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Many individuals who work in business will experience a period of stagnancy at some point in their careers.

Many individuals who work in business will experience a period of stagnancy at some point in their careers. This situation can arise for a number of reasons:

You’re comfortable

Your job isn’t particularly challenging, but you’re not too bored and you’re earning enough to pay the bills and contribute towards medical insurance and retirement. The next thing you know, a decade has passed while you’ve simply been going through the motions.

If you want to succeed, you need to find ways to develop skills that actively contribute towards your career.

Someone makes you an offer you cannot refuse

If we’re honest with ourselves, there are many of us who have taken jobs for one reason and one reason only: the money. You sign the contract knowing that the field isn’t anything you’re passionate about, and that it’ll involve many hours of your day, but the pay is so good that you’ll finally be able to splash out on some of the finer things in life (like that holiday overseas you’ve always wanted to take).

At the start things may be going well. You’re enjoying the lifestyle upgrade that comes with a better salary, but it isn’t too long before your motivation starts to decline. This lack of interest can impact your performance at work, as well as decrease your interest in upskilling and growing further along your current career path.

The role isn’t what you expected it to be

When you take up a new position, you usually have a pretty clear idea of what you’re expected to do, and how you can grow in the organisation. But what if you arrive on the job and find your day disappearing into tasks that aren’t related to the responsibilities originally outlined on your contract? This can be frustrating and actively hinder your career growth, since you are spending most of your time on work that’s completely unrelated to your career path.

These are just a few of the reasons you might find yourself in a career dead end, simply going through the motions every day. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Moving on to the next phase of your career

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit or a desire to take on more senior positions, there are a number of ways that you can kick-start the next phase of your career:

Make the most of your time outside of work

In a Forbes article titled If You Feel Stuck In Your Career Don’t Do Something Drastic, Do This, Jay Kim discusses how you should focus on ensuring that any time you have available to you outside of your nine to five job should be spent on growing your skills. Whether it’s to escape a job you feel trapped in or to simply to grow the skills you need to move further along your career path, you should make the most of your time to ensure you achieve your goals.

Take small steps outside of your safe zone

Many a great tale has been told about actors and musicians and college dropouts who took incredible risks for their passions, and went on to become successful beyond their wildest dreams. While this may have worked for them, some of us may not be so willing to risk our security in the hope that we’ll be able to move on to the next ideal phase of our careers. Thankfully, we don’t have to.

For many people, breaking out of their rut requires them to do just one thing: something different. Breaking the monotony of your routine can help you get the inspiration and drive to move forward.

Imagine what you expect your life to be like in five years and put it down on paper

In their article The One Question to Ask Yourself When You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career, The Muse writer Simran Takhar takes a look at the approach of Yuko Shimizu, an award-winning illustrator who presented a talk for 99u.

In this talk she describes how she had to do an assignment in which she covers an entire day of her life in five years’ time. Not just a brief breakdown, such as “I’ll be CEO of my own company” or “I will have completed studying and begun my new career”, but a detailed analysis of your day. Think about when you’ll wake up, what you’ll eat for breakfast, what you’ll accomplish at work and who you’ll be working for, and what you’ll get up to in the evening after work.

Why is this important? Yuko highlights that you should try to make this piece of writing as detailed as possible, because

… if you do not set the goals, you cannot achieve the goal.

Find the time to learn a new skill (or skills)

Another engaging way to begin your career revitalisation is by learning a new skill. While the primary motivation may be to improve your career, this will also bring with it a number of added benefits, including slowing cognitive decline as you age. Whether you decide to do this through informal online channels or to upskill through more formal channels such as a university is up to you and the goals that you wish to achieve.

If you decide to pursue learning at a formal business school, acquiring a qualification from the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) could be the jump-start you need to achieve your new career goals.

But before you begin your new journey at USB, you need to know what to study. USB offers a variety of excellent academic paths to choose from, but what if you’re not sure which path is best suited for you?

USB’s Programme Finder

USB’s Programme Finder is a tool that has been specifically designed to assist individuals with finding the career development path that best suits their unique needs. Users will need to enter some basic information about their career before choosing their areas of interest. The Programme Finder will then suggest a number of options based on this information.

Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll see the different academic programmes that you can register for, including Business Management and AdministrationDevelopment Finance and Futures Studies.

If you’d like to know more about our programmes and how they can help you kick-start the next phase of your career development, visit the website or contact our staff at USB for more information.

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