Ever feel like you’re on a highway that’s not moving? Or maybe others are speeding around you and you can’t seem to keep pace?
As with anything that gets stuck: keys, a jar, a car…sometimes you just have to try something new, jimmy it, or shake yourself free to regain traction. If you’re feeling stuck in your job, it might be time for a career change.
Put your emotions aside for a minute. The more frustrated you get, the less soundly you can operate and make intelligent decisions. Break your situation down like any other problem.
1. What’s causing the problem? Is there an accident ahead (like a specific person causing problems for you)? How can you remove the obstacle or find a path around it?
2. Are you alone or are others affected too? Talk to others in your office, company, or field and ask them if they’re having similar issues. Find out more about their challenges and and ask what they’re doing about it. Just having others to commiserate with can help you get through tough positions and even see new perspectives.
3. Survey other options. Go online, talk to friends, or visit with the head of HR. See what else might be out there or around for you to take advantage of. Are there any resources available that can help you reassess what’s best for you right now?
4. Call roadside assistance. Figure out who you can reach out to who can help you look at your situation objectively, even roll up their sleeves, and help dig you out.
5. Look for an off ramp. If you’re stuck, maybe it’s not just situational, maybe you’re just mentally done with the circumstances and are ready for something new. If you are really finding yourself miserable and angry on a regular basis, and you spend most of your time at work watching or resentful of others who seem to be moving way faster and smoother than you, think about a bigger move.
Just whatever you do, don’t act too rash. Your career is still a vehicle that can make or break your life. Jerk your car forward without thinking and you could rear end someone. Swerve off to the side and you could sideswipe another car. Give up and abandon your car, and you could inconvenience a lot of other people or seriously disrupt the flow of a much larger system.
Whatever your answers to the questions above, spend the time to think through things clearly. Sleep on it (just not while driving.) Learn to recognize when something is just the sign of a bad day, a short term challenge or whether it’s the root of a much bigger issue that finally needs to be addressed.