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Stuck in a Career Rut? Here’s How to Get Out

No matter how much you love your job, there are days that make you wish you could walk out and never come back. Maybe it’s the extra work you’ve taken on since a key colleague quit, or an important project that’s not going quite as planned. Whatever the reason, just about anything in the world seems preferable to dragging yourself into the office right now.

It’s normal to feel like you’ve hit a stumbling block in your career every once in a while. You shouldn’t ignore this feeling, but you shouldn’t let it consume you either. Instead, take some time to analyze the situation. Then, figure out how to move past it.

If you’re ready to break through your career roadblock, ask yourself the following questions, and be honest with yourself when you answer.

Why do I feel stuck?

Pinpointing the real reasons for your slump is the first step to getting past it. For instance, rather than fixating on the feeling that your boss doesn’t like you, think about why you feel that way. Has your boss actually told you or someone else that they dislike you, or do you just feel that way because they rarely acknowledge your efforts, or keep piling work on your plate when you’re already busy? When you can nail down the larger issue(s), you can start thinking about ways to address it, rather than letting your emotions stew and cloud your perceptions.

Who can I talk to about it?

Depending on your circumstances and relationships with your supervisor and colleagues, you may be able to set up a meeting with the appropriate person and discuss the situation. Has a disagreement between you and a team member been causing hostility among the group? Try talking it out with them to see if there’s a way to resolve it. If you’re upset about being passed up for a promotion, ask to meet with your boss or HR to review your career path and find out what you can do to be considered next time. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your problem with someone in the office, confide in a partner, friend, or family member and ask their advice.

What do I love about this job?

You may not be thrilled with your job right now, but try to think about the positive things you’ve gained during your time here, like the skills you’ve learned, exciting projects you’ve worked on, or the great rapport you’ve built with your colleagues. Remind yourself of something you love about your work and focus on that to help you power through any rough patches.

What can I do to boost my confidence at work?

When you feel really good about what you’re doing every day at work, it’s much easier to feel positive about your career. Whether it’s getting around to a minor task you’ve been putting off or sharing a great idea during a meeting, do at least one thing every day that makes you feel confident and accomplished. As that confidence builds, so will your job satisfaction, and you’ll be back at your peak before you know it.

Still feeling like your motivation at work has stalled? It might be time to look for another job — or even start a business of your own. Listen to your intuition and do what feels right; you shouldn’t force yourself to stay at a job you hate.

A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Image credit: creativecommonsstockphotos | Dreamstime Stock Photos (CC0)