‘My career isn’t satisfying anymore’

Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers her perspective on your problems


‘My career isn’t satisfying anymore’

I have been working in my current job for 10 years and feel it’s time to move on, as I’ve now gained experience in all departments. I feel trapped because I work for a company with really good staff benefits and I may not get those elsewhere. Promotion opportunities don’t arise very often and I’ve never been lucky enough to get a more senior position, as the job always gets offered to a younger person. I don’t even know if I still want to continue with what I’ve done for the last 16 years or try something different. Please help. Name supplied

I suggest that we get away from the idea that you’re either stuck in your current job or leaping into the unknown. At the moment, you don’t have a choice to make, because you don’t have a viable alternative. You’re not going to leave your job for an undefined ‘something’.

Let’s play with Albert Einstein’s words: ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them’. In your case, if what your company offers makes you feel trapped, can we really call it a benefit? What would you choose to do if you could? Making a difference in other people’s lives? Working with colleagues who make you laugh? A half-day a week to learn how to make dry-stone walls?

How might you experiment with your own choice of benefits in your working life? Can you ask for time off as either leave, or a sabbatical, to do something different? My own fantasy choice would be the Career Break offered by Girls For Sail – four months sailing from the Canaries to the Caribbean. Can you find a half-day of work experience or offer your skills to a local charity for a month?

This is not job-hunting, it is job-gathering. Along the line you’ll begin to see other opportunities, and when the time comes to choose, you’ll know.

Photograph: Istock

More inspiration:

Read Five Top Tips for getting Ahead at Work on LifeLabs

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