“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.” – Eckhart Tolle
How many of you remember Chandler giving up his successful career in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration because he realises that the job did not make him happy. How many times have you thought of doing the same? But it sounds too risky, doesn’t it? To give up your entire career to go after something that you know nothing about.
Sure, Chandler had Monica to support him and he was lucky enough to land the role of Junior Copywriter right after his internship but what if you are not that lucky? Also, surviving at an unpaid internship in your thirties, it’s scary, right? It’s something that can only happen in fiction. It’s just not feasible. But then again, are you happy with your current job? How long can you go on like this? Working and not feeling fulfilled? You will have to change that eventually, right?
The lucky thing is that you don’t need to act on an impulse and leave your job right away. That’s right! What you can do is first identify what it is that you really want to do and create a career plan accordingly. After that, you will have to gather all the knowledge and skills that you will need for your new job and once you find a new job, you can make a career switch.
What happened? It sounds too good to be true? But what if we tell you that with the right strategy and guidance, it is not that difficult. And no, we are not one of those motivational speakers who expect you to give up your whole life in the snap of a finger. What we want is for you to take calculated steps to move towards the life that you want.
Let us now explore how you can move ahead in your career and achieve professional growth.
Reasons for Feeling Stuck in Your Career
If you are feeling stuck in your career, you will be glad to learn that you are not alone. There comes a time in every professional’s life where they feel stagnant. A study by Oracle reveals that more than 75% of individuals feel stuck either personally or professionally. There can be a variety of reasons for why you are feeling stuck in your career. Indeed lists some of the major reasons professionals feel stuck as:
- You are not passionate about the work you are doing
- You don’t feel appreciated at your current profile
- Your skills are not being optimally utilised
- You have stayed too long at your current job
- You are afraid that if you change your job, you will end up getting a lower salary
- You are too comfortable at your current workplace
- Your skills are no longer relevant
These golden handcuffs that are stopping you from making career changes tighten with time. Therefore, you end up feeling even more stuck. It can also lead to frustration, burnout and a prolonged lack of fulfilment. It, thus, becomes important to take action when you start feeling stuck in your career.
How to Advance in Your Career and Not Feel Stuck?
The State of the Global Workforce report states that around 60% of workers find themselves to be “emotionally detached” from the work. It further reported that over 50% of employees find themselves stressed on a daily basis. These numbers are alarming. A survey conducted by Deloitte also found similar results. In fact, it reported that nearly one-third of the employees were ready to quit their jobs even when they didn’t have another opportunity at hand.
Neri Karra Sillaman, the Professor of Practice in Strategy and an Entrepreneurship Expert at the University of Oxford, calls this the “Great Frustration.” She is of the opinion that the main reason people feel stuck in their career is because their work does not excite them. In an article published in the Harvard Business Review, Sillaman shares a “4 R” formula that can help overcome this feeling. Let us discuss it in detail.
Sillaman points out that people have three types of outlooks towards their work- a job, a career or a calling. She states that the way we look at our work can change a lot of things. She shares the example of her mother who used to work as a cleaner at a medical factory. Sillaman pointed out that since her mother used to think of her work as a calling, she was able to realise the larger impact she was able to create on a large number of people’s lives. Therefore, a lot of times, what we have to do is to change our outlook on things.
You must ask yourself what is the true purpose of your job. You must also ask yourself why you picked that job in the first place and did you always dislike it. If not, then what changed in the following years that made you feel stuck. Once you find the answers to all these questions, it will be much easier to find things that can make your work life more fulfilling.
The next step for overcoming the feeling of being stuck in your career is to reexamine your work. You must conduct a detailed analysis of all your problems. You must contemplate whether your job is making you unhappy or you have outgrown your tasks. Once you identify these reasons, only then you can spring towards a more fulfilling career.
The next step in making your job more fulfilling is to redesign your work to ensure that it is aligned with your interests and passions. This will make sure that your work excites you and brings value to your life. Thus, you will feel more motivated to advance in your career. “Job crafting… the act of redesigning the specific work you do to match your personal strengths and values and thus amplify the sense of meaning you get from your job” says Amy Wrzesniewski, the Organisational Psychologist at the Yale School of Management.
Lastly, if you are feeling stuck in your career, then you must think about retraining yourself. Today, industries are changing within the blink of an eye. Thus, the skills that were crucial to your job a couple of years ago might not even be relevant today. So, you must look for opportunities to develop relevant skills and stay up-to-date with the recent happenings in the industry. For this, you can consider enrolling into professional courses such as MBA, PGDM, etc. These courses will brush your existing skills and enhance your knowledge.
Unlock Growth Opportunities with Upskilling
Even though Sillaman’s formula is utterly effective for career advancement, in order to move ahead in your career, you need to acquire certain new skills and brush up your existing ones. Thus, upskilling and reskilling are crucial for career development. It will help you to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the industry. Thus, you will stay relevant in a market landscape that is changing faster than the speed of light. In the following section, we are going to discuss certain ways in which you can upskill to stand-out among your competitors:
1. Upskill with In-Demand Certifications
The most important thing that you must do to upgrade your knowledge is to see what businesses today are looking for. Based upon this analysis, you must shortlist certain courses that interest you. By doing so, you will ensure that your skillset is in alignment with what corporations require and will give you an edge while looking for a job. Some of the most in-demand certifications are:
- Project Management Certifications
- Data Science Certifications
- Digital Marketing Certifications
- Business Analyst Certifications
- AI & ML Certifications
2. Upgrade Education for Management Positions
If you are looking to enter the higher management or top leadership positions in a business organisation, then you must take up a course that will help you gain necessary leadership skills while also familiarising you with the various core functions in a business organisation. For this, you must look for courses like MBA, PGDM, and other Leadership Development Programmes. These courses will familiarise you with the various nooks and crannies of the business world.
3. Choosing the Right Courses and Certifications
A common mistake that most people make while looking for a course is that they end up choosing a field that doesn’t interest them. In order to avoid making this mistake, you must first evaluate your interests and ambitions. Based upon these, you must set certain career goals for yourself. Now, all you have to do is decide what course or certification will bring you closer to your goals.
4. Embrace Digitalisation: Study Online
If you are concerned that you will have to give up your existing job in order to acquire the skills required to move ahead, then you are absolutely wrong. Online learning has made it possible for professionals to upgrade their knowledge while continuing their job. It not only offers flexibility but is also found to be more effective than traditional learning. This is because of the fact that in the case of online learning, students have to engage in certain discussions and quizzes, by using many online tools. This makes learning more participative and interactive.
Feeling stuck in a career is something that we all go through at some point in life. Sometimes our jobs stop making us fulfilled and sometimes we develop other passions. Whatever might be the reason, it is necessary to take the right steps when you start feeling stuck. The “4R” strategy mentioned above can prove to be a game changer for your career as well as your overall life.
Aayushi is an avid reader, writer and travel enthusiast. She has been working as a Content Creator for 8 years and has been employed in the Education industry for the last two years. She has worked in multiple niches. She is always looking for opportunities to learn new things and grow; and wants to contribute maximum to the cause of education, upholding the Sustainable Development Goal 4.