That sinking feeling that your job is a dead end

You know that sinking feeling. When your dream job ends the day more often in frustration. When you’re spinning your gears, doing your best and nothing is happening. Your boss is a hot mess and your coworkers no longer care about their work either.

Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job insists we’ve all been there at one point in our career. “It is often difficult at first to discern if you’re in a stagnant position. The realization rarely happens overnight because oftentimes the employee has offered to take on more challenging assignments, but that falls on deaf ears. After hitting enough walls, however, you realize that those efforts and energy could be better placed toward a new job search.”

I think the hardest part of this is the guilt that we feel when this happens. Suddenly, you’ve pinned all your problems on your poor work ethic, lack of skills and tendency to take too many bathroom breaks. “If only I worked 50 hours a week instead of 48,” you tell yourself. “If only I’d have worked harder to get that project in early.” You don’t realize that you’re killing yourself, trying to blame yourself and fix things.

What is hard to bear in mind is that you can’t fix office morale. You can’t fix the fact that no one lifts their heads to take a lunch break and no matter how many hours you work, there is no place for you to go. You can’t fix the preferential treatment that certain employees get. If your boss doesn’t support you in your career goals, you can’t make him!

If you are no longer challenged, your skills aren’t being utilized and you’ve honestly given it a fair shot, there’s little else you can do. Reach out your feelers and see what opportunities may be nearby. Who knows, there might be an opening in a different department or floor that will be a change worth making.

But most importantly, it’s hard not to lose hope. Invest in yourself. Do the things you love and find solace in them. Meditate and exercise to clear the stress from your head. Relax. Stress only makes things seem worse— your performance suffers, you’re more on edge, you gain weight.

These are the things I am reminded of this month. It has been a long road to a job worth having. After exhausting all possibilities and accepting the fact that i have done all I can do, I reached out to my network of colleagues. Someone knew of an open position and I made a leap.

It was a hard leap to make. The benefits at my current job are nice, and I like my coworkers, but that wasn’t enough to keep me coming to work every day and leaving feeling fulfilled. The team was riddled with problems and crippled by poor management. As bad as I felt, I jumped ship.

I’m thinking nothing but positive thoughts right now. I have come this far, I will make it even further. Don’t give up. There’s hope.


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