Stuck in a Career Rut? Here Are 5 Ways to Get Out

Career Stuck

Do you get the same feeling of dread at 5 p.m. every Sunday?

The thought of going back to work Monday morning is never welcomed, but if you’re experiencing a higher sense of dread than the norm, this is a tell-tale sign that you feel stuck.

Getting out of a career rut can be tricky, but it’s definitely not impossible. Now that you’ve recognized the signs, you can take action to fix it.

In order to become happier, you may need to make changes at your job, get a new job, or change careers entirely.

This guide will help you take charge and improve your work experience so that you can successfully break free from this career rut.

1. Write a List of Pros and Cons

Whenever you’re making a decision, it helps to write a list of pros and cons.

What do you hate about your job? Write that down in the cons column. Be as detailed as possible.

What do you love about your job? Write these down in the pros column. Again, be specific.

Now, assign a numbered value to each of the pros and cons to figure out which carries the most weight.

Tally up the scores. Is there one column that stands out?

Ask yourself:

Can you fix the things you hate about your job? Can you tip the scales in favor of the pros in any way? If not, it may be time to look for a new job.  

2. Identify the Source of the Problem

Is your lack of motivation the problem, or is the company or industry the problem?

If the company culture doesn’t suit you or your values don’t align with theirs, it can be hard to feel comfortable at work. Perhaps you can apply for similar jobs with companies that you actually respect.

If you don’t mind the company but dislike the field you work in, it’s time to pursue another career.

That’s certainly a scary prospect, but do you want to be stuck in a career that you hate for the rest of your working life?

It’s time to find your passion and go for it.

Maybe, just maybe, you are the source of the problem. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes it’s our own work habits that get us stuck in a rut.

Can you create some new habits to improve the situation? These new habits can be as simple as eating a healthy breakfast before you begin working or taking your lunch break outside for a change.

In some cases, you may need to make bigger changes. For instance, you may need to conquer a procrastination problem, or you might have to start setting goals to go after. 

3. Find a Solution

Now that you have put a finger on what is wrong, you can begin to tackle the problem.

Reach your career needs. Look for jobs that interest you and figure out what skills you need to do those jobs. Consider whether you want to work for a new company or start your own business. You might even decide that you want to learn a trade and get your education from a welding program in Pennsylvania or wherever you live. 

If you aren’t sure how to land your dream job, ask people who already work in that position. They may have some pointers that they can share to help you get your foot in the door.

You may have to do some networking to actually find these individuals, especially if you want to break into a whole new field of work. Find events that host these types of professionals and buy a ticket.

When making your plans, be sure to keep in mind the difference between a want and a need, especially in the beginning. Your want might not be attainable at the moment, but you need to have a job.

There’s no harm in getting one that will help you get to your dream job down the line.

4. Evaluate and Update

On your way to reach your destination, you should always keep track of where you are and what you need to get there.

In other words, you need to take a deep look at what you have to offer and what you lack.

Evaluate your current skills. Make a list of everything you can boast that looks good on paper. This could be a degree, a certificate, or an award. It could also include case studies for past clients showing proof of your skill and their profit.

You may have other skills that aren’t so easy to prove but that headhunters consider when looking for new employees. These are called soft skills, and they include things like leadership, communication, work ethic, and time management.

Whichever of these skills you possess, find a way to highlight them and provide an example of when you put those skills to use.

You should have already done your research on what type of skills you need for your career move. Compare those to the ones you already have and fill in the gaps. Learn new skills that will help you reach those goals.

Also, update your resume and improve your online presence every time you gain skills or knowledge pertaining to your desired career move.

Once you have your resume and bag of skills polished and ready to go, it’s time to make your name known. To get out of this rut, you’ll have to break out of your normal routine.

5. Make Your Move

Once you feel like you qualify for your new career goal, go for it!

To see change, you need to put yourself out there. Meet new people. Take some risks. Make some moves. You got this!


The key to making all of these tips work for you is to take small steps each day. Most people can’t just jump out of a rut, but you can slowly build a strong ramp to walk out of a rut.

Don’t let your feeling of being stuck keep you stuck. Take positive action and watch your career blossom. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to your new workweek every week!

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