Maybe you feel a lot like Ryan Howard from ‘The Office,’ who mopes around from 9 to 5, hating his job.
That doesn’t mean you’re destined for an unhappy professional life. You might have just hit a career plateau.
Career strategist Jenny Blake, who co-founded Google’s career mentorship program, shares her strategy for getting to a more positive place.
1. Don’t worry
Feeling unsatisfied at work can be part of a normal professional cycle for those who seek a fulfilling job that makes an impact on the world, she says.
“[Career plateaus] are not a personal shortcoming or a sign that you even done anything wrong,” she tells CNBC. “They’re a very natural part of the career cycle for people who I call ‘high-net growth individuals.'”
In fact, it could be an opportunity to develop.
2. Write down what you enjoy
You’re probably very clear on what you don’t like about your job. But what do you like?
“It’s just as important to get clear on what you are enjoying about your work,” Blake says.
By realizing what you do in fact appreciate getting a chance to do at work, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll be able to figure out what kind of position you’re looking for.
The career expert recommends asking yourself the following questions: “What is working? What am I enjoying most? When do I feel the most in the zone at work? And what am I most excited about?”
3. Picture what you want
To help you envision your next step, the career strategist recommends asking yourself these questions: “What would I love to become the go-to person for? What kind of impact would I be thrilled to have a year from now?”
Then seek out mentors on the topic, read more about the area, and try launching a career pilot, or a small experiment to test your theory.
4. Invest more time in hobbies
It may seem counter-intuitive, but focusing on becoming more well-rounded will help, not hurt. “It’s perfectly OK if your job is not giving you one hundred percent all around life fulfillment,” Blake says. “Let’s take the pressure off.”
Finding more time for hobbies are a great way to get your mind off of the negatives coming from work.
“Ideally get outside, maybe even get exercise or express yourself creatively,” she says.
Having a hobby could even give you an assist at work.
“They’re often one of the most effective ways to come up with those ‘aha’ moments that will inform your pivot or your projects that you’re working on,” she says.
The career strategist says she found yoga helpful during her own career plateau a few years ago.