No matter how much you love your job, it’s easy to feel trapped. You wake up going through the motions and dreading getting dressed; you just want to crawl back into bed and stay home. This is human, and it happens to us all.
But if you really do feel trapped and find that you’ve completely lost track of your ambition or your drive, this list might be helpful in sorting out why—and helping you to fix it.
1. Everybody else is better than me.
If you feel that everyone is more capable, more skilled, or more talented than you are, you’ll edge yourself out of the spotlight and into isolation. Instead of constantly comparing yourself to your coworkers, remember that everyone is different. Their skills may be flashier, but that doesn’t mean that yours are any less useful or important. Concentrate on doing what you do best and apply yourself to shoring up your weak spots. And trust, deep down everybody else probably feels the same!
2. You tell yourself it’s tough out there
The economy is terrifying. Debt levels and unemployment have reached terrifying highs. You know you’re lucky to have a job, so you couldn’t possibly look anywhere else. You’d be crazy to leave! Right? Wrong. The market is always scary. If you truly believe you can do better, more rewarding work, you owe it to yourself to try. Sometimes believing it can happen is enough to take the step!
3. I should just wait until…
Until the new year. Until I have my next review. Until I’ve been here for three years. Until, until, until. Biding your time and waiting for opportunity to come to you is only a good strategy if you’re saving money, say, to start your own business. Otherwise, you should make decisions based on what’s best for you overall, not necessarily what leads you down the path of least resistance.
4. You don’t know what else you want
It’s hard to get what you want when you don’t even know what that is. But you owe it to yourself to find out. Don’t just stick with the devil you know. Ask yourself the hard questions and then do something about it if you don’t like the answers.
5. I have to prove myself.
No, you don’t. You have to follow your path and find a way to do your best work—regardless of whether you feel your version of life matches up with someone else’s checklist of success.
You have to be brave enough to get yourself un-trapped. No one else will do it for you.