Getting Unstuck at Work

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck at work or that you’re not making any progress, you are not alone. In fact, according to Forbes, two-thirds of U.S. employees feel disengaged at work. What this means is staggering. With a U.S. labor force of 164.6 million in February 2020, before the pandemic, that’s nearly 110 million people who could have been feeling stuck.

Being disengaged in this way can take a toll on your mental health — it could lead to fatigue, boredom, and ultimately, complete burnout. To avoid that outcome and help you move forward in your career, it’s imperative you get “unstuck.” With this in mind, here’s a three-step plan to help getting unstuck at work.

3 Steps to Getting Unstuck

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1. Know what you want to do

If you want to advance in your career, you need to know precisely what you want to do. It’s easy to say things like, “I want to be successful!” or “I want a leadership position!” — but really, what is behind these statements? You need clarity on a level deeper than simple exclamations of your end goals.

To gain this clarity, really question what drives you and makes you tick. Why do you want to be successful? What is it about a leadership position that engages you? What type of work experiences do you enjoy most? Do you like being out in the field, or would you prefer a traditional workplace setting? Do you enjoy the camaraderie and relationships in an office, or would you rather have the flexibility that comes with a flex-scheduling or telework atmosphere?

After exploring these kinds of questions, you will be better equipped to make changes in your career. Ideally, try to avoid making any plans in a vacuum. Speak with others in the field and learn more about opportunities and needs in the sector. You can refine your personal roadmap to meet the real needs of those in the industry.

2. Understand the value that you bring to the table

If you’re not the type to pat yourself on the back, now might be a good time to shift that attitude. Positivity is important here. It’s okay to remind yourself of all the great things you have accomplished — you have the knowledge and experience to really bring something to the table. With more hard work, you can even reach new heights. The key lies in knowing your value.

Ask yourself what makes your work valuable. What do you have to offer that others do not? Work on branding yourself. Create a strong value proposition that people can associate with you. This proposition should include what you do, who you help, and what your efforts help accomplish. If you can effectively incorporate your value into your work, you will probably find that you’re much more engaged in what you’re doing every day. Being stuck could soon enough feel like a distant memory.

3. Find the right path, then stay engaged

The final step in this journey requires taking all the information you’ve gathered and learned about yourself, and using it to decide on the right path. Determine the needs that you solve, or the pain points for which your value offers a solution. If you can infuse that value into your current work, then try to redefine your role there. If you think you could only accomplish this by switching jobs, then that may be what you have to decide. Either way, seize your opportunity — get unstuck — and move forward.

Of course, getting yourself unstuck offers only half of the solution. You also need to make sure you stay engaged and don’t fall into another rut. To continue moving forward in your career, remember to do the following:

  • Look for positive outcomes from situations; do not get caught up in negative events; seek out positive associations that can inspire you to action.
  • Remain confident in yourself and exercise your free will; always look to make choices that bring you closer to your goals.
  • Be comfortable with yourself; know who you are and how your identity is reflected in your work.

Avoid the drudgery of getting stuck at work. Seize every opportunity to forge your own path in a career that is both satisfying and engaging. Consider these tips for becoming “unstuck” and see how you can achieve your dreams.


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