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Are you in a career rut?

Alison Martin

Monday, November 12, 2007

Frustrated? One of the greatest career challenges you may encounter is realizing that you’ve reached your career limits in your current position.

You’ll know you are there by the overwhelming feeling of dread you experience as you drag yourself to the office or the painful lack of motivation you have when you motion through your daily tasks. It’s not a rarity. Most people find themselves in this situation at some time during their life, and it can easily be resolved with some clear introspection and the right approach.

Get your career (and mind) back on track with these simple steps:

Take stock of your achievements — Build your confidence by noting your talents and professional accomplishments. Identify the projects you are most proud of and determine what made these experiences fulfilling. Once you’ve identified the most rewarding aspects of your job, ask your manager to incorporate more of these responsibilities into your routine.

Use your voice — Share your ideas diplomatically. More importantly, tell your manager what you can do to contribute and how your efforts will improve results. Sharing your thoughts may also lead to a new project that you can help with; the responsibilities you gain will liven up your regular work routine.

Become a volunteer — Build on your experience and network in your field by volunteering your services. Submitting an article to a trade journal, taking a position on the committee of an organization or becoming a mentor might restore your passion for your career. It will also allow you to interact with others in your field and share your experiences and frustrations.

Broaden your skills — Challenge your mind by developing your professional skills. Local colleges and universities offer business education courses ranging from foreign language instruction to classes on new software applications, and many of them are offered online. Be sure to check your company’s policies to see if they will subsidize your tuition or if they offer any internal training opportunities that may be of interest.

Expand your project scope — Take on a demanding task at work, even if it falls outside your job description. Offering to supervise the intern program or assisting a co-worker is not only beneficial to your company; it can be beneficial to your career. Your initiative is sure to be noticed, and could assist in your move to a better job.

Despite your best efforts, you might still find yourself unchallenged in your role or unhappy with your current career path. In cases like this, your best option is to take an objective look at your situation and determine whether you would be presented with better opportunities for growth in a different company or whether you are better suited to a different profession or industry.

Sometimes, only a substantial change can get you out of the career rut. But, the key is to avoid being consumed by the frustration. By following our steps, you might find your career track veering career satisfaction.