It’s all too easy to become stuck in a professional rut. Since so many members of the workforce have no passion for their jobs, we tend to assume that feeling professionally unfulfilled is an inescapable part of life. While it may not be easy, extricating yourself from a professional rut is entirely possible – provided, of course, you’re willing to put in a little work. So, if you’re constantly beset by an overwhelming sense of job dissatisfaction, the following pointers are likely to serve you well.
Never Working Unpaid Overtime
These days, a sizable number of employers expect workers to put in unpaid overtime. However, some of them will insist that since they didn’t explicitly make this request, the choice to work off-the-clock without pay was entirely at workers’ discretion. Still, in order to meet the unreasonable deadlines, employers often attach to projects, some employees have no choice but to sacrifice their hard-earned leisure time.
It’s important to realize that while you may be an employee, you are not a robot that exists solely for the betterment of your employer. Ample downtime is needed for people to recover from the many stressors of the working world, and your employer is not entitled to this time – especially if they’re not willing to compensate you for it. So, if you’re expected to put in overtime, make it clear that you will only do so if additional compensation is put forth. Furthermore, if the deadlines attached to your projects cannot be met in the absence of overtime, request that project timelines be amended accordingly.
Maintaining a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Unless you absolutely adore your job, you should be working to live, not living to work. You’re working to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, put money away for the future and purchase various necessities and leisure items. In other words, work enables you to enjoy other aspects of life and should not be viewed as your reason for living.
To ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your personal time, you should strive to maintain a healthy work/life balance. For starters, this means adhering to set work hours. Instead of ending the workday at inconsistent times, set a designated quitting time and stick to it. This will help you maintain a sense of structure and provide you with a light at the end of the tunnel throughout the workweek. Secondly, take care to avoid bringing work home. Your residence is meant to be your sanctuary from the pressures of daily life – not an offsite extension of your office.
Continuing Your Education
If you’re looking to boost your earning potential or change career paths altogether, you should give serious thought to continuing your education. An advanced degree in a desirable field stands to make you a power player in your industry and pave the way for long-term professional fulfillment. For instance, a master’s degree from Daniels College of Business can dramatically increase your career prospects and help pull you out of the deepest of ruts.
Learning How to Say “No”
Some members of the workforce will never turn down a request or ask for allowances to be made. Whenever their bosses entrust them with any assignment – regardless of how much work it entails or how unmanageable the timeline is – they’ll bend over backward to get it done to the best of their abilities.
However, if a project is too ambitious for just one person or the timeline attached to it is completely unreasonable, don’t be afraid to request that deadlines be extended and/or expectations be amended. In some cases, this may be the only way to get your bosses to understand exactly how outrageous their demands are. After all, if you’ve never expressed concerns about a project, they may be genuinely unaware of how much effort they’re asking you to expend.
Few things are more disheartening than getting stuck in a professional rut. Given how much time many of us devote to working, feeling like you’re going absolutely nowhere on the career front can be a persistent source of depression, anxiety, and frustration. Although pulling oneself out of such a rut can prove challenging, it’s far from impossible. Anyone looking to increase job dissatisfaction or expand their professional horizons would do well to consider the previously discussed measures.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.