Career development: What To Do When You Feel Stuck!

Career development: What To Do When You Feel  Stuck!

So you took this job full of enthusiasm.  You thought it was the right job, at the right time, in the right place.  It looked interesting and you liked the people who interviewed you. They told you how the company was committed to good management and developing their people.  There seemed to be really good opportunities to advance your career and everyone told you how lucky you were to get a job in these testing economic times.

You’ve been there a year now and things have not turned out as you expected. Yes, the job was interesting when you first started and there was a lot to learn. Your manager is good at her job but these days she never seems to know what is going on at the top.  Everyone’s budget has been cut and a member of your team who left to go travelling has not been replaced.  You and the rest of the team are having to work harder to provide cover and there is very little possibility that you will allowed to go on a part-time training course, even if you fund the training yourself.

Right now you are feeling stuck and wonder if you made the right decision. But all those people who told you were lucky to get the job are saying you would be foolish to leave.

Sadly, you are not alone! I keep hearing this tale from clients and from people I meet in social media. There are lots of good organizations, and good managers, who can’t now offer the career development opportunities for their staff that they could a couple of years ago. Training budgets are being cut and vacancies are being held. And we all know about redundancies.

Because the job market is so slow, people are reluctant to move on and that means opportunities for promotion, and for moving round inside the organization, may be less.  Everyone in the public and private sectors seems to be working harder and longer.

So what can you do?  Well first of all see this for what it is; it isn’t personal.  These tougher conditions are going to be around for all of us for quite a while.  Unless you have scarce niche skills, finding another job is going to be hard and it is much better done while you are already in employment.  But don’t jump to thinking that leaving this employer is necessarily the best move.  Instead, start to think creatively about where you are now and the job you do.

Are there changes you can make to improve how you and your team are working – can you improve productivity and efficiency?  Alongside your work, can you make improving things a special project that will benefit you, as well as the company?

What about forming a learning group with your own team? How about developing an action learning set as a regular lunch time activity? Perhaps you could learn in your own time how to facilitate the set.  That way everyone could benefit.

If you are in an organization that has other people at your level, could you organize a job swap to give you and a colleague some wider experience.

If your manager really doesn’t know what is going on at the top, can you find out more yourself? Could you use the internet to find what is happening in the sector? What is the world outside saying about your company and its major customers?

While, it is always sensible to keep your CV up to date and keep your eyes open for other opportunities, don’t think the best move is necessarily out.  All jobs have periods when they are more or less interesting and much of the motivation to do the work needs to come from within you.   At the end of the day, you, not your employer are responsible for your career development.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

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2 thoughts on “Career development: What To Do When You Feel Stuck!”

  1. I have heard of many who are stuck at this situation and don’t know whether to get out or to wait it out. Like you said I feel that you should keep your CV updated and keep your eyes open for new opportunities but exhaust all your options with your present job.

  2. Pingback: Career Development – The Value of a Career Plan and Making One | WiseWolf Talking - the WiseWolf Coaching Blog

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