Q&A: Escaping a Job Rut

Feb 17, 2023 | Burning Question


I feel trapped in a job that I’m good at and pays the bills, but I don’t enjoy it and there is limited opportunity to get promoted. I’ll be 30 next year and I want to feel like I’m on a positive path forward. How do I get out of this rut when my time to search is limited and my energy is depleted at the end of the day?

1. Get clear on your strengths you can offer a future employer. Think of a strength as something you’re good at  (or will be soon) AND gives you energy and you enjoy it. For example, I love  teaching classes to young professionals. Answering their questions, sharing my experience, coaching them, and facilitating discussion among them. All of these activities give me energy. They are my strengths. To identify your strengths, begin by tracking your energy every day for one week or so. What gives you energy, what drains you? At the end of the week, the activities that energize you are probably your strengths. Make them a key focus of the next role you seek.

2. Make it a creative project instead of a series of daunting tasks. Imagine a future where you apply your strengths, have a strong culture fit, and continue growing your skills. Then, assemble a vision board with images and words that personify YOU and where you want your life to go. It can be aspirational and directional – and imperfect. It’s all about visualizing a way forward!

3. Talk to people who love what they do. While there are many unhappy people in the workplace, there are also many who are thriving. Spend more time with people who love what they do and ask them questions about how they found their dream job and what makes it work.

4. Expand your network or reignite relationships with former classmates, teachers or colleagues. A simple LinkedIn request for a quick call or a local meetup for coffee will energize you, spark new ideas and create new connections. Just ONE outreach per day could change your landscape of opportunity in a single month.

5. Find a mentor who can help you navigate your next chapter. Surround yourself with people who encourage and support your ambitions. For more ideas on that, Equipt suggests BYOB (build your own board). Everyone needs champions in their corner!

6. Stay attuned to your self-care needs for sleep, exercise, healthy nutrition and down time without your devices.

7. Let go of the worry of getting the next move exactly right. Worry and perfection are the enemies of progress. In any new job, there will be aspects that are incredible and some that aren’t ideal. That’s okay. Each role will teach you something about yourself and expand your experience.

Moving through ambiguity – one step, one day at a time – will help shift your  perspective and  increase your confidence. You will also likely find a better fit in the future.

You can do this 👊!

Do you have a burning question for your work.life? Equipt is here for you. Whether you prefer to type it out or record a voice memo, simply drop us a line at community@equiptwomen.com.

If your work.life feels out of control, take control.

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