There's something to be said for getting into a groove at work and coming in each day knowing exactly what tasks you need to tackle and how you'll get them done. But there does come a point when too much routine on the job turns into a negative thing. If you can't remember the last time you were excited about a project, or got to branch out and do something different, then chances are, you're headed for or are already experiencing a career slump. This especially holds true if you're in a role where opportunities for upward mobility are limited.
If you're in the midst of a career slump or creeping in that direction, don't despair. There are a few things you can do to breathe new life into your job and make your experience more fulfilling.
1. Volunteer for new projects
It's natural to get bored of doing the same old things over and over again. So if your manager doesn't think to assign you something new, seek out opportunities yourself and volunteer for them. This might mean approaching other teams and asking to get involved in what they're doing or suggesting valuable projects of your own and taking charge. Heading up a new initiative at work is a good way to not only bust out of a rut, but get your boss' attention -- and that could open the door to a promotion down the line.
2. Interact with different people
When we think about networking, we often imagine ourselves hobnobbing with outside associates at conferences or industry events. But there's no reason you shouldn't do your fair share of networking in your own office as well. And the more people you aim to interact with, the more opportunities that are likely to come your way, whether it's joining a different team or getting invited to share your input at different meetings.
3. Take a class
The more well-rounded an employee you are, the better you're apt to feel about your career. So if things don't seem to be going anywhere at your current job, furthering your skills could bring about new opportunities. One of the best ways to bust out of a slump is to take a class or pursue a certification that gives you more options if not immediately, then down the line. If anything, learning new things might also help you approach your current role differently, thus improving your outlook.
4. Make a lateral move
Maybe a promotion just isn't available at your company, or you're lacking a few key skills to move up to a higher level. But even if that's the case, there's no reason you can't try dabbling in a new area of the business. A lateral move, in fact, might be just the welcome change your career is begging for. If you're able to switch to another position, you'll get to meet new people, do different things, and grow your skills so that you are eventually able to climb that ladder, whether internally or elsewhere.
5. Take a brief sabbatical
If you're really struggling to get past your career slump and have seemingly exhausted all other options, you might consider taking some time off to refresh and recharge. Of course, most companies won't pay for sabbaticals, so if you're not in good shape financially, this won't be an option. Similarly, not every company will agree to it. But if you have a healthy amount of savings and your employer is willing to be flexible, consider taking some time to pursue hobbies, travel, or reconnect with family and friends. Then, when the time comes to return to your job, you'll be in a better place mentally.
Your job should serve not just as a source of income but as a means of personal satisfaction. If that's no longer the case, then it pays to work on breaking out of that slump. The sooner you do, the happier you'll be on the whole.