Business & Careers

How to Revive a Stagnant Career and Start Feeling Challenged and Satisfied Again

BY Laura Bartlett

When you first start out in your chosen field, there is bound to be excitement and that sense of satisfaction that you are doing exactly what it is you wanted to. And while it may continue to feel challenging and rewarding for quite some time, it’s not unusual to reach a point where suddenly you feel stagnant. It’s not the type of thing that happens overnight, and in most cases, it sneaks up on you so you don’t even recognize it settling in. You just start to feel less motivated at work, things can start to feel dull and monotonous, you may not feel challenged, and then you can find yourself re-examining your career goals in general. 

If this sounds like you and how you’re currently feeling about your career, it can be a very unsettling time. You may have the urge to quit your job and find something new, or you may not want to take the chance and tell yourself it’s better to stay in a safe but going-nowhere career. Rather than choose between the two extremes, here’s a look at some steps you can take that may be able to revive that stagnant career, or at least help you make that difficult decision of whether to stay in your job or move on.

Ask Yourself Why You are Feeling This Way

The best place to start is typically with some self-reflection. It’s really hard to find happiness and satisfaction in any aspect of life if you don’t identify what it is that makes you feel those emotions. What is it about your current job that has you feeling down? Are you underappreciated, do you feel you’ve learned all there is to learn, maybe you feel rundown and burnt-out, or perhaps it’s just not the job you originally thought it would be?

The more specific you can be with your feelings and what is causing them, the easier it will be to identify new goals.

Set Some Career Goals

Sometimes that feeling of being stuck in the same spot is simply because you don’t have a destination – or a goal – that you are working towards. Just by setting some career goals, you can light that fire under you that motivates you, pushes you forward, and fills you with the drive you were missing. And the great thing about career goals is that they can mean so many different things. 

Common career goals could be to make more money, work your way up the ladder and get a job promotion, take on more responsibilities, work more or less hours, work more independently, and so forth.

Further Your Education

Another tip that can end up feeding your soul and then helping you to revive your career is to further your education. When you first started your job, your qualifications, skills, and education were obviously enough, but that doesn’t mean it’s enough to satisfy you for the rest of your life. 

Let’s say for example you have your eye on a management position but you keep getting passed over for it. It could be that you lack the proper education, training, skills, and knowledge for that job. While that is certainly disheartening, the great news is that you can change things by enrolling on courses such as leadership training. is a great tool to help you locate leadership training courses that are right for you. These types of leadership training courses are designed to help you fill in the skills gap if you will, and provide you with the kind of training that employers look for when hiring for a management position. Even if your course doesn’t lead to a promotion within your current company, it can help you land your dream job with a different employer. Furthering your education is always going to be a great way to advance your career.

Speak to Your Boss About Your Goals

Of course, now that you've set a new career goal, it can also be helpful to speak to your boss about it. If it's a promotion you're after, let them know; if it's a raise you want, then negotiate a fair increase with them. It's all about making your goals real and putting them out there. You employer may also be able to offer you advice and tips on the steps you can take to help make your goals a reality.

Consider Starting a Side Business

However, you could take all of these steps and find that it may not be enough to revive your stagnant career – sometimes it’s just not the right calling for you. Rather than feel blue or defeated by that realization, look for a way to add that challenge and excitement into your life outside of your job. Maybe it’s time to take a real leap of faith and consider starting your own side business?

The great thing about a side business is that it can allow you to work on something you feel passionate about, that you are good at, and that you want to see through, all without having to quit your day job. You’ll still be getting your regular pay check, the bills will be paid, and you won’t have that same stress on your shoulders that so many entrepreneurs can have. 

As your side business grows, and you start to build a brand and a loyal customer base, you can always think about making it more of a permanent and only career down the road. But at least during those bumpy first stages, you’ll still have that secure job lined up.

Maybe It’s Time for a Vacation

Many of these suggestions have you making big changes and going about self-reflection, but sometimes you don’t need to make such a big step. It could just be that you need a break, a bit of time away to truly relax and shut off your mind. It can be amazing what a vacation is able to do for you both physically and mentally, allowing you to return home in a whole new state of mind. Now that’s not to say that vacations fix everything wrong in a person’s life, but at the very least it can help give you a little perspective.

If All Else Fails – A New Job May be the Only Answer

Of course, it is very scary to quit your current job that you feel comfortable in and start something brand new, but sometimes it’s the only answer. If you’ve tried everything possible to revive your career and you still feel unfulfilled and unhappy, then it may be time to make that big step. Keep in mind it’s usually a whole lot easier to find a new job while you still have an existing one. What that means is that it’s never a good idea to quit until you have a solid job offer that you have accepted.

Don’t Brush Your Feelings Aside

So, if you’ve been feeling stagnant in your current job, and you’ve been doing your best to brush the feelings aside and just keep going forward, it may be time to stop and examine why it is you’re feeling this way. There is plenty you can do to revive your career, because at the end of the day, job satisfaction is important.


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