How to Move Forward when you Feel Stuck

We’ve all been there.

Your job has become stale and uninteresting. You’re under increasing pressure to deliver more with less. People are coming and going, the culture is shifting. It’s not quite what it once was. You know you don’t want to stay in this role (possibly not even this organisation) for much longer.

But it’s not the right time to jump ship.

You’ve got commitments, time is tight, there are too many balls to keep in the air to really focus on a job search and all the upheaval that would entail right now.

So what’s the alternative?

Getting a new job is easier when much of the work has been done behind the scenes before you even start looking for your next opportunity.

In fact, if the work is done behind the scenes, then you may never have to look for a job very hard again. The job will look for you.

When you’re feeling stuck but not ready to find something new, start adopting the habits of the 1%.

The 1% are those people who seem to float around the jobisphere effortlessly, being promoted internally, being headhunted for exciting external roles, getting every job they go for.

By adopting the habits of the 1% today, you will find getting a new role much easier whenever you’re ready.

I talk to all sorts of different people in coaching and networking conversations. I notice patterns in how certain behaviours create particular outcomes.

Here’s 5 ways I see the 1% behaving to have most of the work of job searching done in advance of a move.

#1 They reflect so that they understand themselves well

When did you last reflect on your skills set or your strengths? Understanding your value is an important part of joining the 1%. These people reflect regularly and act on their insights.

When you realise, for example, that you really enjoy work that involves analysis, you might start to look for more opportunities within your current situation to play to that strength. That way, you feel more energised more of the time, and you deliver better value to your employer.

Communicate your reflections to your current employer so that you can work out together where your strengths and skills are best put to work.

Ask also in your reflection, what can I learn from where I find myself now? What will I do differently when assessing the next opportunities that come along?

#2 They set and maintain firm boundaries

The 1% know that if they allow their boundaries to be overstepped too often, then they will burn out and not be able to deliver on their objectives.

If work dips too far into family time or colleagues take advantage of your conscientiousness and continually throw more projects your way, you will start to feel resentment and anxiety and the net result is a downturn in productivity and motivation.

Setting firm boundaries is a practice that you can start right now. Sometimes, a lack of boundaries is a contributing factor to what is making you unhappy in your current role.

Listen to this short podcast I recorded with Stephanie Shaw, Careers Coach at Henley Business School, where we discussed a webinar we ran on boundaries for the Henley’s Apprenticeship and Flexible MBA students.

Creating and Maintaining Boundaries podcast with Sarah Rourke and Stephanie Shaw

#3 They make themselves visible in their expertise

The 1% show up online and in person.

Have you ever attended an event where you listened to a speaker and thought, “I know at least as much as them about that!”.

You wonder how they get these gigs and why nobody’s knocking on your door to get your opinion.

The 1% have already shared their opinion far and wide through writing online and attending events. They get out into the world and talk about their expertise.

Austin Kleon, an artist, writes about the value of demonstrating, in public what you do. His book, Show Your Work, applies as much to career management as it does to art.

This also works for those who know they want to change sector, role or step up into leadership roles. If you are not currently what or where you want to be, start learning about it, reading about it and sharing what you’re finding out online. When you next come to look to move, you’ve already shown much of your work on moving towards your new goal.

#4 They build a team of useful people who work for them

Stephanie Shaw and Sarah Leach, both coaches at Henley Business School, refer to this as the Personal Board.

It’s made up of the people in your life who act for you as friend, sounding board, mentor, coach, sponsor and so on. The 1% have this Board firmly in place and are constantly tweaking and refining it, also looking to add as much value to others and they receive.

Now is a good time to start developing your Personal Board.

#5 They carve out time to put pennies in the pot

If it feels like you don’t have time to do any of this (I understand that lack of time is possibly why you’re not leaving your role) then consider what will happen if you don’t make time.

The 1% feed their piggy bank little and often. Putting pennies in the pot whilst you intend to stay put will mean way less time and effort spent when you come to make your next move.

Creating protected time to specifically work on career management is a surefire way to work systematically towards what you really want to see happen in your career.

It will mean your next move is considered, backed by credibility and research, makes sense and is not just a knee-jerk reaction to a tasty looking carrot that catches your eye at some point.

It will mean that when you come to raid the piggy bank, there will be a little stock of gold for you to invest wherever you like.

Sarah Rourke, Careers and Executive Coach, Henley Business School