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What to do When You’ve Hit a Wall in your Career

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You’ve clocked in for the morning, coffee in hand, briefcase under your arm…and a pain in your gut. That pain isn’t from the cheap gas station coffee you hastily acquired during the morning rush but rather from the increasingly obvious fact that you can’t go any further at your job.

Millions of Americans hit this wall likely on a daily basis, and, in fact, over 85% of Americans hate their job; according to a Gallup poll from around 2017. As you’re staring into your computer screen inside your personal cubicle, you’re probably coming up with a dozen ways to leave your misery behind and find greener pastures. Luckily, we will tell you just how to do that in this article.

Analyze Your Situation

Those minutes spent staring at your computer screen aren’t entirely useless. Analyzing your situation is the best way to formulate a plan to change it. Self-reflection is the best way to move ahead, so start by looking at what got you here. Why do you work at this job? (besides the obvious) What made you seek this job specifically, and what keeps you here besides the financial implications?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to look at the present. What are you doing right now to change your situation? What can you do? What can you afford to do? Do you need to seek an education or just a different employment opportunity? These questions will give you direction to plan your future, a future that doesn’t involve the current job you’re stuck in.

Finally, you’ll need to look ahead. Where do you want to be in five years? What goals do you have for the future, and how can you reach them? How would you move on and reach new goals if you were to lose your job tomorrow? Put some serious thought into your analysis, and you might just learn some things about yourself and your goals that you hadn’t considered before.

Identify Where You Want to Be

When planning for the future, having a clear and concise vision of where you want to be is critical to reaching your goals. What do you want from your future? Just saying “I don’t want to work here” isn’t quite enough to narrow down your goals to the specific items they should be. The more specific the goal, the more clear the path to reach it. Definite ambition for you. What drives you to a better future, and what does that future look like?

Sometimes, taking a step back from your everyday life can make planning more accessible. If you have vacation days at work, take a few days or a week off to think about your future. Planning in a stressful environment or one you loathe can create further stress and loathing for the place, so take the time to remove yourself to truly get a grasp on where you’re headed.

Leave Your Past Behind

One of the most prominent walls people face when changing their lives is their personal past. Many of us are drowning in guilt or low confidence from mistakes we’ve made at one time or another. You might even think your current job is one of your biggest mistakes. This way of thinking only serves as a ball and chain around your ankles, keeping you hopelessly rooted to a present ruled by events from long ago. Your past is not your future, and you don’t have to live by it.

Leaving your past behind and gaining confidence will give you the drive to move forward. So you’ve made some mistakes; who hasn’t? Mistakes are nothing less than growth opportunities, and failure is never the end. Failure is a chance to dust yourself off, take what you’ve learned, at come back with an even harder resolve the next time around. Don’t let past failures, mistakes, or decisions hold you back from your unfolding future; it’s yours if you would only reach out and take it.

Remember That Time Is Not Infinite

While remembering that death is only ever a step away might sound morbid, it’s actually an excellent motivator. As humans, we face our own mortality every single day; when we drive at 60mph on the highway in a 1,500-lb hunk of metal, when we step into the street to cross, or when we eat that sugary snack that we know is no good for us. Mortality is what makes this life so precious. The fact that any moment could be your last should motivate you to not settle for things that make you unhappy, in relationships, hobbies, goals, and especially work.

Your work will take up a large part of your life, so why spend it in misery? If you’re truly unhappy with where you are, remember that you’re only ever about one big decision away from changing your entire life. One move is all it takes to go down a completely new path. Don’t let the fear of change keep you bound to existential misery.

Make the Change

Once you’ve identified your goals, go for them. People will argue that “it’s not that easy”, which, in itself, is starting off wrong. First and foremost, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. That’s what makes it worthwhile! The easy part is deciding that you want something better for yourself. It will take effort, you will experience challenges along the way, and you likely will fall down before you reach the finish line. Change isn’t what scares people away from their goals. It’s the hard work it takes to get there.