5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get Out of a Career Rut
It’s a strangely smart time to figure out your next pivot
I know what it’s like to be in career quicksand. I’ve pursued opportunities because they seemed shiny and new — or because they’d save me from having to subsist on a diet of ramen and oatmeal. But there came a point when I finally asked myself: Was I doing what I was meant to do? I’d spent many years in digital marketing, but I wasn’t sure I could see myself at 70, sporting my finest muumuu, cranking out yet another social media strategy for yet another company I wasn’t passionate about.
When it comes to reinventing our careers, rarely do we look at the whole of our lives to draw lines and make connections. We might look at the last three jobs on our résumé and figure, “Well, I guess this company/role/project is the next linear step.” Or we’ll make moves out of desperation — maybe we’re hoping to escape a nightmare boss, burnout, or unemployment. But by stepping back to consider all the decisions we’ve made and paths we’ve taken, we can see how we ended up where we are today — and where we should go next.
I am not a woman of faith, but the Franciscan friar Richard Rohr’s words have resonated for me in my own periods of career uncertainty: “[W]hat I always tell the folks is there’s no nonstop flight from order to reorder. You’ve got to go through the disorder.” For many people, this moment we’re in — the “great reset,” as one might call it — is a strangely great time to uncover your own pivot.
I believe in methodology and the power of process, so I applied the brand-building techniques I’ve used over two decades to create a map that can help reveal the work you’re meant to do. If you’re feeling lost, burned out, or stuck in a rut, ask yourself these five questions to open up new mental pathways and get your creative juices flowing.
1. How do you want to spend your time?
The author Zadie Smith once said, “Time is how you spend your love,” and I believe this to be true. Time is the single resource we can’t get back, so how, where, and with whom we spend it is integral to how we thrive in work and life.