8 Steps to Lift Yourself Out of a Coronavirus Career RutAUTHOR: Ann Lloyd
Having an active career can be rewarding, inspiring, and fulfilling. Going to work each day knowing you matter and make a difference can be great motivation to get up and moving. On the other end of the spectrum, though, doing the same thing day in and day out at work can get tedious and boring. If you find yourself stuck in an unfulfilling career pattern, you may need help breaking free of your rut. Luckily, there are plenty of suggestions that can help you move on to bigger and better things.
Switch Up Your Routine
Sometimes, all you need to break out of a career rut is a new routine. This could be anything, big or small. In fact, science has proven that changing your routine at work can help boost your productivity. Try rearranging the furniture in your workspace. Or perhaps switching the order in which you complete your tasks will kickstart your workday. Try changing what you have for lunch, who you talk with during the day, or what you do on your break. Decluttering can help you focus and feel more creative. If you’re not sure about parting with things forever, try putting them in storage for a month or two and see if you miss them.
Build Your Relationships
There’s an old phrase that says, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to searching for a new job. That’s why you need to nurture your relationships with co-workers and clients alike. For instance, sending small branded gifts or handwritten notes to your clients can make a big impression and put you front-of-mind with them. You never know when a client will be looking for someone to help with a new project. Having a pen, coffee cup, or notepad with your company’s logo could subliminally tilt the balance in your favor.
Face Your Financials Head-On
Facing mounting debt or having trouble making ends meet from month to month can be draining. It can affect your self-confidence and weigh on you mentally and emotionally. Tackling your personal financials head-on can lift a huge weight off your shoulders and let you turn your mind back to your work.
If you find you’re running short on cash each month, set up a personal budget. If you’re having trouble obtaining a workable interest rate on a loan, check your credit score. Learning how to improve your credit score over time can help save you money in the form of improved interest rates in the future. And once your financial burdens are lifted (or at least addressed), you’ll feel much more ready to tackle your career.
Change Your Settings
After the quarantine and self-isolation mandates are lifted, it will almost definitely be time for a change in scenery — for all of us. You may find the change especially useful to help break you out of your career rut.
Moving to a new city can present you with new career opportunities. You may be able to find a city with a booming tech or engineering industry that’s perfect for your career goals. Or perhaps you’ll find a city with a great work-life balance, offering plenty to do after your 9-to-5 day. Giving yourself a new physical outlook often translates into a new career outlook, too.
Learn a New Skill
Not only will learning a new skill keep your résumé fresh, but it’ll keep your brain fresh, too — not to mention make you more desirable in the job market. You can pursue something industry- or job-related, like obtaining a new certification, or your new skill can be something more personal. Why not take a class on woodworking, or learn how to drive a stick-shift car? Gaining new skills can bolster your career skill set — and your marketability, too.
Upgrade Your Tech
Working with outdated software and systems can be frustrating and time-consuming. When it takes you longer than it should to perform daily tasks, the delay can start to weigh on you, dragging out your days. So make sure you’re working with the latest updates and technology, whether you need software updates, new hardware peripherals, or an entirely new operating system. Being able to move through your workday quickly and effectively again can return the spark you need to speed your career back up.
Invest in Yourself
Take some time and think about yourself for a bit. When you invest time, money, or attention — or all three — in yourself, you’ll also be making a huge investment in your career. Adding upper-level education degrees or certifications can propel your career to new heights. Considering obtaining a master’s degree or MBA. Graduate courses can give you valuable new skills to apply at work, and the degrees you earn will look great to potential employers.
If you’re self-employed, you can invest in marketing yourself. Refreshing your online presence is always a good idea, but don’t overlook the personal touch. A recent survey found that 80% of consumers keep promotional products like pens and tote bags. Sending a branded item with a personal note is a great way to stay in touch with past, present, and potential clients.
Meeting new, intriguing people is one of the best ways to break out of a career rut. Consider going to an industry event, trade show, or career networking event. If you’re stuck at home thanks to shelter-in-place restrictions, go online to network via Zoom or Skype, or connect with others in your field via LinkedIn.
Talking to other people, both inside and outside your industry will give you a fresh perspective on your career. Plus, making new connections is a great way to stay relevant. You never know when a new job opportunity might present itself, and when it does, you want to be the first person who comes to mind.
Settling into a career rut is not only frustrating, it can also be a drag on your professional development. If you allow yourself to settle, you won’t be working toward your full potential. The ideas presented here can boost you out of that career rut and propel you to exciting new heights. Try networking with new people, breaking up your daily routine, and enhancing your skillset with a new certificate or degree to set yourself apart from the competition. You’ll soon find yourself out of that rut and headed toward an exciting future.