'I'm in a career rut. How do I get out of it?'

Ask Jo
career question

‘I'm a financial analyst and good at my job, but I could do it with my eyes closed and frankly, I'm bored and unmotivated. I feel like I’m in a rut … how do I get out of it?’

Adam, 38

career answer

Being in a rut isn’t a good place to be, but at least you’ve taken the first step – and that’s recognising it. The next step is to work out why – and then take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Investigate your options at your current workplace

Start by talking to your manager and letting them know how you are feeling. Emphasise that it’s not the company that’s the problem, it’s just that you need more of a challenge. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to take on more responsibility, like taking the lead on a project or the option of a secondment. Maybe doing some professional development would help to reinvigorate you.

Identify the root of the problem

So you’re bored in your job, but is it because being a financial analyst is not what you want to do? Or is financial analysis just boring? Is it time to look for new opportunities outside your organisation? Sometimes a change in work environment is all that’s needed. Start checking out other financial analyst positions – do they all sound like more of the same, and will you still be bored to tears? Or would changing environments be the impetus you need to get your mojo back?

Is it time for a career change?

If you’re well and truly over your job, then now is the time to think about other options. Did you fall into this career and stay in it because you felt it was the ‘safe’ option? Was there something else you wanted to do, but didn’t feel you could? Ask yourself the following questions to get some clarity and help determine if a career change could be the answer to your problems:

  • What do I love about my job?
  • What do I hate about my job?
  • What skills do I use in my job?
  • What skills do I want to use that I can’t?
  • What does job satisfaction mean to me?
  • What is my ideal job?

If you’re really unsure about your career options then it would be a good idea to seek guidance from a career practitioner. The Career Development Association of Australia has a directory that will help you find a qualified career practitioner in your area.

Further study

There’s a vast array of courses out there, from short courses through to postgraduate study, and learning something new could be just what you need to get you fired back up again. Think about what new skills you could develop that could help you in your career or be of interest. Do you want to build on your existing skills or develop totally new ones? Taking on further study could get you feeling motivated again, as well as open up more doors and make you better qualified for a promotion. See the range of online courses available to find a course that suits your needs.

Jo Messer

Jo Messer is a Career Development Specialist who has many years of experience in supporting and guiding students and graduates of some of Australia’s most respected universities, as well as mature-aged clients, across all facets of their career. She is a Professional Member of CDAA and an active member of NAGCAS. Whether you have a specific question about how to achieve your career goal or something more general, Jo is available to provide you with up-to-date advice.

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