How To Overcome The Feeling Of Being “Stuck” In A Dead-End Job: 3-Step Process

October 9, 2022 by Silviu Cojocaru

Read time: 6 minutes

“I want to do something different in my career. But I’m stuck.

I’m not satisfied with where I am…

And honestly, I don’t really know where I’m going.”

You may be thinking about changing your job, but are feeling stuck.

This feeling of “stuck” doesn’t go away when you change jobs.

Before you can make any meaningful change, you need to understand how to overcome this challenge.

But very few people know how… so they take new jobs hoping this feeling of “stuck” goes away.

Today you’ll understand how to get unstuck so you can progress towards a new direction in your career.

You Are Stuck In Your Job Because You Are Trying To TRANSLATE Your PROBLEMS Instead Of TRANSFORMING YOURSELF

  • Translating = explaining why your problems are real and finding new words to explain them.
  • Transforming = outgrowing your problems.

Problems don’t get fixed, you outgrow them when you transform yourself.

I used to translate my problems – “I can’t be confident in my job because I believe other people are better than me …. Ohh there’s a name (translation) for that… I have impostor syndrome”.

It felt good doing that.

I thought:
  • “There's a name for it - impostor syndrome - I finally know the problem.”
  • “If others have it, it's not my fault that I’m afraid of failure, it’s the impostor syndrome.”
  • “If other people experience the same problem, there must be a solution to this.”

There’s hope!


But that solution never came. Why?

Because I focused on translating and understanding the problem.

I got addicted to the dopamine that comes with finding WHY it happens and that stopped me from transcending it.

When you wire your brain to look for what’s wrong with you… and start to ignore solutions.

And when you finally find a solution, instead of implementing it (doing the work, that’s not always easy)...

You keep searching for a different translation of your problem that has an easier solution.

You get hooked!

The longer you search, the more you start to find new translations and reasons why it’s okay to have that problem, and the more you identify with that problem until one day…

You BECOME that problem.

Being stuck becomes your identity…“I always get into these situations…”

But – but... there’s hope, real hope!

Transforming yourself isn't complicated with this deceivingly simple formula:

Step 1: Bring back control - let the pain visit you

Unless you take full ownership of your current circumstances, you will remain stuck.

I don’t know if we choose everything in life: thoughts, emotions, fears, reactions, self-esteem, diseases, accidents… but assuming that I choose everything gives me control.

If it’s not me choosing my problems, then who is?

Blaming someone else or something else (genetics, society, my upbringing) for my problems, takes my power away.

Instead of saying:

  • “This is who I am”...
  • “I was born this way”...
  • “That’s how I grew up”...
  • “It’s because of x event that I’m the way I am”...
  • “It’s not my fault that the economy, country, competition is x way”...

It’s much more useful to assume that “I am the only person responsible for everything that happens in my life. Everything.”

Accept that you’re stuck 100% because of you.

Not your genetics. Not your parenting. Not someone or something else.

With control comes responsibility. With responsibility comes freedom.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” – Lao Tzu

Step 2: Clear out your perception - let the pain teach you

You can’t walk in the dark.

When you were born you looked at the world through a clear pair of lenses.

But with each event (positive or negative) the perception about who you are (your self-concept) got muddied:

  • Criticism in school: “I’m not enough”
  • An ugly breakup: “I’m not that lovable”
  • Not invited to the Christmas party: “I don’t matter to them, I’m not worth it”

Since I’m choosing everything in my life (step #1), I also choose my beliefs and my self-concept.

Every choice we make, at some levels, has a positive outcome - a payoff.

Ask yourself: "What’s my payoff for being stuck?"
Surface: “Comfort”.
Deeper: “I’m afraid that I will fail”.

Even deeper: “If I become successful and mess up, I will be publicly humiliated. Everyone will know how incapable I am. It’s better to be stuck in a job where no one knows me.”

The answer may not be immediately obvious to you but it’s always positive: to prevent something, protect yourself from something…

Find the payoff so you can set yourself free.

When you become aware of the payoff for being stuck, you clear out your lenses “I’m not stuck because I’m incompetent, but because I was seeking X payoff”.

Now you start to see yourself for who you really are.

Step 3: Transform - get what you need without pain

I assume that I choose to get stuck in my career (step #1).

The surface payoff?

I wanted to be valued and appreciated (step #2).

The deeper payoff?

Getting stuck = I have a problem = I’m important = I’m worthy of my boss’s attention and/or my family’s attention.

(this is just an example)

Now that you’ve become clear on the payoff, ask yourself these two questions:

1. Can I survive without these payoffs?

Answer: ___

e.g. Yes and No: I want to feel appreciated/good enough but I want to feel valued internally, regardless of what other people think and regardless of the work I do. If you can survive, great!

If you can't survive without the payoffs the second question is:

2. How can you achieve the same payoffs without making the same choice?

Answer: ___
e.g. "I feel unappreciated because I’m not doing something I care about and look for others to tell me I’m good enough. I don’t need others to tell me I’m good enough. I will plan my career so that in my next job I’m going to work on purpose - making the impact that I’ve been put on this earth to make. That way I can feel appreciated and valued without any outside input. And I’ll become the best at it so I feel competent and I’ll ask for feedback weekly if need to."

That’s it!

Now go and implement it.
“Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.” – Osho

Because this thinking process takes a minute or two, you can build a habit out of it.

And because it's so simple it will soon become your way of being.

You don't dwell on your past but act in the present.

This way you focus on what you control - you.

This way you stop focusing on the problem.

This way you transform who you are.

That's transformation.

Not translation.

Too Long; Didn't Read (TL;DR)

1. Bring back control - let the pain visit you
2. Clear out your perception - let the pain teach you what you need
3. Transform - get what you need without the pain


See you again next week.

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