Do you have the feeling you have plateaued in your career?

Like your career is going nowhere? If you currently experience you have plateaued in your career this is a blog to read. Professionally, you are not moving forward or backwards. No matter what you do, it is not taking you anywhere. What’s left is a feeling of discomfort and you feel demotivated from time to time.

The feeling of plateaued in your career

Especially in a situation like we are dealing with right now – in crisis times – the feeling of plateauing – going nowhere – comes peeking around the corner easily. We have loads of time to think and the conclusion might be that your current work is not satisfying you anymore. Or we come to the conclusion there are more important things in life and it is time to leave the stress and dissatisfaction behind. You also believe it is not the right time to change jobs. It is time to stay put.

I am raising this subject because I meet people who feel this way regularly. Reason to highlight this subject has 2 reasons:

  1. It seems like a taboo to talk about this subject with your manager or HR.
  2. Employers in the Netherlands often have the budget available to support people in career questions and people don’t know how to make use of it without raising the subject.

Open up the conversation about this subject with your manager is difficult and hardly ever done. It is so easy to misunderstand each other. One of my clients wanted to check if she was still on the right track after a life-changing experience and was confronted with an employer who gently tried to lead her towards the exit. Until she told them this was not her intention.

I just want to create awareness for this subject AND offer you some reflection. To get your brains ticking on this subject. And hope it helps you to move forward.

The cause of having reached the plateau in your career

The cause of having this feeling of “going nowhere” is different for everyone. For some, it is boredom, for other’s it is having reached the ceiling of their position. Others experienced life-changing events and realized that their current work or job is not what satisfies them anymore.

To share some personal experience – I had the feeling I was not in the right occupation and place anymore after my dad died. My dad died unexpectedly about 10 years ago and it turned my life upside down. I was in HR back then and workwise I suddenly had the feeling of: “Is this it? Why am I doing this?” and had a strong feeling of wanting to contribute more. Until then my career progressed as it normally does and I just followed the path that was laid out for me naturally. I was not consciously aware of the “why” behind the choices I made now this “why” suddenly became super important.

A big Challenge

The first challenge being in this situation is to keep up the motivation to go to work and do the work that needs to be done high. Because the inner work that comes along with changing careers takes time and reflection. And I can imagine you don’t want to quit your job right away. Here are 2 questions you can ask yourself to work yourself through this situation.

The first question you can ask yourself is before you go to work is:

“What could make my day a challenging/wonderful/satisfying one?”

Set your intention for the day.
This is a good thing to do for everyone by the way.

The next thing you probably want to do is reflect on your current situation and see what can be done about it. This needs a more thorough analysis of the situation you are in. What I notice when the feeling of having plateaued in your career arrives is that loads of people are focused on “how to get to a new position” and they have no clue about the “What” they are looking for.

And if you don’t know what you are looking for, it is impossible to get it. You will only end up disappointed.

Questions you can ask yourself

So questions you can ask yourself to discover the “what” are:

  • What do you wish to let go or even lose?
    And be specific here – name tasks, habits, responsibilities – the more specific you are, the better this will work.
  • What things/tasks can you do with passion and concentration?
    Like work on for hours losing sight on time.
  • Where you want to be in one year from now?
    aka: How do you want to see yourself in one year from now?

There is research done on this topic and how to get out of it. One of the conclusions: Doing this on your own isn’t the best idea. Your thoughts keep running in the same circles and you have no one bringing you to deeper reflection and suggest ways out of this situation. The best present you can give yourself is help.

Join the free webinar I have plateaued in my career, how to overcome this? on May 25 – 20:00 hrs. You can register here.  


I have plateaued in my career
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