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Published on April 15, 2019

Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm

Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm

While we are creatures of habits, our habits can quickly become stale, leaving us feeling stuck or unsatisfied in certain areas of our lives. This is especially true for individuals who have been working in one position for many years.

The truth is that it is natural to feel stuck during points in your life and these moments exist to remind you that you are always growing and evolving, and crave change after a while of doing the same thing day in and day out.

Regardless of whether you feel stuck because you are unsatisfied and are looking for more out of your career path, or because things have simply become repetitive and you need to find more joy and purpose in your current position, here is why you feel the way you do and what you can do about it!

Why You May Feel Stuck in Your Career

You may be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a few reasons why you may feel stuck in your job after being on your chosen career path for years or even decades.

Let us go through some of the most common ones and see if you can find one that you can relate to!

1. You’re Undervaluing Your Worth and Your Abilities

No matter which career path you have chosen, you are going to experience competition.

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While teamwork is an important part of employment and you have to be able to cooperate with your coworkers, you are also expected to be great at your job and can only secure a position if you prove that you are one of the best people who has applied for the position.

That being said, once you secure a position, it can be easy to take a look around and determine that it would be hard to move up due to the misconception that others are “better than you”.

The problem with this type of thinking is that it can prevent you from moving forward while others continue to excel. No one is better than you! You have your own set of skills and strengths that give you a competitive advantage in comparison to others.

You can leverage those strengths to get to where you want to be in your career. Undervaluing your worth and abilities and not moving on because of this is one reason why you may feel stuck in your job.

2. You’ve Become Too Comfortable (and Have Lost Sight of What Matters)

If you’re not someone who is experiencing self-doubt that has prevented you from moving forward, you may simply feel stuck because you have become too comfortable where you are.

Learning new skills and being re-trained for a position can be a daunting task, and it can be easier to say, “I’d rather stay in a position where I know what I’m doing.” It doesn’t help if this position provides you with enough money to lead a comfortable lifestyle.

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You may be comfortable but comfort doesn’t equal contentedness. Your comfort may be the main contributing factor to your feeling of being trapped in your job.

If you’ve settled for your job because it provides enough for you, evaluate the reasons behind this choice to settle and seek comfort rather than progress or purpose.[1]

3. Your Work Doesn’t Challenge or Fulfill You

Your career path is generally one that you have some passion for, or one that you enjoy. It is also one that should inspire growth and should keep you engaged and challenged throughout the course of your career.

During the course of your career, you may find yourself at a plateau where your work is no longer challenging or you are no longer finding the value in what it is that you are doing. If this is the case for you, ask yourself, when did this happen? Why don’t you feel the same way you do about your work as you did before? Where did you lose that sense of purpose?

Only by figuring out where things have dropped off will you be able to pick up the pieces and begin to enjoy the qualities that attracted you to your position in the first place.

What You Can Do About It

Being stuck can leave you feeling helpless, but your life is in your hands. If you’re feeling stuck in your career, take control of the wheel with some of the helpful tips listed below!

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1. Determine Your Personal Needs

Feeling stuck is like feeling hungry or tired; it means that there are needs that need to be met that are not being met at the moment.

Sometimes, this results in a complete change of direction in terms of your career path; and other times, it means that you just need to tweak some of the current aspects of your job so that you can continue to love it.

The most important thing you can do right at this moment is to figure out what you need and lack in your career. Is your career providing for you? If so, what parts don’t you like about it and what things do you need to change to fall in love with your job again? If not, what career do you want and what skills will you need to learn to get there?

Once you figure out some of these harder questions, you will be better able to change your course to reach your destination.

2. Make a Plan That Will Help You Get There

Whether you’ve chosen to stick with your current position or go for a completely new one, you can’t just wing it. You need to make a solid plan that will help you to get to where you need to be.

After you’ve made a list of your needs, break down that list into solid actions that need to be carried out, so that you can move forward with your career goals.

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Do you need to learn new skills? If so, where can you learn them and when can you make time to learn them? Do you need to apply for new jobs? If so, what type of job are you looking for and how will you be able to acquire that position? Does your resume need to be padded? Are you prepared financially for the change?[2]

It can be a bit overwhelming to cultivate change in your life but it will be worth it in the end. A solid plan will help you along your journey.

The better you plan, the better the results will be and the fewer roadblocks will be in your way as you move forward in your career.

3. Stick with It!

Change only comes with consistency. Becoming unstuck in a situation where you feel trapped is not something that will happen overnight.

You need to constantly work at it and work with the end goal in mind. This will either be changing your career or putting your current job through a makeover. Use that as your motivation while you are following your plan. And then you are guaranteed to succeed!

The Bottom Line

Our life is full of cycles, which means that you are going to have to refresh every so often.

If it is your career that is starting to feel dull and can use a rebirth, the tips above will help you to break free of your work entrapment and begin anew.

More Resources About Getting Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Nicola Fioravanti via unsplash.com

Reference

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Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How Do You Measure Success? Here’re 10 Better Ways

How Do You Measure Success? Here’re 10 Better Ways

“Larry is a failure at everything except life.”

That was a memorable line from a somewhat forgettable Ted Danson movie in the 1980s. Pithy, it did encapsulate one eternal truth, namely that life is the goal. Making the most of one’s limited time in this world is the core measure of success.

So how do you measure success?

Money is meaningless until you do something good with it. Fame is fleeting and tertiary at best. But life and how you live it – in business, in family, in everyday interactions – is the true measure of accomplishment.

The Inside and Outside of Success

Life occurs within and outside of you. The two – yourself and everyone else – are interconnected. Their lives, and thus their success, are influenced by you and your success which is influenced by them.

It becomes clear that any measure of “success” cannot be one dimensional. There are many metrics, but if a person looks only at those that directly affect them, then they lack a complete measurement. It is good to succeed in business, but it is important to succeed in life. The two are not mutually exclusive, and in some ways positively reinforcing.

10 New Ways of Measuring Success

For a Successful Business

In business, it is not always the bottom line that defines success. I won’t argue against it – profitability is the first rule of business, because unprofitable companies do not survive. Just beyond that are some success measurements that are nearly as important:

1. Hitting Your Goals

If you call “8 ball in the side pocket” and scratch, then you failed to hit your goal. Knowing and achieving your business goals is important.

But goals in business have many manifestations. Aside from profitability, some business goals include growing your market share, disrupting a market, having very high customer satisfaction rates, reducing product defects, and more, and more, and more.

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However, you cannot achieve your business goals unless you know what they are, communicate those goals to your employees, and measure the results. Many people in business are vague about their goals. They are not clear in making everyone in the company embrace the goals or checking on progress.

None of these success-generating steps is difficult, but success will likely not come without them

2. Growing Your Business

“Growth” is quite personal, even to an executive.

In this, a business is a bit like a child. As the business’s parent, you get a certain satisfaction in raising it, helping past the stumbling toddler years, seeing it blossom into adulthood, and ever expanding its horizons. In the process, you grow the lives and fortunes of your employees, your shareholders, your community and your country.

3. Low Turnover

According to an article in Forbes, the turnover rate is the highest it has been in a decade. My company, Micrel, had the lowest employee turnover rate in our industry, as well as having the highest “boomerang employee rate (people who left the company and decided to come back).[1]

This form of success is a reflection of the corporate culture you created. A bad culture creates a high turnover rate, and a good culture a low one.

4. A Well-Balanced Life

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and often a jerk. The reason is that life is not work, only a part of it. A wealthy captain of industry that never takes long and relaxing walks holding the hand of a loving spouse is not a success.[2]

Measuring balance in your life is non-productive. But when you lack balance, it is easy to measure. The shortfall of joy, the failing health, the shattered marriages, the estranged children … these are the heavy weights placed on the wrong said of life’s scale, and they are a clear enough measure.[3]

5. Sharing Your Success with Others

Ebenezer Scrooge, and Jacob Marley before him, horded their wealth. It cost Marley everything.

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“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Sharing is perhaps the true measure of all success, be it a wealth of money, time, patience, knowledge, wisdom or good will.

For a Successful Life

Which brings us to the non-business side of the business life. As your business affects your personal life, so too does your personal life affect your business. The two cannot be separated. Some elements that should be on your success scorecard include:

6. Good Health

The enjoyment of life is at best incomplete in poor health. At worst, it is hellish.

Now take poor health outside of your body. How does being sickly affect your company (when you cannot lead fully), your family (their support and their stress over you), your community (when you can no longer serve)?

Good health is a gift unto itself, but also to everyone you touch. Don’t cheat anyone out of your good health. Do what is necessary to keep your machine in good working order as the first imperative toward success.

7. Healthy Family

Family is love and support. Every person’s role is to grow their family, to stay connected, to provide love and support. In that giving to others, you improve their lives while improving yours.

It also lays the groundwork for you receiving love and support when you need it. If you are launching a business and taking the risks that go along with it, you will need that love and support.

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8. Learn to do the Tough Things First

In or out of business, we are all faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But we humans have this funny knack of overcoming them.

Indeed, we do it so routinely that out sight miracles that go against nature – flight, the internet, leaving the planet on rocket ships – has become almost blasé.

None of these things were accomplished instantly. They were the result of many small successes. The ones that happened fastest were where a person or a team looked at all the problems, took on the biggest and toughest first, then conquered it. They did the Tough Things First, which made the rest of the project much simpler and more exciting for everyone.

This applies to daily life as well as business. If you are planning to relocate your spouse, several children, pets and all your worldly belongings across country, the task likely looks overwhelming. But the moment you prioritize the list of tasks, and knock the biggest and ugliest off the list, the rest seems like a cakewalk.

9. Being a Teacher

One of the highest compliments I ever received was from an industry analyst who said that I was a “teacher”.

Yet we all are, or can be, teachers. It may be providing basic life lessons to a child on your knee, instructing an employee in complex processes or technologies, or even teaching by example via living a good life.

For me, one joy has been writing a good book on management and leadership, and another about the intersections of people, society and business. It is by teaching, and in my case writing, that you directly benefit others.

Life can be complex, filled with many topics and problems. By sharing knowledge and wisdom, we lead others past difficulties and on toward their own greater success.

10. Dignity and Honor

My marketing director is a proper Southern Gent, which is easily discernible by a well-honed sense of honor. You don’t have to be a southerner to live a life of dignity and honor, but if you are male you do have to be a gentleman.

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Dignity circles around self-respect and honor involves acting with honesty, fairness, and integrity. The latter leads to the former. Indeed, you cannot have self-respect without practicing the basic virtues of honesty, fairness, and integrity.

Why is this a measure of success? Because we humans are social animals, and society exists only because of trust.

Honesty, fairness, and integrity are the cornerstones of trust, and thus the foundation of society. A person is truly successful when they add to society.

Final Thoughts

All this brings us back to the dictionary definition of “success”, which is:

“the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.”

You may or may not be a businessperson, but you are always a person. Your endeavors are both in and out of the office. Since each sphere affects the other, the true measure of success lies in how you managed your affairs in all facets of existence, for they cannot be viewed in isolation.

More About Success

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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