Monday, May 13, 2013

Feeling Stuck

I don’t know about everyone, but I certainly have been in a place where I felt “stuck” at work. It never lasted long for me because I need to either move forward or move on. I like to be challenged and it’s non-negotiable for me in my career.  Once, I had an amazing job at a company with a great culture. The people I worked with functioned effortlessly as a team. It was a positive place to spend my time and contribute. So what was the problem with this fashionista fairy tale world? The problem was the lack of challenge. I had the same job for several years and although I had been promoted, I was still doing the same job. It felt a little like the movie Groundhog Day. Nothing seemed to change. The people who worked for me grew into their roles and became a high performing team. Since my team was strong and I wasn’t gaining new responsibilities, I didn’t feel like I was needed anymore. I was ready for something new.

What could you do in this situation? I endured it for a few months while I balanced the pros and cons of speaking up. Understanding my personality type, I would not be happy in this position long-term. I decided to have a conversation with the president of my division. I was very honest and told her exactly what I just told you. In our conversation I added that I was open to a new role inside the company, but would also start looking outside the company. The president and I talked through some options she had come up with, but they all seemed like the same job dressed up as something new. As things worked out, I left and began a new role outside the company. Some say I was crazy to leave such a great workplace, but I knew I couldn’t stay without a new challenge.

It’s not always as easy as that. In one sense, I would love to have stayed at my old company with a new role and greater responsibility. On the other hand, I knew I needed to move on so I could grow in my career. Of course, I could have taken another approach and stayed with the company and wait things out. I guess I am not that patient.

What would you have done? What have you done? If you are feeling stuck, what are some ways you can move forward while staying in your current company? How long is acceptable for you to feel stagnant in your career? What are your career priorities: i.e. balancing workplace challenges and an easy stress free day? Who can you talk to about your situation? How will you decide when to make a change if at all?

Learn more about the fashion industry from Career Coach Kate Kibler at

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