With over 60% of each waking day spent at work, can you afford to feel stuck in a boring, dead-end job? It can be demoralising when a job that once sounded so promising hasn’t turned out the way you wanted, leaving you feeling uninspired and unmotivated. You may be tempted to chuck it all in and run off into the sunset – but let’s not be hasty. There are plenty of things you can do to re-ignite the fire in your belly and make positive changes to your professional life. But it does take a bit of work.
Are you ready? Then let’s take a look at your options!
➡️Editor’s note: we collaborated with HR professional and independent writer Dakota Murphey to put together this post.
1. Redefining your role
When you’re unhappy, stuck in a rut at work, you do have a choice. Should you look for another job or change careers completely? Or could you redefine your current role with your current employer? It may be worth being completely honest with your boss and see whether any alternative arrangements can be made to accommodate your changing needs and ambitions.
If you choose this approach, make sure you are well prepared so that you appear credible, solutions-focused and, ultimately, employable – no-one likes a moaner. Do your homework and work out what energises and drives you, and what your best skills are, and try to weave them into your work as much as possible. That way, you have relevant proof and experience that you can ask to be formally incorporated into your current role, or a new, more suitable role created for you. Go on, what have you got to lose?
2. Learning a new skill
If you’re getting stale at work, maybe the dissatisfaction comes from the fact that you can do the job standing on your head, with no challenges left and no company training in the pipeline that would help you progress. Your line manager should be your first port of call to see if your employer is willing to invest in training or coaching you to help you become a more valuable asset to the company, and with better prospects.
But even if professional training is not readily available, you can still learn a new skill. The downside is that this will have to be done in your own time (and with your own money) but, on the upside, you can choose freely how you wish to develop. You might choose to pursue a professional qualification in your chosen field, go back to university (many UK universities now offer online degrees), sign up to a presentation skills workshop or a digital marketing course. Investing in your own professional development can be a powerful agent for change that will allow you to progress.
3. Working with a mentor, life coach or career coach
Sometimes, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees or to know where to begin first. That’s where coaching can be immensely helpful. Unlike specialist careers advisers who can provide a list of suitable career options following qualification, or detailed information packages on various career paths, a life coach can help you understand yourself from a psychological perspective. “Our approach is to help you explore and discover, through facilitating your own innate sense of what will work best for you. That way, we can help people find the career that is truly made for them,” advises Maggie Morrow from KlearMinds, an experienced life coach in Central London.
A strategy to change your career path is often not sufficient to change deeply ingrained habits, behaviours and thought patterns. But with support from someone who can help you shift your perceptions and perspective, it is possible to make positive changes and progress in the direction that is right for you.
If you are feeling as though you are stuck in a dead-end job and would like to change your career path or role you could look into hiring a career coach.
A career coach will help you to assess your skillset, interests and aspirations to help you to get a job that is in alignment with what you would like to achieve in your life.
Here at Graduate Coach, we help students, graduates and career changers to ultimately get their dream job and thrive in their new roles. We achieve this by offering one-to-one career coaching, interview coaching and workshops.
Many of the graduates we coach come to us after not being able to secure a graduate-level job and as a result, are underemployed. They often feel as though they are stuck in a dead-end job with little or no room for progression. If you are in this position, do not hesitate to contact us.
4. Have a career break
Are you fed up to the back teeth, stuck on a hamster wheel, stressed and burnt out? When did you last properly relax or take some time off? We all need a break sometimes and when anxiety and stress take their toll, one of the first positive changes you can make is to admit to yourself that life is getting on top of you, and to have an extended break.
Long-term unhappiness with a career is often caused by a fundamental conflict between personal values and organisational goals. This can be a particular problem in historically vocational roles such as medicine and teaching where professionals are being asked to add a managerial priority to their already demanding workload.
Many people feel the need to get away, putting distance between themselves and their unsatisfactory career situation. Taking a long holiday, a sabbatical, or a complete career break can be a great way to reflect on your professional life and your personal priorities, enabling you to gain a new perspective.
5. Start a side hustle
Finally, the concept of a ‘side hustle’ is now gaining a foothold in the UK as well as in the US – and it’s an option that deserves serious consideration if you feel as though you are stuck in a dead-end job. As a combination of a hobby and extra money-earner that you do in your spare time, a side hustle has many benefits. The most important one is that it can strengthen how satisfied you feel at work, by doing something much more meaningful and completely different from your day job when you get home.
Best of all, if you pour your passion into your side hustle, the venture may grow and become commercially successful, allowing you to quit your regular job altogether. And if you’re sceptical about this prospect, be reminded that Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Yankee Candle are just some of today’s hugely successful global businesses that started out as a side hustle.
Thanks for taking the time to read our post! If you feel as though you are stuck in a dead-end job and not meeting your full career potential, we urge you to take action sooner rather than later.
Dakota Murphey has more than a decade of experience in a range of HR and Marketing roles. Since becoming a full-time mum, she enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge through her writing and connecting with like-minded professionals. Follow her on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey