Do you feel stuck in your career? This is something that happens to all of us, especially those of us who have careers after 50. But it does not mean you should throw in the towel. You can get unstuck at any age, including 50+, and start enjoying your career again.
Think for a moment about when you get into a literal rut on the road. You no doubt have strategies to get yourself out. It might mean adding weight to your trunk or putting something down for your tires to grip. Heck, it might even mean calling your friend with the big truck to pull you out.
The point is, you would never throw up your hands and give up, leaving your car to sink in the mud. And the same goes for a career rut.
But this leads us to a question — how do you know that you’re in a career rut and it’s not just another Tuesday?
Are You Really In A Career Rut?
Career ruts come in many shapes and sizes, but they all tend to have a few things in common. For instance, you might feel…
- That something is missing.
- Rundown, even getting repeatedly sick.
- Like you no longer know what you like to do.
- Unmotivated, even finding it hard to get out of bed for work in the morning.
If you have these feelings, you might understandably feel overwhelmed. But the good news is that you do not have to stay stuck. There are several ways to get unstuck at 50+ and get on a career path that’s both satisfying, supportive and enjoyable.
Let’s look at 7 powerful tactics to get unstuck, climb out of that rut and feel better about your career.
7 Tactics That Will Help You Get Unstuck at 50+ From Your Career Rut
1. Admit It
The fact is, you can’t solve a problem unless you first identify it as a problem. Until now, you may have busied yourself with the daily activities of your job, pushing down that nagging feeling of dissatisfaction.
What to do?
Take time to sit down with yourself. Identify your feelings. Are you unhappy? If so, does that unhappiness have a direct connection with your current career path?
If you determine that you are in a rut, it’s time to recognize it. For the moment, don’t worry about how you’re going to get out. Those answers will come. For now, simply acknowledge it.
2. Makeover Your Mindset
Before you can take physical action, it’s important to address your state of mind. Your mindset has a powerful impact on your future actions. If your mindset is unmotivated and rooted in negativity, you can’t move forward.
Instead, think about your problem in a positive way. Focus on constructive thoughts about the future. Imagine what changes would improve your career satisfaction, even if it’s a complete career reinvention.
Envision all of the possibilities before you and ask yourself what would help you the most. This type of thinking will move you forward and propel you out of that rut.
3. Understand What You Want
It’s time to push the pause button, find a quiet space, and really ask yourself, what do you want? Do you want to be in a certain kind of company? Would you rather be your own boss, or even reinvent yourself in a new, exciting career?
Truth is, this question in itself has caused a lot of its own ruts over the years. Why? Because people get stuck on their own fears and insecurities: “I can never leave my job. It’s all I’ve ever known.” Or, “I can’t start my own brand. There’s so much I don’t know how to do.”
But push away these insecurities. They only cloud your vision. First, figure out what you really want, then you can figure out the rest.
4. Ask for Help
Life is not about knowing all the answers. It’s about knowing where to find the answers. And sometimes that involves knowing who (and when) to ask for help.
This might be a trusted friend or an experienced colleague who has trod in similar shoes in the past. The important thing is to have someone you trust to help guide your or maybe just provide a sounding board.
5. Look Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Movement is enemy number one of the mighty rut. If you feel yourself getting stagnant in your career, you might just need a little push outside of your comfort zone to engage your mind.
Ask for new, more challenging assignments at work. Sign up for online classes that will expand your professional skillset. Join a board or council within your industry. Network with other professionals you admire. These kinds of challenges will help make your career more fulfilling.
6. Don’t Neglect Your Self-Care
Self-care is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Research proves that self-care improves your cognitive ability, your focus, and your concentration, making you a more productive person.
So stop being critical of yourself. Listen to your body when it tells you that you need to hit the pause button and take care of yourself. Frequent headaches, exhaustion, and irritability might just be your body telling you that you need a break. Take the time to nourish your body regularly by getting enough sleep, exercise, and nutrients in your daily life.
7. Look For Ways to Give Back
Generosity gets you out of your own head. It helps you to focus your mind on others and what you can do to help them. It might mean contributing financially to a cause you believe in. Or you might enjoy volunteering your time to help those in need.
These kinds of selfless acts don’t just benefit those around you. They enrich your own life as well. Afterward, you return to your career with a sense of satisfaction and a more positive outlook.
Don’t let your career rut keep you down. Get unstuck and start enjoying your career again at 50 plus or at any age.