What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Your Career

What’s holding you back? Why do you stay at the job you hate? Are you getting discouraged during your job search? What makes you continue to put your idea for a business on the back burner? Haven’t you been meaning to ask for a promotion?

These are a few examples of questions we ask ourselves when we feel stuck in our careers. We recently attended S.H.E. Summit hosted by ClaudiaChan.com and our favorite panel was titled “Today’s Corporate Culture Challenge: How We Can Promote Women’s Leadership.”

The title was a bit misleading because the advice was applicable to anyone looking to advance their career, whether or not they will are ultimately looking for a leadership role. What we were really discussing is how can you be a leader in your own career.

Below are our favorite tips from the panel which included Anita Sands, Chief Operating Officer of UBS Wealth Management Americas, Charlotte Relyea, Partner at McKinsey & Company, Gloria Feldt, a Women’s Leadership Speaker & Advocate, and Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success.

Ask for the things you need to be successful.

Do you need flexible hours or to take an actual one hour lunch break to feel refreshed and ready to takle the rest of your day? Are you searching for a job and know someone who can connect you to a person at your dream job? You need to be agressive and ask for the things you need. Of course, be sure to ask the right people in the right way. Ultimately, if you’re getting denied the things you need to excel in your job, you need to move on.

Your past doesn’t have to define your future.

You have the power to make a pivot in your career. We have access to tools that can help us learn anything we want and meet and speak with people who used to be out of reach. Think about the simple fact that you have the opportunity to toss up a LinkedIn page or simple website where you’re in control of your story and what you want people to know about you. It’s challenging to start from scratch, but absolutely possible to reinvent yourself.

She Summit 2013 Claudia Chan

Work doesn’t speak for itself. You have to speak for yourself.

You need to tell the right people about the great work you’re doing. In reality, you’re the only one who’s looking out for you. Be your own publicist. Make the effort to share with your colleagues when you land a big client or run a successful campaign and be confident during your job interviews. Just remember that a good publicist knows who to tell at the right moments.

Watch out for the invisible hand.

Quiet that voice in the back of your head that keeps discouraging you from doing what you know is right. Maybe that voice is a real voice…a voice from your friends or parents, or maybe it’s your own. Yes, it’s great to ask for people’s opinions on your career, but ultimately you have to decide what’s best for you.

Decide thoughtfully about how you spend your time.

Time is your most valuable asset. Your career takes up a large chunk of your life, so don’t you want to be happy during that time? If you’re looking to advance within a company, ask for new projects or internal “side” projects if your current tasks are starting to get boring. Unemployed? Start volunteering, go to conferences, and reach out to people who inspire you and offer to buy them coffee.

What have you done to get unstuck? Please share your tips with us in the comments.

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