There are a host of feelings and internal messages that let you know something is not quite right with your career path. It may be that you feel stagnant, unchallenged, frustrated, even irritable in your current position. You may not have the words, the clarity of expression or a way to articulate it succinctly just yet. You just know you feel an itch, a tug, maybe even a slap to the head that reminds you that you are not where you want to be. And when you recognize that this is your current emotional state, you may come to realize that you are stuck. The great news is this state is not permanent. This state lets you know that something needs to change, and you have the power to change it. In other words, this state of being stuck is a calling. A calling to take some action. The following are 8 steps to assist you in getting your career “unstuck."
Step #1: Hail, salute and affirm that you are “stuck” in your career.
When you acknowledge that your current position is not bringing you the greatest joy and satisfaction, it can give you the drive to start acting. Acceptance and giving this state a name is the first step. Taking stock of your feelings and owning them such as being dissatisfied with your job responsibilities or feelings of being passed over for a promotion or wanting to work in an entirely new field is the first step toward making a career change.
Step #2: Decide to get “unstuck."
Now that you have identified being stuck, it is time that you decide about taking steps to get "unstuck." Your decision, in and of itself, to do something different is a powerful activator toward change. Change only comes from our decision to do something or various things differently. You may decide that enough is enough. You want to make a career change. You have decided that you are going to focus on taking this on and doing the hard work to travel a new career course.
Step #3: Take stock. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.
There are various options you can use to explore your best career fit. You can utilize career assessment tools such career fitter, Campbell Interest and Skill Survey, or Clifton Strengths Finder to assist in uncovering the best job match based on your personality, innate strengths and talents, your preferred work style and the best work environment for you to thrive. Review and decide which one of these tools would afford you with the necessary information you are seeking. Select one and complete the online assessments. Each are reasonably priced and will provide you with a report containing solid insight and a language to start your job or career change.
Step #4: Consider hiring a career coach.
You may decide that having an objective partner who is a certified professional career coach would provide you with the support and guidance you may need. A career coach like me can assist you in reviewing results in these assessments, provide you with a roadmap to achieving your desired results and advise you along the way. Career coaches can assist you in becoming clear about whether you want a new job, a new career or strategies on how to navigate workplace issues. We can assist you in gaining clarity and actualizing your goals.
Step #5: Use the SMART goal process.
Whether you decide to venture on this journey solo or with the assistance of a career coach, SMART goal setting creates the platform for real results to happen. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound strategies to craft your goals. The SMART goal system allows you to write your goals in clear and measurable terms. For example, a goal focused on figuring out your next career steps may look like this.
By September 2018, you will have taken the educational leap and have successfully and enthusiastically completed the SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) CP Exam preparation class to prepare and pass the SHRM HR certification exam to begin your job search as a human resource generalist.
Step #6: Break it down.
Next, take those longer-range goals and break them down into bite-size action steps. Make them doable, attainable and ensure that you set yourself up for success. These mini morsels are important steps. You may start by finding three HR professionals and ask to interview them about their role and tips on taking the SHRM prep class. You may also start by joining your local SHRM chapter and attending one of their meetings to meet other HR professionals. You may also commit to reading one HR related article either from the SHRM website or any other business publication like Harvard Business Review three times a week. These small steps will lead to big changes over time.
Step #7: Discipline creates movement.
When you are disciplined and put your action steps into motion, you will start to gain traction. You will uncover and move toward your desired career focus and direction. It is only with these small action steps and your consistency and persistence that real change will occur. Once you have been in the throes of taking that SHRM prep class and have been developing and improving your HR knowledge base, your confidence will build.
Step #8: Stop, tweak and adjust.
Look at your progress in four-week intervals. Are your action steps getting you closer to where you want to be? Do you need to make corrections, adjustments or change course entirely? Has the SHRM prep class proven to be beneficial, have you made meaningful connections with fellow HR classmates and do you need to set a new bar? A new goal? Continue to assess, adapt and enhance your goal focus.
Getting unstuck with your career starts with knowing that you are stuck. The amazing part is that you don’t have to live there. You are empowered and have the tools to make that shift and find the job, career or the tools to navigate your workplace situation effectively. By using these 8 steps, you can move from a place of discomfort into a state of pleasure and relief. Getting stuck is a great place to be. It reminds you that you want and deserve more.