Have you ever found yourself at a dead end road? What did you do when this occurred—did you simply give up on your journey and return home? Of course you didn't. You turned around and searched for a road to lead you back to where wanted to go.
Is your career stuck at a dead end?
There are times over the course of a professional career when you may find yourself in a similar situation, metaphorically speaking. You've followed the directions, yet there you sit, looking at your destination with no clue about how to proceed.
The unfortunate fact is many people in that situation see this as an end instead of a challenge. They stare longingly at the intended spot, hoping a road will magically appear to get them there. After a while—when this fantasy road fails to appear—they simply give up on the idea of continuing the journey and set up camp at a dead end street. Their transportation rusts, leaving them nowhere to steer.
If you wouldn't let this happen to your car, why would you let it happen to your career?
Is it time to find another route? It might be easier than you think.
Some people are inclined to simply push forward without the benefit of a clear-cut path. You may get lucky with this strategy; however, the odds are against you.
Others may return to the departure site and start over (or change jobs). But that would be foolhardy considering the time and effort already expended to get to this point.
To help you improve your situation, consider these three tips:
1. Communicate your needs.
First, start by understanding exactly where you are and then refuse to be reticent about it. Let someone know how you're feeling, someone who may be able to provide a path to your desired end. Companies almost never want to see good team members leave without knowing the reasons why they did. A word to your supervisor may be all it takes to get you back on track and feeling progressive again.
2. Show personal determination.
Second, be creative in searching for a path that will allow you to safely arrive at your intended destination. This is not the same as simply pushing forward like in the example above. This means cautiously and intently finding solid ground for your next step.
Is a lack of knowledge or proper training the reason for this dead end? Then, take the time to acquire what you need to avoid it. Is there a self-defeating thought process that leads you there? Then, determinedly get to the root of it. This, of course, will be a matter of personal preference. But remember, you can remove any stone in your path by applying the proper leverage.
3. Research your destination.
Lastly, make sure that this is where you really want to be. Before taking a vacation, you learn everything you can about where you're going. Choosing a career destination should be no different. After all, you wouldn't want to arrive, feeling the same as you do now.
The bottom line: Don't let what seems like a dead end lead to your career's demise.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers. Visit http://pv.webbyawards.com/ballot/41 to vote for Glassdoor in the Webby Awards.