How to Climb Out of a Career Rut

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Being stuck in a career rut is a painful and challenging predicament. This situation refers to the point in one’s life where one feels dull and unproductive at work. In many cases, it’s caused by complacency, intense boredom, and even a lack of challenge or motivation. When this happens, one may experience burnout and regression.

Suppose you’re the one suffering from a career rut. In that case, you may need to know the various ways to get out of it. Considering these options, you may view your personal needs, strengths, and short-term and long-term goals. For this purpose, here’s an article to guide you. So, read on!

1. Talk to a Life Coach

According to the 2021 study of Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, 78% of people feel stuck professionally. Most of these lack motivation, while others feel like they lost control of their career. Most of these people consult life coaches to set or renew their goals and get back on track.

If you feel stuck in a career rut, you may talk to a life coach who most of your colleagues trust. Generally, life coaches provide the necessary encouragement and support whenever their mentees slide back to their unmotivated moods. They also design attainable action points people can easily follow to accomplish their short-term and long-term goals.

Life coaches tend to have different specializations that speak to different clients. For example, Christie Linley Jonge Poerink is a New York life coach who has guided people from more than 30 countries to help them “move forward, embrace who you are, and release yourself from the person others expect you to be.”

2. Bank on What Makes You Happy at Work

As the cliché says, when one enjoys working, he no longer feels like he’s at work. In other words, doing tasks happily can make the job easy to carry and make doable. For this to happen, you may start identifying the things that make you happy at work.

You can start listing the activities you love and the colleagues you enjoy working with. Apart from this, you can create a timeline of your milestones in your company. Emphasize the gains that each milestone has given you in the previous years to show your growth and development.

3. Invest in New Skills

Upskilling yourself is an excellent way to know that you can still enhance your talent. At times, stagnation could revert your progress. And you can only overcome this regression by relearning and learning new skills. Today, you may equip yourself with new knowledge and skills through professional skills training and certification, whether online or face-to-face.

One advantage of upskilling and reskilling is making you more adept at your current position and work. Apart from this, you learn new things which aren’t work-related. This can help you widen your horizon and see things from different perspectives because of the unique skills and experiences you gain.

4. Overhaul Your Routine

Doing the same tasks over and over again can cause monotony. If ignored, this can grow into more complex issues, such as extreme burnout and job dissatisfaction. To address these, many workers change their routines. This can start with working in a new workspace or adding new stuff in your offices, such as an extra shelf, books, and office design.

Aside from this, you can request different types of meetings, such as kick-off, brainstorming, and other innovative models rather than the traditional ones. You may also change the schedule of sessions if you can decide on this matter. Lastly, you can request a workcation or a work-from-home scheme just to have a different setting.

5. Revisit Your Goals and Change Them If Needed

Before you applied for your first job, you probably had already identified some goals in your career and had created a good career plan. Over time, these goals change, and so are your priorities. Falling into a career rut can be the perfect situation to revisit your goals as you change your perspective in life.

If your priorities are still aligned with your purpose, you can still leave them as is. However, you might need to consider changing them if they no longer serve your new pursuit. Still, always think about your needs more than your wants.

6. Relocate

Moving to a new address can be daunting and tiring. As a matter of fact, it can be expensive and time-consuming. However, relocating can help someone in a career rut to change one’s outlook on life and career. After moving into a new location, a worker may drive through new roads, visit new places, and experience new things.

While the workplace may not change, the overall experience of commuting or traveling to and from the workplace can provide a different perspective to the worker. This gives the person the sense that he’s free and is not confined to a single space: internal change can happen and improvements can start.

7. Look for Challenges

Some people crash into their career rut because they feel they’ve already reached the pinnacle of their career and performance. When this happens, their motivation dwindles and they have a hard time continuing their job as they no longer feel satisfied. In other words, they are without a legitimate challenge. With appropriate challenges, a worker may have better work engagement.

If you’re this person, you need to enhance your self-motivation by setting challenges for yourself. You can start by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. In other words, you need to try new things, such as the ones you feel awkward to do. Apart from this, you can also create a weekly or monthly performance target you need to beat every other time.

8. Lean on Your Support Group

If emotions and situations may be too difficult to bear, you can embrace your support group or the people you trust. You can openly talk about your feelings, disappointments, and aspirations with your support group. In addition, your group can also help you see things from various viewpoints so you can see what’s good for your career and see different scenarios.

In choosing a support group, consider the ones you have familial ties with, such as parents, spouse, siblings, and children. They can pave the way for more personal discussions. On the other hand, you may opt for support groups at work if your information about your work is confidential, or if you want to set boundaries between your work life and your family life.

9. Celebrate Small Wins

Celebrating small wins is one way of giving value to the small steps one has taken. If you’re looking for each step to be a vital part of a big whole, you will feel that every action you take contributes to your progress. In this light, you can reward yourself whenever you finish a task.

Rewards may come as self-affirmation, a cup of your favorite coffee, or a visit to a particular person. While rewards vary depending on the worker’s preferences, all of them can provide a positive push to the individual as they gradually return to their career track.

10. Take a Break

Taking breaks during your downtimes are as important as working at your peak during your shifts. During these resting periods, you can appreciate your progress by examining how you fare through the hardships in your career. In addition, this is a way of dealing with your mental health and physical rest.

If you fall into a career rut, you can take breaks to ponder what has driven you in the past. You can take inspiration from your family, friends, and special someone. You can also think about your growth ever since your career started. These will give you a positive mindset that’ll help you become motivated again. 

11. Create a Game Plan

A game plan helps you identify the existing problems you need to overcome and their possible solutions. As a part of this, it requires you to evaluate your skills as you direct yourself to a job enhancement or a promotion. This may also prompt you to develop your talent, acquire training, and gain the relevant experience needed in the job or new position.

In the context of a career rut, game plans help you identify the things that shove you into a miserable situation. You may also need to break down your big tasks into more manageable ones just to make them easy to achieve.

12. Strengthen Your Connections

A connection is a two-way social contract where two parties benefit from each other through support and professional relationships. Building a network with friends, potential clients, and prospective bosses enhances one’s bounce-back attitude when one gets into a career rut.

In many cases, one can build connections through the following:

  • Reaching out to people one knows
  • Maintaining a solid online presence
  • Signing up for networking events
  • Joining career-oriented systems

To strengthen connections, a person must fully understand office politics and professional relationships. One may also look into the power dynamics of an organization. In addition, one must always be visible, credible, and reliable to have a positive and solid reputation.


A career rut can make some unproductive for an extended time. Not only does one suffer but the organization that person works in is also affected. While many factors affect and cause this problem, many career coaches believe that it can still be solved. 

Suppose you’re in a career rut. In that case, consider reading this article and reviewing it when needed, and learn how to climb out of a career rut. Although there’s no single solution to these problems, an idea or two in this article can help you determine what needs to be addressed and what solutions can be effective in getting out of a rut.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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