You feel stuck in your job, and you think of quitting soon, but the next moment you’re wondering if you should stay put or shift to a different career. Almost everyone is experiencing this kind of dilemma at work. Indeed a familiar story if one is working for several years and can’t see any chance of promotion and growth in one’s job, feeling sad or maybe a little envious of some people they know who appeared to be successful.
I was in this situation twice already in my career journey. Yes, and that implies I didn’t know how to deal with the problem and had never learned enough. But, on the bright side of everything, both served the purpose to teach and guide me in my next journey.
Had I not experienced it twice, I wouldn’t realize that this emotion, feeling stuck or unhappy, be addressed first by answering two questions — Why and What, help gets better decision.
Now, the questions are, why are you feeling stuck, and what made you think that way at your present job or career?
Here are the things I wished I had discovered very soon and applied them when I was in that place of confusion and on the verge of each decision that I had taken.
1.) List Down
The goal of this activity is to declutter your thoughts about the situation and your feelings. Then, list the reasons for having that feeling, why you feel that way. You may begin with this phrase when you’re writing: “I feel stuck because …” Then continue writing your reasons. You’ll realize you have underlying concerns coming out. Sometimes, being stuck is just at a surface level of our emotions, but there are root causes of what made you feel stuck or unhappy.
2.) Do a Self-Assessment
Like the above, you can navigate your feelings by answering and pondering questions that will help clear out your emotions and make you realize what you want in your career, per se. Here are some of the questions you can reflect on and answer:
- What do I don’t like in my current career or job? What part do I want or appreciate?
- What can I do today to change how I feel? What am I grateful for?
- What is important for me in a job?
- What is the one thing that I can do that makes me motivated and happy in my work?
Tip: You write in ‘+’ and ‘-’ signs in two separate columns in a paper or notepad for the first question. Put your answer accordingly. Say, to question what you don’t like, place it under ‘-’; and what you want to the plus sign.
These are guiding questions to help you in your self-assessment. Feel free to write your answers. If you notice, these questions draw out your values when it comes to work or in life.
3.) Identify Your Options and Have Backup Plans
Once you have sorted out your emotions and identified what you want in a job or career and value, know your following plans and move. One could be to quit and look for a better opportunity. If the answers in the previous steps where the negative emotions outweigh the positive ones, this option will be your first choice. Another could be trying out something that you are passionate about but is not align with your current job. Maybe this is something you have wished to try and explore, but you don’t dare do it because you lack skills. And probably the last option is to stay. You will likely choose this option but it depends on how you assessed your situation and had realized to remain.
Now that you have options, what are your backup plans? This part is necessary if any issue arises or things won’t go the way you expected. Especially during the CoVid-19 pandemic, resigning soon without enough money or savings is such a NO. With almost all businesses are affected in this trying time, risking to leave quickly is not a good idea. Instead, before handing that “I quit” letter to your boss, do some side hustles. Who knows, that side hustle will pave the way to your resignation soon and get that desired job you want. If you lack the skills required in the next job or career you are eyeing, consider taking online classes. Many websites offer relevant courses and in-demand skills in a position today — Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, to name a few.
4.) Seek Counsel
Two heads are better than one. It’s always helpful to get a different perspective and have advice from another person. While the previous steps I shared are constructive, I always seek other's opinion. When I was in this kind of situation or even in my major decision-making, I went to people I trust to seek advice. I call these people my support system. They could be your family, close-knit friends, or a community that you feel safe and loved.
For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors, there is victory. Proverbs 24:6 ESV
5.) Find Your Peace
They say, When you feel at peace with that decision, that is the right decision. I constantly hear these words from my friends in my spiritual and business community. Meaning, the decision to resign, to shift to another career, or by staying put is not driven by negative emotions. The feeling of calmness and at peace on what you choose should exude more. To help you in this process, you can do meditations and reflect on each option you have, including each of their pros and cons.
I am no expert on career coaching nor have a background in psychology for this matter. But I take credits for the inputs I gained, the pieces of advice I received from mentors, and people I highly respect. Now, it’s time to give back by sharing what I have learned. Feel free to share your thoughts.
© 2021 Katierene Ross