April 8

I feel trapped in my job


If you’re feeling trapped in your job, but don’t know how to get out (or where to!), you’re not alone. Recent research by onePoll found that 40% of respondents felt trapped in their jobs. Obviously the pandemic has a huge impact on that right now, in some sectors especially, and it will take some time for the job market to get back to some sense of normality.

But, it’s worth considering two things:

  1. There are employers hiring, and there are opportunities out there. Could a career pivot be what you need to move onto new opportunities?
  2. If you’re thinking about a career change, it can take time to do this effectively, the longer lead time you give yourself the better. Career changes don’t happen overnight. So what better time to start exploring what your future could look like than now?

Here are a few ideas to help you feel a bit less trapped in your job, and more like you’re moving somewhere:

Ideas to feel less trapped in your job

Consider Sideways moves

If the obvious routes within your profession or industry are blocked right now, consider sideways moves. Do similar roles exist in another industry? Are your skills transferable into another line of work, e.g. sales ability, developing client relationships?  Might a secondment or a short term contract help you bridge the gap into a new area of work? 

Define what you're looking for instead

If you want change, define what you’re looking for instead – research shows that having a vision of something you want to move towards has a greater chance of success than just trying to get out of your present job. Try creating a Postcard from the Future to get your vision started.

Work out what motivates you 

Having skills and experience are great, but what if you couldn’t care less about the work? Spend a little time considering those moments you felt most ‘alive’ and enjoying your work. When the time flew by because you were so absorbed in what you were doing. They will give you clues as to what you find most satisfying at work. You can also try my career satisfaction questionnaire to see what’s most important to you at work, and what’s missing.

Work out which talents you're not using

We all have a unique set of strengths, things we are great at and which we enjoy. If you’re not using them, chances are you are feeling disengaged, under-utilised, and like you could offer so much more. Try the Jobmi strengths questionnaire to find your strengths and then look for opportunities to use them.

Seek new experiences

If you want inspiration, ideas, opportunities, these are unlikely to arrive without you proactively seeking them out, and being open to them when they show up. So don’t just spend time on jobsites, or sharpening your CV. Try new things, listen to a new podcast. Connect with and talk to new people. Join groups. Attend webinars and events. Join networking apps like Clubhouse, Shapr, Cityhour. Ask for advice and information. Take a course. Start a new hobby. These new experiences will give you an insight into life in another career, whether it’s for you, and what you need to do to make the change.

Explore changes within your organisation

Explore possible changes within your role/organisation – are there new projects or responsibilities that would allow you to flex your muscles (so to speak) and find a new challenge? Is a sideways move or secondment an option? 

Start a side hustle 

Is there a hobby, passion or interest that that you’d love to test out as a business? I’ve done this several times myself and it’s a great way to find new challenge, do something really interesting (which you love) and can open up new opportunities.

If you’re really hating your work, but are feeling trapped in your job and unable to leave, try some of these strategies to manage the day to day more bearable – what do to if I hate my job.

Free resources to help you if you’re feeling trapped in your job

I hope you found this article useful. I’ve created a few resources to help you get started with exploring new opportunities and making a change in your career, and work through the points in this article. They will also help you become clear on what you want and how to move forward with your new career.

You can get these free resources by subscribing to my newsletter.

If you’re considering a change in your career and would like some more support, please contact me. We can talk about what’s happening for you right now, what is getting in your way, and how to get started.

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Would you like support in working out what career direction is right for you?

For over 15 years I've helped professionals who feel stuck in their career to find work they love. Find out more about how I can help you.


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