The earlier blog I penned had to do with feeling stuck. It focused primarily on both deciding between two or more options and the advice was to do something, do anything to get moving; and the focus was when you’re unemployed. I’ll stand by that.
But what about you who are already employed? I mean you’ve got a job and while it’s okay – possibly even good, you have become restless wanting a change. The question is really what could be next? A promotion? A change of employer? What other jobs within or beyond the company you’re with now would be possible and what’s stopping you from launching a concentrated job search campaign? In other words, even though you’re employed, are you feeling stuck in your career? Oh I know you’re not alone in this one!
The problem in a nutshell is you’re experiencing some motivation to change, but the level of motivation required to actually start looking beyond a casual glance at job postings hasn’t grown enough. You’ve got a steady income, some security at the moment, and the lure of something new is less than the status quo. Doing nothing is safe, comfortable, takes less effort and yet this small but growing feeling that a change is needed is there. So yes, at the moment…. you’re stuck.
Now this is different from when you’re out of work entirely and stuck deciding between two career options or stuck deciding what to do at all. It’s also different from having a job you enjoy in all aspects and just feeling a mild tug every so often. What makes this unique from those others is that the job you have now fulfills many of your basic needs, it’s got a good upside, but there’s this growing and persistent idea of something else wanted that the job doesn’t meet.
Only when your satisfaction with the present wanes enough that your wish for something more tips the balance will you actually find the motivation to explore change. The key is not to wait so long that the job you have becomes intolerable; that would be unfortunate, especially if you then find new employment takes considerably longer than you would have imagined.
The interesting thing is that sometimes other people recognize your need for change before you might. It’s true! You might have a change in behaviour; subtle at first, such as coming in on time instead of coming in 15 minutes early, or taking your full lunch hour away from work instead of donating some of your time to the job. Not big things, but signs of change if they become your new norm. You might also be quieter in office meetings, a little less vocal in promoting innovation and new ideas. What you may be doing is stretching and challenging yourself less and less because your investment in the job itself is ebbing.
Now on their own, like I say, these may not mean much. However collectively, they can indicate to others that something has changed in you. Suddenly people are asking you if you’re happy; is everything good? One person asking might be normal, but two or three people asking, or someone who knows you well, and you might realize those subtle changes they picked up on are cues you should address and think about.
The motivation to change then is worth addressing. What would motivate you to change? For some, the obvious answer is more money and benefits. However money is less of a motivator than you might think as the current job is already providing a consistent income. Feeling challenged, reinvigorated and mentally stimulated by the work you do might be more accurate. You might even be contemplating how to take many of your current skills and find a way to incorporate them into a self-employment option; especially if you see retirement on the horizon. Transitioning to a part-time enterprise, working on your terms and answering to yourself might be appealing as you wind down your full-time employment.
If you’re in your 30’s or 40’s, retirement might not be on your mind, but nonetheless, you could feel the urge to make a difference, give back in some way using your experience but challenging the conventional way of doing business that you’re in now, constrained by the parameters of the company who employs you.
Oh, and let’s not ignore the idea that you might just want an entire break from what you do now altogether and rediscover your passion through some other line of work. How many of you can agree that there’s a hobby or past interest you’d love to turn into your full-time job. Why aren’t you exploring that option? Don’t dismiss it quickly because you’re too old, it would cost too much to go back to school or you’ve got responsibilities! At least invest some time crunching some numbers and getting factual information to base your decision on.
In my previous blog, I advised you to do something; do anything. I’d suggest the same thing again if you feel stuck in your current job. Talk to people in Human Resources, take a night school class, update the résumé, put out some feelers. There is a lot you can do without going to the extreme of quitting or just giving up and feeling trapped in the present job for the next 14 years.
Yes, do something!