Are You in a Mid-Career Rut?

Caitlin Wiles
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Do you ever feel like Garfield? You’ve had a great weekend, and then Sunday night hits. Dread starts creeping in, and you don’t want the night to end, because tomorrow is the worst day of the week. Tomorrow is Monday and, in the words of Garfield, you hate Mondays.

Hating a Monday here and there is normal. Hating every Monday is a different story. If you start to view your workplace as the worst place on Earth, you might be in a mid-career rut.

Mid-career ruts are not fun and they’re not always easy to identify either. One symptom may be hating Mondays, for instance. Another is constant boredom at work. If you spend more time looking at the clock than doing your work, counting down the minutes until you can go home that’s a sign. Completely lacking interest in your work takes a toll on both you and your job—you go home feeling awful, and your lack of productivity affects the whole office.

Mid-career ruts may take the shape of general monotony. You are going day in, day out, the same routine at the same job with the same people. It can wear you down. If you’re going through a mid-career rut, you may begin to feel depressed. Depression is dangerous—and it’s a sign that something needs to change.

Here are some tips to get you out of the dreaded mid-career rut:

Change your routine.

As mentioned before, boredom and monotony can cause a mid-career rut. What’s the quickest way to eliminate that? Perhaps it’s changing your routine. You can change it in small ways, like adding in a morning run, or significant ways, like switching from working in an office to working at home. Either way, a change in scenery or activity can reset your brain and make life enjoyable again. Exercise can be particularly useful in switching things up, as it can increase your productivity and make your body happier, as well. If changing your routine involves doing something different in the workplace, talk to your boss. You feeling better benefits them as well, so they might be willing to help you out.

Set goals.

Struggling with going to work? Give yourself a reason to want to work. If you’re a goal-oriented person, this will work great. If you’re not a goal-oriented person, give it a shot anyway—it can’t hurt to try.

Goals can be work-related, such as trying to accomplish a certain amount by the end of the week or qualifying for a promotion that’s coming up. But they can also be life-related. You can have a goal to pay off your student loans, raise your credit score, buy a house, or adopt a kid. These life goals require money, which requires a job, which will motivate you to do your job. Having a reason to do something might make it more enjoyable for you. Or, you could try this method and find that it just stresses you out—no worries, give something else a shot.

Change your job.

Changing your job can be terrifying. Most people won’t consider it even when they’re struggling at their current position. If you are in a mid-career rut and nothing seems to be working to get you out of it, it might be your job itself causing the problem. Maybe it’s your boss, the environment, or your coworkers, but something isn’t working. It’s time to sit down and figure out if your issue is something that can be fixed or not. Maybe you need to talk to your supervisor about moving your desk away from Chatty Cathy or Annoying Andy. Or, maybe your job is making you miserable and it is time to hit the job market. If this is the case, you will find the courage to do what you need to. You might be better off, which will be worth it in the long run.


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  • Lionel S.
    Lionel S.

    Love to hear funny stuff like that, thanks for the input and encouragement.

  • Demetress P.
    Demetress P.

    So great to hear the advice and encouragement.

  • Anna M.
    Anna M.

    That’s super nice. Thanks for making stuff like that.

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