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How to seek change when encountering a career bottleneck

For many people, there comes a time when their career reaches a point of stagnation. One becomes unsure of where their career is heading or if their role is still aligning with set career purpose or not. Often times they stop seeing any visible opportunity to progress – which could happen in any field of work or any career stage. This situation can get a little frustrating and even bring down your morale. However, it is important to recognise that you are facing such a bottleneck. In this article we will share few steps that you could take to breakthrough this situation.

1. Acknowledge your current situation

If you ever find yourself in such a fix, the first step is to acknowledge it. Try and reflect on what you are going through and identify the potential causes of why you are feeling stuck in your career. Often times it could be because you are facing burnout or don’t feel as motivated to go that extra mile to grab the next big opportunity. It could also be because of intense competition which is making it difficult for you to shine amongst the rest.

2. Speak to your reporting manager

Have a conversation with your reporting manager to identify the role you are aiming for or discuss the roadmap that could take you to that role. In parallel, also focus on expansion of your knowledge especially in an area which might not exist in the organisation, thus giving you a competitive edge. This expertise will make you valuable in the organisation and likely in the wider industry as well, thus helping you move up the career ladder.

3. Demonstrate your potential

Another way you can target your much coveted role, is by showcasing your potential and demonstrating why you should be promoted to the next level. You can speak to your hiring manager to identify projects which you can be a part of to not only gain experience but to also show your ability of adapting yourself into different tasks and excelling, hence proving your potential.

4. Moving sideways

You could also move to a new company onto a similar role with similar title and salary level. However, make sure that comes with the offer or potential of progression to the next level. Moving to a different industry to gain new experience could also be beneficial in the long-term.

5. Focus on embracing work-life balance

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes the best way to deal with work stress is to not work. Take a break and focus on yourself instead. Feeling stuck in your career and not focussing on your wellbeing can become a perfect recipe for stress and anxiety. Try doing more of the things you enjoy such as spending time with family and friends or getting out in nature more often. Finding the right balance between work and life is the key to a clear mind and career satisfaction.

6. Eliminate negativity

When faced with a career bottleneck, it is important to adapt coping strategies and being headstrong to tackle problems positively. You might be in a situation where your true potential isn’t being recognised or the promotion you have been eyeing feels years away but letting yourself get affected won’t help. On the contrary, focus on what you can do today to make positive changes. You could talk to your HR, a trusted colleague or a friend to seek advice, but the most important step would be to keep moving and taking small steps towards career satisfaction.

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