Feeling Stagnant At Work? 4 Questions To Ask Yourself

Feeling Stagnant At Work? 4 Questions To Ask Yourself

5 minutes

Living in today’s tech-driven world, it’s easy to fight boredom — pretty much instantly. If a Netflix show isn’t binge-worthy, just watch the next series in your queue. Not entertained by a TikTok on your For You Page? Swipe until you see something you like. Tired of cooking the same thing for dinner? Find a more sophisticated recipe on Pinterest

When it comes to our careers, however, there’s not always a quick or realistic fix to feeling stagnant or uninspired at work. And yet this is a common phenomenon: Global workplace data suggests that only 21% of people feel engaged at work. The rest of folks are bored, not learning new things, getting overlooked for raises and promotions, or contemplating getting a new job altogether.

What many people don’t realize is that this cycle of boredom can evolve into burnout over time, says Kelsea Warren, a workplace well-being coach and consultant. “When you’re stagnant, you can’t be present, which adds to that feeling of wanting to be anywhere but here,” she says. But if you don’t know where to go next, that can be even more overwhelming. Getting a new job is not always the best (or only) solution for dealing with career stagnation, she says. 

So what can you do? Once you can pinpoint the cause, you can take the right steps towards feeling motivated and hopeful about your job and future. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re feeling stuck in your career, plus strategies that will help you determine how to move forward. 

What do you consider your values? 

This is a tricky question, but an important one. Think about the factors that you value personally when it comes to work. For instance, maybe it’s very important to you to have flexibility and be able to work remotely. Or perhaps you perform best when you’re able to collaborate with a team of people. Or it could be that you thrive when you can tell that your work is making a positive difference in the world. “When you tap into your strengths and your values, it increases confidence and helps with engagement for sure,” Kelsea says.

We tend to run into trouble when our personal values are misaligned with our role, work environment, or organization, Kelsea says. “It creates friction, so it increases the mental load, which contributes to burnout,” she says. One example: Imagine you’re a Software Engineer whose fundamental value is having autonomy. But at work, you’re not able to make decisions or even push code due to micromanagement from stakeholders. That would be frustrating and hinder your ability to do your job.

How are you feeling about work? 

Take stock of how you’re feeling on a daily basis about work. Career stagnation can manifest in a variety of ways depending on the person. 

Some common signs Kelsea says to look out for include: 

  • Feeling dread when you wake up to go to work
  • Procrastinating on even the smallest tasks
  • Not learning anything new or expanding your skill set
  • Getting bored easily
  • Doom-scrolling job boards for an escape
  • Having hyper-emotional reactions to things that wouldn’t otherwise bother you. 

Do you have adequate resources and support to do your job?

Having tangible, structural support at work can have a big impact on your ability to progress and grow in your career, Kelsea says. This could include physical resources, like having the appropriate up-to-date software and hardware required to do your job effectively. Or intangible things, like having a company culture that cultivates creativity and collaboration or a manager who’s invested in your career growth.

Find a plan that fits your goals

Maybe you’re lacking opportunities to learn new things, take on new challenges, and advance your skills? If that sounds like you, consider signing up for a Codecademy membership to start taking coding courses and pursuing skill paths. You could even ask your employer to pay for your Codecademy membership as part of your professional development (here’s an email template you can use to do it). Or, consider talking to your manager or HR representative about signing your whole team up to learn some new skills through Codecademy for Business.   

With Codecademy Pro, you get access to our entire catalog of courses, interview prep, and career paths. We just added new features that can help you push yourself to the next level, like coding exams that test your proficiency.  

Can you switch up your routine?

For most of us, abruptly quitting your job because you’re feeling stagnant isn’t a realistic option, financially, logistically, and (let’s face it) emotionally. However, there are simple, impactful ways you can take ownership over the things that you have control over at work, Kelsea says. “This is often referred to as “job crafting.” 

Think back on your values and strengths, and figure out how you can apply them to your tasks at hand, Kelsea says. For example, if mentorship is one of your values, see if you can find time for recurring meetings with your teammates to establish a connection and see if they need help. Or if you value being on the vanguard of technology used in your field, consider setting aside time to take a course in an emerging or popular domain that excites you. (BTW, take a look at our course catalog to see all the exciting new programming languages and concepts you can learn.) 

Whether you want to upskill in your current tech role, work towards a career that fits your values, or push yourself with advanced code challenges, we have the resources you need to get out of a rut. Take the next step in feeling less stifled and stagnant at work and sign up for Codecademy Pro.

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