DoÂ you feel like you’veÂ plateaued in your career?Â If so, listen up. Sometimes the writing really is on the wall.
If you’re a knowledge worker,Â perhaps you’reÂ not getting the same old satisfactionÂ fromÂ the analytical, information-driven work that you do.Â Or, maybe you’re feeling disconnected to your purpose:Â You’re not where you thought you’d be at this point in your career.Â Alternatively, if you’ve simply reached a critical life milestone and the landscape just looks differently now, know that these feelings are normal and quite common. Whatever the reason behind your “down in the career dumps” mood, knowing how to recognize and survive this period is critical to your long-term professional success.
However, you’ve got to know what you’re looking for.
Here are some common signs of the doldrums andÂ what you can do it about them:
1. Burnout and fatigue. Are you feelingÂ perpetuallyÂ tired, overworkedÂ or even depressed?Â Do youÂ wish it would all just go away? If you’ve lost interest inÂ your primary duties or the outcomes that drive the work that you do, then you’reÂ likely experiencing burnout and fatigue. If so, augmenting your work schedule to allow for greater periods ofÂ non-activity and recovery could be the answer. Additionally, if changing the scope of yourÂ workÂ is a possibility, it can be anÂ important shiftÂ likely toÂ inspireÂ new energy and a fresh perspective for moreÂ fulfilling work. Finally, incorporating extracurricular activities into your lifestyle, as well asÂ regular vacations, could really help to create joy and balance. Tennis on the French Riviera anyone?
2. Boredom. You’ve seen it all and done even more. Meh. Monotony is the name of the game: You know your job so well that you could do it in your sleep.Â But, there’s an upside here–you’ve probably got a great skill set (expertise) that can be used in another context. Find another way to add value to the company. Maybe it’s forÂ aÂ new department, division, or location. Look for a way toÂ build and leverageÂ innovation, even if you’re the one who has to bring it to the table.
3.Â A strong affinity for “greener grass.” You’reÂ enticed byÂ aÂ new role, career, or industry and see it as being more compelling than whatever you are currently doing now. You’re way past boredom and fatigue. Seriously? You’re on your way out the door. But, before you open it, make sure that what you’re feelingÂ is not fleeting. Ask: AreÂ my feelingsÂ based on a substantive, pragmatic analysis that will yield the outcomes that I seek? Could career counseling be appropriate? What about a lateral move? Review your options before taking the leap.
4. Overwhelming desire to overhaul andÂ “bliss build.” You’ve has a great career (or simply had enough!) and you’re vision is crystal clear: YouÂ want to recreate your career in your own way, from the ground up. Forget the stability of the 9-5; you’reÂ ready to take innovation and riskÂ to the next level. The million dollar question: Are you ready right now? The decision to forgo the comforts of a regular paycheck and employer-paid benefits is a serious one. Hurdle #1: Make sure that you have the expertise to facilitate the work. Hurdle #2: Make sure that you have suffientÂ passion and purpose to sustain your vision. Hurdle #3: Do the research and make the necessary preparations (there willÂ be many). However, don’t let fear dictate the process. It takes courage and true grit to delve into the realm of the “unknown” and deal with the challenges that come with being your own boss. But, if you’re truly ready to take the road less traveled,Â I say:Â Go for it!
Career doldrums can really cramp your style, but if youÂ can recognize and deal with them accordingly, you’ll be back on track in no time.
To your success.
Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her website, www.wordsmithrapport.com.