It is easy to fall into a rut with your career. If you generally enjoy your job and can pay your bills, falling into a routine where you do the same thing day in and day out is normal. While there is not necessarily anything wrong with that, you may look at where you are in a few years and be dissatisfied with your growth. Fortunately, it is never too late to right the ship and steer your career in a more fulfilling direction.
Continue Your Education
Time and money spent on education are never wasted. If you found your current job without a degree, you may consider beginning the process to earn one. This doesn’t have to be stressful, a class or two a term may be all you can handle initially. The rules surrounding financial aid differ depending on what type of aid you pursue, but generally six credits a semester is enough to qualify you for aid. By using student loans to help finance your degree, you can afford to attend college without altering your finances. If you already have an undergraduate degree, consider how a master may aid you in your career. In some industries, it is mandatory to advance past a certain point, and in others, it will definitely help you stand out.
Pivot to a Different Industry
If you are happy with your job responsibilities but you are working in a stagnant industry, you may consider taking your skills to another industry. It can be challenging to make that initial pivot, but once you do, you may be surprised at how many other options become available to you. To move into a different industry, plan to network and attend conferences to make the type of quality connections you need when applying for a new job.
Make Yourself Indispensable
Stay on top of the latest news in your field. Whether this means reading industry publications, attending conferences, or whatever other means you need to use to stay on top of the latest advancements, dedicate time each week to doing so. Consider spending some time really becoming familiar with the particular tools used in your job. Whether it is Excel or Tableau, becoming the person that everyone knows they can turn to when they hit a wall is valuable to your career. Of course, you want to be sure you don’t end up limiting your other responsibilities to handle these more administrative tasks, but becoming the go-to problem solver has benefits.
It can be easy sometimes to think of how your career is not going where you want it to go, and what is wrong or stale. While everyone occasionally needs to wallow in those feelings, they are not beneficial long-term. Instead, look at people whose careers you admire. What position do they hold? What was their career path? What do you admire about them? What could you do to make your career align with where you see yourself in the future? Some of those questions you will have to consider on your own, but for others, you can get the answer straight from the source. If the person whom you admire is local, offer to buy them a cup of coffee so you can learn more about their career trajectory. Many people are remarkably generous with their knowledge.