Whether you’re feeling stuck, have a bad manager, out of professional alignment, or simply dislike your current job, a career rut is not a fun place to be.

We spoke to Fast Company Magazine about warning signs of a career rut and what you can do if you find yourself in one.

Here are a few highlights. You can read the full Fast Company article, here.


“When you’re in a rut, you engage in self-sabotaging behaviors to protect yourself, and tend to avoid dealing with your lack of fulfillment,” says career consultant Eli Howayeck, founder and CEO of Crafted Career Concepts in Milwaukee.


As much as you may think you’re faking your engagement well, inevitably someone on your team, or a manager, will ask, “Are you okay?” “You can’t get away with acting different from the way you feel for very long,” says Howayeck. You may even find yourself avoiding your manager for fear of being “found out” that you’re miserable.


When you’re in a rut, it’s common to find yourself drawn to job postings. Surely a new job may seems like a clear path out of your rut. However, Howayeck says looking for a new job is the worst way to start to get out of a rut. “It’s like showing up to prom without a date in your workout clothes. No one is going to ask you to dance, and you won’t feel ready to ask anyone to dance, either,” he says.


When you are ready to move on, take an inventory of your strengths, weaknesses, values, and accomplishments and map out a plan to get out of your current situation. “This means cleaning up your personal and professional brand, and most importantly, your belief system around your experience and skills,” says Howayeck. Then, when you’re ready, start to network and verbalize what you’re looking for in the next phase of your career. Taking these steps will help ensure your next leap is not straight into another rut.