Stalled career syndrome: What to do when your job's going nowhere

Peter Botting
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Are you bored at work? You may be suffering from stalled career syndrome (Source: Getty)

Are you bored at work? Passed over for that promotion? Find yourself procrastinating or spending time surfing the net to make up office face time? Feel like you’re not getting anywhere? Then you may be suffering from stalled career syndrome.

Symptoms include boredom, lack of progression and unused skills. Staring at the screen while you wait for 5 o'clock to finally arrive, finding it harder to get out of bed in the morning, being more irritable and grumpy than usual with those you actually care most about.

When left untreated stalled career syndrome can lead to an inability to fulfil your ambitions, missed career opportunities and unhappiness at work and home.

It is likely that most people could be diagnosed with stalled career syndrome at some point in their life. It is a common complaint and usually affects those in their late 30's to mid 50's.

Luckily for you there is a cure. With effort, long term planning and some proactive work, people suffering from stalled career syndrome can find a way out. Treatment is not easy, and the longer a career has been stalled, the more difficult it is to remedy it. But do not give up. A life without the daily, never-ending boredom of a stalled career could be just around the corner.

Reboot your career by following these five steps:

1. Take some time off. Properly off. Including offline.

Get out of the game and recharge yourself before you decide your next move. Refresh yourself both mentally and physically by taking some time off work, getting regular exercise and spending time with those most important to you. By taking a step back, you can understand what is holding you back, where you actually want your career to go and what you can do to change it.

2. Consider investing in education and some personal development

Learn another professional skill, refresh your language skills, get another qualification or even spend an hour a day learning more about your industry and your job either online or in the local library. Just reading a book a week on the commute to work can widen your mind and get you thinking. Learning new "stuff" will be good for you, how you feel about yourself and also good for your brain.

3. Reconnect with old contacts

Connecting with old co-workers, bosses or class-mates allows you to reassess your choices and goals by taking advice and seeing what others have done. Old contacts can remind you of what your goals used to be, what you used to believe and how far you used to think you could get. Get busy on LinkedIn and join some groups that are relevant to your career.

4. Change your routine

Stop doing what you have always done. Go to the cinema or to the theatre. Go camping. Take a different commute to work - take the bus instead of the tube, walk even. Your brain needs to be alive, so it needs new stimuli. Feed it and let it grow. Maybe your brain is bored too.

5. Consider changing careers

You only live once. Work is good and a career is better. But you have to love, or at least like, what you are doing to earn your money. I am one of the lucky ones who loves doing what I do. But that is the result of choices I have made and costs I have paid. Your career - your call. Make a decision.

Have a look at You may find something that makes you want to get up in the morning.

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