There was a time in my career when things were going amazing! I was getting promoted often, I was making more and more money and I was constantly feeling fulfilled and excited with the work I was doing. It was a great period of career bliss for me.
It’s hard to say exactly what happened, when it all started to unravel. Whether it was me who started to become less interested in the work I was doing, or it was the challenges that came with working at an organization that was experiencing stagnant growth.
What ever the reason, I found myself in a career slump. A slump where nothing much was happening, I was stuck in the same job for longer than I wanted to be and I no longer felt excited about the work that I was doing. And it sucked.
I want to share the things that helped me survive my career slump and what I did to get unstuck. I think this can help you too!
1 - Acknowledge what’s going on.
You can’t deal with your problem if you haven't yet admitted you have a problem. Stop telling yourself and everyone else that things are going great at work. They aren’t, you’re in a career slump, remember.
One of the ways you can move out of a slump is by asking for help (more on that below) but you can’t ask for help if you aren’t honest with yourself and others about your current work situation.
Don’t be afraid to say, “You know what, things aren’t going as good as I’d like these days.” or “I actually am feeling stuck in my career right now.” or “You know, I’m thinking I need to find work that is more meaningful to me at this point in my life.”
All of these responses are what you need to hear to get yourself in gear and start taking action and it’s what other people need to hear in order to know that you may need their help, a referral, a connection or an idea to help you move on.
Be ok with acknowledging what’ s going on. It’s better that way :)
2 - Do what you gotta do!
So you’re in a slump and you hate your job. I know it’s tough! When I was experiencing a career slump of my own, I daydreamed about walking into the office and making a bold declaration about how I was leaving and going out to seek work that mattered. My day dream ended with a grand, “I quit” as I slammed the door and never looked back.
I wanted to do it so bad, but I didn’t. And you shouldn’t either. Not until you have a plan in place.
Look, you have bills to pay right, you have responsibilities and walking out and quitting on a whim is not going to make things any easier.
Figure out how to improve your current work situation or start working on your exit strategy. Do what you you gotta do while you sort it out. You’ll feel a lot better knowing you won’t be evicted while looking for a new job!
3 - Assess the situation. In other words...can it be salvaged?
A career slump, sometimes is just that, a slump not a funeral. It may not be over at your current employer, perhaps you just need a change or a challenge to reinvigorate you?
Assess the situation and find out before making any bold moves.
You can do this by really considering what it is that’s got you feeling blah about work. Maybe you haven’t done anything new lately that excites you. Maybe you need more movement or some change in what you do. Perhaps a different department or team could get you out of the slump. Maybe you’re ready to try a new type of work at your current organization.
If you think your career slump can be rectified by talking to your boss about some new options or ideas, then don’t hesitate! Have the conversation. It’s ok to admit that you’d like to take on something different. That may be exactly what you need to get your career mojo back!
4 - Look for other ways to do what interests you.
When I was feeling stuck in my career slump the biggest issue that I had with my work was that it wasn’t meaningful to me. I felt like the what I was doing didn’t matter. All I kept thinking was why should I be spending more than 40 hours a week doing something that didn’t matter!
So I decided to do more of what mattered to me outside of work in order to fulfill those feelings of purpose. And it worked! All of a sudden, the soul sucking, meaningless job was less of a drain because my free time was filled with things I cared about and interested me.
This is a great way to explore new career options as well. Testing out things that inspire you while you're still working gives you clarity on what you need or want to do in your next career phase.
5 - Take action every day.
A career slump can leave us paralyzed and confused about what to do next. This is why it feels so crappy and why they call it a slump! But I encourage you to stop wallowing in your dull career sadness and do something about it.
The most effective way I know how to change any situation is by taking action, even very small actions can add up to a big impact and help pull you out of your slump.
Whether you decide getting a new job is the key, focusing on how you spend your personal time or talking to your boss about your current work situation one tiny step each day will get you closer to your end goal and make the path more clear.
6 - Ask for help.
Do you like helping others? If a friend asked you for a favor would you be likely to do it? Most of you would answer yes to those questions. And most of your friends, family members and colleagues would too! So don't hesitate to ask them for help.
If you want to look for another job or explore another industry then ask someone that knows about those things to introduce you or to keep you in mind should they hear of a great opportunity. Have coffee with a mentor, look for someone whose brain you can pick. Tell people what you want and ask for their help in getting it. You won’t be sorry you did.
I’m sorry you’re experiencing a career slump. Anyone in your situation would be frustrated right now, but I can assure you, you will get through this! With some support and by taking consistent action you can make change and re-create or launch your dream career!
Thanks for reading!