What is your answer?
Is it out of frustration like Janell who can’t listen to another complaint? Or boredom like Chris who knows his field is dying and can’t wait to get into a workshop to invent the next thing? Or plain dislike like Paul who knows his boss will never let him move further?
I know when I realized I hit a career wall. Looking back at my holiday letters I realized that for several years I wondered what “the next thing” would be. When the phone rang at work I wondered which of the five possible categories of problem or complaint the call would fit in. That little contest was not enough to keep me interested.
I hit the trifecta in 2004. My new boss really hated me. I was bored out of my mind and frustrated with the limitations imposed on me by the work in general. I identified that vague feeling in the pit of my stomach as a strong need to make a change. Then the new boss made it easy by giving me a large severance package to go away. That is how The Interview Doctor, Inc. came to be!
I hit a career wall. Ever feel that way?
Just for the fun of it I Goggled “hitting a career wall”. I found plenty of articles from before 2008 and after 2015. Very few articles on this topic during the financial crisis of 2008 until things started getting better around 2014 or 2015. I think exploring career options can be a luxury associated with good times. In tough times it is usually better to hang on to what we have as long as we can.
Rosemary hit a career wall a few years ago. She was a highly regarded VP Information Technology then head of Six Sigma under one boss who loved her. Then he left the company. The new guy didn’t feel the same way. Suddenly she was frustrated. Then she was demoted to a silly lower level position. She was bored out of her mind. But she had kids in college during the financial crisis. She felt she couldn’t leave. Or rather, she wanted to hang on to get that big severance package that never came.
Instead, the humiliations continued. She took up knitting. She read electronic books covertly at her desk because she finished her job in two hours a day. She got a second Master’s Degree. She volunteered for every project she could find. She did other people’s work. I wondered how long she could stick it out. She lasted EIGHT YEARS. I think that takes the cake.
After observing myself and others in this same boat, I have a few tips if you feel like you are hitting a career wall.
- Can you find something new at work to keep you entertained? Some challenge no one else sees? A different way to practice your craft? Perhaps a hot new trend you can clasp on to that will re-energize your point of view? Latch on to it before another bored person gets there first.
- Run away. Go find another job. Perhaps the grass can be greener somewhere else. Maybe a change of scenery will keep you stimulated. Do it quietly so folks at your current job do not realize what you are doing.
- Take up hobbies in your spare time to keep your mind stimulated. Chris had a workshop in his basement for years where he tinkered with new inventions. He couldn’t wait to get home at night to try the next iteration. Rita took up painting in a sunny corner of her home. Undoubtedly that accounted for the faraway look in her eyes. Mike began running and doing cross fit. He looked and felt great which brought new energy to a boring old job.
- Explore the feeling and start something new. Maybe it is time. It worked for me. I know being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. It is a hard life. It takes years for most people to make much money. But I would never trade the long hours and low pay for Corporate America EVER AGAIN! Whether you buy a franchise, set out a shingle in your own business or become a weaver, sometimes hitting a wall requires stepping out into the unknown to see what is out there for you.
Have you hit a wall? Is it time to reframe your current life into a new reality? You know we are here for you if you want to talk it through. Not a sales pitch. Just a hand stretched out in support!
In the meantime, check out The Interview Doctor’s 10 BE’s to Grow Your Career. It might be a great place to start the exploration!!