10 Steps to Take If You Feel Stagnant in Your Career

If you’ve done the same thing every day for 10 years, it’s only natural that you would feel as if your momentum may have come to a screeching halt. Most of us like the idea of continuously advancing in our career, making more money, earning better and more important titles, and thereby feeling like we’re growing as individuals.

But sooner or later, we may hit a rut, and feel stagnating in our current role. Could this be a plateau where you’ll stay for the rest of your working life?

It doesn’t have to be. If you’re feeling stationary in your current position, you can take several steps to reinvigorate yourself and create new momentum.

Steps to Take to Achieve Forward Motion

Try some or all of these ten steps to breathe new life into your career:

1. Get a new certification

First, think about seeking a new certification. For example, if you work in accounting, you could pass the CPA exam to become a CPA. Depending on your current role and your certification, this might enable you to earn more money, have a shot at a substantial promotion, and even open a door to entrepreneurial opportunities. No matter what, you’ll get the chance to learn new skills and engage in activities that enable you to break from the norm.

2. Learn a new skill

You could also make the effort to learn a new skill, even if it diverges from your current areas of expertise. For example, you could take up computer programming or learn how to work with a new piece of software. This will keep you engaged, make you a more well-rounded professional, and could open the door to some interesting opportunities down the road.

3. Branch out to other departments

How often do you talk to people from other departments in your organization? If your firm suffers from a persistent silo mentality, you may rarely, if ever, reach outside your own circle. Getting acquainted with colleagues in other departments can help you understand better how your organization works, and give you an opportunity to network and learn new things – all of which can be good for your career.

4. Take on a new responsibility

Don’t request a new responsibility; take one on. Step in to address something that no one else wants to touch, or expand some area of the business. It can keep you challenged and interested in your work – and looks impressive when it comes time for supervisors to evaluate you for a promotion or raise.

5. Talk to your bosses

Are you feeling trapped or bored? Consider talking to your bosses about your status. They may have ideas or new directives that will help you to feel more challenged, or shift you to a new position entirely.

6. Start a side hustle

If you’re not getting what you want or need from your main career, why not attempt a side hustle? Pick up a hobby and turn it into a business, or dabble in a new industry you’ve always wanted to investigate. It could turn into a full-time gig later, if you choose.

7. Look for a transfer opportunity

If you like this company and you’re just tired of the same environment, look into the potential for a transfer. Moving to a new department or a different location could be the fresh breath of air you need to feel good about your career again.

8. Work for a promotion

You may already be doing this, but consider aiming for a specific promotion. Depending on your industry and the nature of the business, this could be a new role that’s several years off, but if you start laboring toward it now, you may feel a surge of inspiration and motivation that will carry you to your end goal.

9. Apply to jobs with other businesses (or start your own)

If opportunities are rare at your current place of employment, think about applying for jobs with other businesses. You could even start a company of your own in your industry.

10. Change careers entirely

Of course, if nothing else is working, or you’re just finished with the industry you’ve been in, you might plan a complete career change. It’s never too late to jump into a totally different line of work.

Embrace Change

No matter what you do, if you want to break free of your feelings of stagnation, it’s important to embrace change. Thanks to status quo bias (and a bit of laziness), most of us prefer to keep things the same for as long as possible.

But if you allow yourself to remain complacent and simply accept the patterns you’ve fallen into over many years, you’ll never make any progress. You have to change something if you want different results; there’s no other way forward.

10 Steps to Take If You Feel Stagnant in Your Career was last updated June 28th, 2023 by Alex Sanders

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