Feeling Stuck In Your Career? Try This Unconventional Approach  

How many times have you talked with someone about the stagnation that is your career and were met with advice like “Well, go on a few informational interviews and see what’s out there,” or “Just start applying to jobs if you’re not happy!” Even articles with great advice on how to ‘unstuck yourself’ might not always work, if you’re really stuck.

So, in my first column for Give Me Astoria, I’m here to offer another approach: go on a trip. Yes, you heard that correctly. Go somewhere you’ve never been before and spend part of the time, even if just a few hours, winging it. Yes, I’m also saying don’t plan the whole thing down to the minute.

Wait, so Jill, why on earth should I take a VACATION to get unstuck in my CAREER? Shouldn’t I be focusing on my career every waking moment until I figure it out.

The short answer is no. And here’s why:

Open Yourself Up To Your Passions: When we’re on vacation, we can tend to give ourselves permission to engage in those things that make us happy/activities about which we are passionate. How many times have you gone away and gone to a cooking class, dance hall, painting workshop, etc only to come home and return to your normal life of NOT doing those things? According to several recent studies cited by Will Burns, founder of Ideasicle and Forbes columnist, when we can detach from our immediate reality, we tend to be more creative. So think about tapping into something you’re passionate about, regardless of whether it feels ‘career related’ on your trip or even spend a weekend cultivating that ‘passion muscle’.

Think Outside The Box: I remember when I was taking my sabbatical in 2012 and figuring out my next move in South America, I decided partway through it was time to think about what was next when I returned home. And all of the sudden, I was on LinkedIn looking at the same job I had left 10 months earlier. What was I doing?! I didn’t leave my old life to then go back and do the same exact thing! Anyway, after that realization, I tapped into that whole ‘being away from everyone and everything I knew’ thing to really think of other options. I looked on my LinkedIn to see what former colleagues, friends, college classmates and the like were up to. What else was out there? I went to webinars on subjects that interested me. I did a lot of exercises with myself to basically find out what I wanted to do when I had no earthly idea (a program I use with clients to this day).

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Very few things will get you out of your comfort zone than going to a new place you know nothing about, amirite? Getting out there will change your thought process from going through your normal routine, doing your normal day-to-day to a more creative, think-on-your-feet sort of process. This is just the sort of mentality that is beneficial when considering your next move and giving you oomph to do something about your current situation. 

And don’t take my word for it. Other career specialists agree. Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace cites jumping from one job to the next without thought or consideration of options outside the box as one of the deadliest career mistakes in a recent LinkedIn Pulse column.

If you can’t take a trip for whatever reason, that’s fine. I’m not pretending we can all jet off at a moment’s notice. The point is more this: we live in NYC, and what’s more- in the great borough of Queens, so there are endless opportunities to break your routine for a day or a weekend and do something completely off the wall for you. Additionally, you can think of the last time you took a trip and jot notes down for each of the three segments above to understand when you last tapped into your passions, got out of your comfort zone or thought outside the box. How did it feel? What were you able to accomplish?
Whether you took a trip, explored NYC or thought of your last trip to get ideas, if you’re feeling the momentum/mind shift I think you will, ride that wave! While you’re feeling great, do something about it, whether it’s to take a look at your resume or revise it or go to a networking event or set up one informational interview with a company you’ve been admiring. It can literally be anything- just so long as you use the positive momentum to make a single move. As Dante Alighieri wrote in Paradisio, “From a little spark may burst a flame.” That’s exactly what we’re going for here with your career- for it to take off (without the actual fire, of course.)



Jill Ozovek is a career specialist residing and working in Astoria, Queens. She works with millennials and those in a mid-career rut who are either looking for a change but have no idea where to start, or they’re in a career they love and want to have a clear professional development roadmap to knock their career out of the park and live a life they love. She can be reached for a complimentary consultation at [email protected].

Web: www.jillozovek.com; Twitter//Facebook//LinkedIn