Stuck in My Job
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What to Do When You Feel Stuck

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I feel stuck in my current job. What’s my first step to moving on?

A: Before you take any action, consider how long you’ve been in your job. I keep hearing people say, “If I don’t like my job in six months, I’ll move on.” While I appreciate that you want to move ahead in your career, consider what you’ve accomplished and whether you’re truly ready for your next step.

If you are ready to move on, start by having an open conversation with your manager. Be prepared to share what you’ve already accomplished in your position and to explain why you think there isn’t anything else you can contribute. Try to make the conversation less about you and more about the organization.

Your manager may have some options in mind for you that you would never have thought of on your own, so give him or her the chance to come up with a way to keep you engaged.

For example, let’s say you’ve been working in member services for a while and want to make a change. If you simply say that you’re bored with your job, your manager probably won’t be as receptive as if you share a more detailed, thoughtful story: that you’ve been doing the same job for three years, that your skills and hard work have helped improve the organization’s member services satisfaction rating, and that now you are ready to take what you’ve learned in your current job and apply it to another position with more responsibility.

Your manager may have some options in mind for you that you would never have thought of on your own, so give him or her the chance to come up with a way to keep you engaged.

If your manager reacts negatively to your wanting more responsibility or a new experience, then it may be time to do a job search. However, before you float your resume, think carefully about what you want in your next job. The more clarity you have about what your next job should be, the better your chances of making it happen.

Start with what you know your strengths to be and then match those up to your passions and your interests. Determine whether you can relocate or how far you are willing to commute for a job. Update your resume, reconnect with your network, and get out there and find your next opportunity.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].

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