies of people you admire. As you read think about what resonates with you...their values, their approach to adversity, their approach to success. What does this mean for you? What values do you share with them? What does their journey through life tell you about what's important for you?
3. Do the Life Wheel exercise (see Resources page of www.aspirecc.co.uk) and consider what's important in each area of your life, what your achievements have been and what you have appreciated the most.
4. Use Post-it notes to describe your career to date, using one Post-it note for each thing. Include achievements as well as things you enjoyed doing. When you get to 30 or more pick out 10 Post-it notes that represent the 10 things that you would find the most difficult to give up. What do these 10 things say about what's important to you? What would you find easy to give up? What does this say about what’s important to you?
5. Imagine you were 16 again (yikes!!). With the benefit of all the experiences you had what might you consider doing differently? What advice might you give your 16 year-old self?
6. Keep a private journal for all of these reflections, thoughts, feelings and dreams. Let it evolve over time and see what themes are coming through for you. Eventually your career values will become clear in these themes.
"This striving to find a meaning in one's life is the primary motivational force in man."
Victor Frankl, Man's search for meaning.