10 Signs That You’re In A Career Rut


It happens to all of us. Your job feels like a scene out of the movie, Groundhog Day, where you relive the same mind-numbing events over and over. While every career has peaks and valleys, being stuck in a career rut is different. Check out these warning signs so that you can recognize the red flags and end the grind once and for all.

1.      You feel disengaged from your work

A typical sign of a career rut is when the quality of your work begins to suffer. You start missing deadlines, losing confidence and feeling disengaged from your job. You may also become more apathetic and lack the drive you once had. Engaging in these types of self-sabotaging behaviors is a common way to avoid dealing with your lack of fulfillment.

2.      You’re not learning new skills

Does every workday seem monotonous with few opportunities to learn new skills? They say that the best investment you can make is in yourself. Continuous learning helps you maximize your potential, make informed decisions, and collaborate effectively. So, if you feel like you’re at the top of the learning curve, chances are your performance will begin to suffer.

3.      You don’t feel challenged anymore

Can you do your job in your sleep? Do you feel like you’ve outgrown your role? If you aren’t continuing to learn and develop, you will feel stagnant. Most career ruts are caused by a lack of challenge, which results in boredom and complacency. Many times, this happens once you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career. That point at which you feel like you should be cheering, “I made it!” but instead, you’re asking yourself, “Is this it?”.  If you feel this way, it may be time to explore other business areas or even consider a career change.

4.      You feel unappreciated

If you continue to receive excellent performance reviews only to continue to get passed over for promotions, you will likely feel unappreciated. Over time, resentment will eventually consume your energy and enthusiasm. When you excel at what you do, but your efforts go unrewarded, you may want to consider how your talents could be better used in another department or company.

5.      Your career is not progressing

Is the value you bring to the organization disproportionate to your salary? Career progression can take many forms, including promotions, pay raises and employee perks. It might also involve taking on additional responsibilities or working on new projects. If you feel stuck in an environment that doesn’t foster professional growth or reward its employees, it might be time to consider other options.

6.      Your family and friends start noticing

Suddenly every conversation you have revolves around how you hate your job. You spend every weekend ruminating about the fact that you can’t stand your manager and co-workers. Your close friends start asking you if everything is okay, and they begin to express concern about your mental and physical well-being. When the people close to you notice that your job has a negative impact on your personality, it’s a sign that you’re in a career rut.

7.      Your health is suffering

Being in a career rut may feel like you’re plodding through quicksand every day, just trying to get by. You feel tired and depleted. Other signs of stress include headaches, high blood pressure and insomnia. Listen to your body. If you have a poor work-life balance and constantly feel anxious and overwhelmed, it may be time to consider a new role or career.

8.      You dread work

A clear sign that you are in a career rut is that you dread work every day. Many people go through career lulls. But if you experience anxiety every Sunday night thinking about the impending workweek (called the “Sunday night blues” or “Sunday scaries”), you should reconsider whether this is the right job for you.

9.      Your job lacks purpose

Finding meaning in your work is crucial. Of people who love their jobs, 83% say that having work that matters plays a role in their job satisfaction. For some people, the purpose of work is to enjoy the day-to-day tasks. Others are motivated by working for a mission-driven company with values that align with their own. And some employees find purpose in their interactions with co-workers. So, if you’re feeling unfulfilled, take some time to think about what you need to find meaning in your work environment.

10.  You’ve felt stuck for a year or more

How would you feel if you were let go tomorrow? Would you think of it as an opportunity to try new things, and maybe pursue the career you’ve always wanted? If you’ve been daydreaming about leaving your job for a year or more, it’s time to put a plan in place to make a change.

The consequences of staying stuck in a career rut will have a lasting effect on your health and happiness. Ask yourself: what is it costing you to stay in the job you’re in now? If the status quo is worse than the thought of change, it’s time to take action and commit to changing your circumstances for the better.


Feeling stuck and unfulfilled in your current job or career? Download Caroline Castrillon’s free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!

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