How are you feeling about your career right now? Are you achieving positive progress? Or are you wondering where time goes and why you’re still feeling so stuck?
If you fall into the second category, I understand and I get it. Not knowing how to create a working life you enjoy or trying everything you can think of to make a change and not getting anywhere is disheartening. You know you’re meant for something more but you’re unable to move forward, and you’re not entirely sure why.
You’re probably wishing someone would just come along and hand you the perfect solution. Am I right?
Are you emotionally “trapped” by your current circumstances
Your job provides many valuable things – status, an income, intellectual stimulation, friendships, structure, familiarity and much, much more. And, a common trap is believing what you have now is the best there is.
You worry if you make a move you might make a mistake, lose something you value, or end up making things worse.
Falling into this trap immediately narrows your opportunities. In tying yourself so tightly to your current situation, all you can see is what’s directly in front of you… which is often more of the same.
The real issue with this type of entrapment is it’s difficult to recognise. You don’t realise that in not letting go of the same thing that’s causing your frustration, you’re actually creating the bindings holding you in place.
Are you clinging to something you think is important… but is actually keeping you stuck?
Hidden career traps and how to get out of them
1. THE DEVIL YOU KNOW TRAP
There’s nothing quite as compelling as fear of the unknown. And when there’s a lot of uncertainty, your natural inclination is to hold tight to the familiar. Even if it’s not working for you, it feels impossible to drag yourself away from your current situation. You focus on looking for roles that are closely related to what you do now and avoid considering things you’ve never done before.
Find the neutral ground → Map out the pros or potential gains before you think about the downsides of letting go of what’s familiar. Write them down and discuss them with an objective or neutral party.
2. OUTDATED ASSUMPTIONS TRAP
You may believe there’s only one way to go about doing things when it comes to making a career change. You think the change you want to make is going to involve years of extra study, taking a sideways move or starting over in an entry-level role. Or you may think you can only get certain roles with loads of experience or by having the right contacts.
Fact of fiction? → Are your assumptions real or perceived? Challenge the stories you’re clinging to by fully exploring other possible pathways or options.
3. THE WISHING STRATEGY TRAP
You’re desperate to figure things out but lacking the energy to make it happen when something turns up – a friend makes an introduction, an ex-colleague offers you a role, you’re approached by a head hunter. It’s enticing because it’s an escape. It’s not what you imagined, but you reason with yourself that maybe it’ll be the right next step. You jump in wishing and hoping it’ll work out well. Plot spoiler… it rarely does.
Get clear about what you want → knowing what’s important to you about your future career provides a framework for considering these types of offers. It’s much easier to say “no” to something you know doesn’t align with your vision and values.
4. CAREER INVESTMENT TRAP
You’ve invested a whole heap of time and resources to get to where you are today. You’ve achieved a level of status and income that’s both important to you and makes you feel valued. The thought of losing this career momentum feels incredibly hard. While you might not love what you do, the risk of trying something else, something new, might mean forfeiting all the progress you’ve made so far.
Beware of regret → Most things in life (money, love, jobs) will come and go, but your time just goes. Consider this… are you losing more remaining in an undesirable career situation than by accepting a short term impact to your status quo?
While “stuck” is something everyone experiences at some point, you’re never truly trapped if you’re willing to let go of something to progress. Are you ready to stop feeling stuck and start thinking differently about the right next career move for you? Take this 2 minute quiz to discover exactly the right next step you should take to fix or change your career.