New Year, New Career - Getting out of your career rut

Have you reflected on your career this past year and decided that you aren’t where you want to be? There is no better time than the New Year to make changes in your professional life. Lots of people have new year resolutions, so grab an accountability partner and decide what you need to do to get out of your career rut. Then do it!


The key to getting out of a career rut is to determine what needs to be done to move forward and how you can realistically make it happen. Here’s a great goal setting method for getting started.

  1. Make a list of five things that you want to change or improve. This could be finding a new job, adding a new skill, or getting that promotion you’ve been wanting.

  2. Decide if each item is within your power to influence. If you want a new boss, for example, you likely don’t have the the power to replace him or her but if you’d like to improve your team’s morale, that’s doable.

  3. If you can influence an item, add one or two realistic steps you can take to change it and make it as measurable as possible. If an item isn’t within your control to change, add an idea for how you can change your attitude, perspective, or other ways to improve your outlook.

  4. Prioritize your list. The most important items go at the top and will be tackled first.

  5. Put a realistic deadline on each item.

  6. Share your list with someone you trust and ask for input. Maybe something that seems realistic to you needs a more manageable timeframe for implementation, for example.

One of your goals might look something like this:

“Priority #1: In the next 6 months, I want to be promoted to manager. I will take 2 leadership courses and learn the company’s management software program in order to be qualified. Then, I’ll apply!”

To be clear, your career rut might be because of a toxic work environment, bad boss or less than encouraging team. Unfortunately, these scenarios are faced by most of us at one point or another during our professional careers. You have to decide what is best for you, both short and long term. Do you stick it out knowing/hoping it’s only for a season or do you take more drastic measures to eliminate yourself from the situation? Before you make your decision, list your options, contemplate the pros and cons of each and consult wise counsel. Making rash decisions may harm your career, so be as thoughtful and contemplative as possible throughout this process.

Posted on December 21, 2016 .