Stuck In A Career Rut? published by Nick Roud

by | Jan 6, 2020

Ok, hands up, who has been or is in a career rut?

There is nothing to be ashamed of here, it actually happens to many of us (especially as we head back from breaks). So, if we appreciate that at certain times of our careers these things do and will happen ’Stuck In A Career Rut’ – what can we do to get out of them?

Welcome to todays educational career coaching blog.

Before you go writing your resignation letter I want to share with you some insights that may help you get out of your career rut. I am extremely keen to stress that when it comes to getting out of a rut one size does not fit all. So as you read todays blog think about how these pointers can support you.

Let’s face it – nothing is ‘perfect’. No job is ‘perfect’ but having the courage and strength in your mindset will help you greatly when things are tough.

Everything we do and face in our careers have highs and lows (even if you have the very best job in the world :). One thing is for sure, nobody can get you out of the rut (only you) so stop sitting around waiting for the ‘magic’ to appear, take charge and make it happen!

Sometimes you might find yourself stuck, maybe you are not sure which direction to take, confused about your current position,, not happy in your current job, enviroment and, if not managed correctly it will become the biggest hurdle you will face. Well the good news is, getting out of a career rut can be achieved, but like many things in life it will take a bit of looking in the mirror and some hard work.

In my experience as a coach it’s this time of the year when we have all had some quality time away from ‘the office’, we have hopefully had some good sleep, rest and relaxing times with family and friends, that question comes back up…….

‘How do I get up and do it all again’?

To me this is what is known as a career rut and for many, the more times we ask ourselves this very same question the more I would urge you to take action. Its absolutely ok to feel a tad sluggish this time of the year as the alarm goes off, this to me is our bodies showing us that we have been well rested and it will be only a matter of days before hitting the snooze button will stop……if not I again urge you to take action…….

So some things to look at, play around with and try as you kick start your new year.

Look At Your Routine!

Most humans are creatures of habits, we eat, work and sleep at certain times of the day. This is human nature, my advice is to try ‘mixing things up’. Sometimes change is a good thing, so what do I mean by mixing things up.

  • Let’s suppose you typically set your alarm clock to go off at 6:30am and you have done this for the past few years. Try setting it 15 or 25mins earlier. Don’t fall into the trap of rolling over and smashing the snooze button, get up, get a big cold glass of water and maybe take a quick brisk 10min walk outside (don’t worry – nobody is watching – just chuck on some clothes and head out the door (don’ forget your keys!!!) getting movement early into your day not only awakens us but also gives us the much needed time to think.

  • In your current job you have always driven a certain route from home to office – or taken a certain bus/ferry etc. In order to allow yourself a bit of change – take a different route into the office and home again, notice anything different? Did you see something in your neighbourhood that you never new was there. We all are a bit like zombies heading into work, its become a habit to go a certain way so my second bit of advice is – head another way, if possible try a different form of transport (here in NZ its summer) can you jump on a bike or walk etc. Give it a go. This may well stimulate you out of your career rut.

  • Have you always worn that same colour suit or that same dress to work? Why not mix things up, try a different colour, a different style. Yep, you may feel a little bit uncomfortable at first but being uncomfortable means you are developing!

The message here is – just take some time to mix up your daily routine and this might allow you to view your career slightly different.

Please Don’t Compare Yourself To Others!

Stop it right now, please, it is not healthy to comparing ourselves to others and trust me when I say there is more to a person than what is seen on the outside! Many people fall into the trap of comparing themselves to work colleagues – peers, friends and this comparison can lead to a career rut.

I can’t say it enough but you are you and nobody else, one of the biggest things I hear from clients is the ‘comparison speech’ ………oh, friends at school/university have such better jobs then me………..

If you feel you are comparing yourself to others then ask yourself, Why! – Why am I doing this….sure we all do it but turn that focus onto something a great deal more important…………

Start Writing Specifics Down!

A great way to really become aware of your thoughts both positive & negative is to simply write them down, how I help many of my clients as we start our coaching relationship is to do this simple exercise each day. Write 3 positive or good things that happened today (for you) and 1 negative or bad thing that happened.

At the end of each week (ideally on a Sunday evening) review the previous week and achnolodge all the good things that have happen and pay attention to the bad things. Over the period of a couple of months you will start to see patterns of these and only then can we really start to work out and get you out of your career rut.

Don’t beat yourself up, take your time!

I often ask my clients to think back and to remember the moment you got offered your current position,

  • what was you thinking?

  • what was you feeling?

  • how proud was you on your success?

  • why was you happy…………

Or I get them to remember a time when a colleague approached you and said thank you for your input, help / advice, how did that make you feel, why did it make you feel that way?

Again just because you are in a career rut today doesn’t mean you will stay in this ‘space’ forever. Trust me when I say you absolutely will be ok. Creating a positive mindset helps. Things will not click over night but they will. Every single client who has worked with me and done this simple exercise (3 good things 1 negative thing a day) have let me know how much they have shifted there focus and priorities.

Hire A Coach!

If you find yourself feeling and thinking you are not able to get out of your career rut, or you feel you have topped out then my advise is……hire a coach, trainer or therapist. Yes, “hire” someone.

Sometimes your close friends, family or peer group cant see beyond their own knowledge of you. In hiring a coach who is professionally trained and who is not emotionally connected to you (day to day) can work tremendously well for you. But make sure the fit is right for you.

Don’t Settle For The Status-Quo

Just because you did it (like this) last time doesn’t mean you cant do things differently in the future. Take risks, at least calculated ones – taking risks allows you to see things from a different angle. When was the last time you stretched yourself, when was the last time you asked for a promotion or pay rise or just threw your hat in the ring for a new job? There is nothing wrong with trying things, doing things that will spark and ignite you. Don’t be afraid to start small here or even go extremely large, there is never a right time to change jobs, take on a promotion or look for an increase in your package. Whats the worst that happens ‘you find something out about yourself that will help you in the future’.

Get Moving!

The only thing I want to share on this topic for this blog is a simple one, just move your body, what ever that looks like to you do it, walking, stretching, yoga, pilates, swimming, walking the dog or just yourself, etc keep a healthy check on making the time for this. If you are not big on exercise then seek a health coach who can start you off in an area you enjoy, nothing beats doing something you will not enjoy after a short period. We are blessed in NZ with some wonderful beaches, parks, reserves etc – make the use of these. Adding movement into your day no matter how much or for how long really will support you getting out of your career rut.


I will be doing a podcast soon on this area with a nutritionlist, but for the purpose of todays blog remember a golden rule, rubbish in rubbish out!

As we wrap up our first blog for 2020 thank you for taking the time to read todays blog. I deeply hope it gives you some areas to consider, think about and try adding into your world.

As we started out our blog today you will and can get out of your career rut, look at all the good things you have to be proud of and reflect on those. Try things and see what works for you.

Look after yourself and each other,

Nick, MCEC | MBTI Certified

Master Certified Executive Coach

Roud Career Coaching

About your Coach:

Nick is a Master Certified Executive Coach and coaches professionals in leadership and careers. He works with Senior Executives, Leaders and High Potential Individuals who are located around the world. You can connect with Nick at:

+64 21 375 630


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630