A career can resemble a marathon. Often, even the most excited “runners” in the beginning stages can bottom out in Dullsville mid-race. The drudgery and monotony of their job can seem overwhelming, as though they’ll never get ahead. In such scenarios, it may be time to jump off the hamster wheel and embrace a few strategies for maintaining career momentum.

1. Strike a balance. Your career is not your life; making it so is a recipe for resentment and exhaustion. Find hobbies, volunteer for deserving causes, go on a vacation or spend time with family and friends. Keeping your life full and balanced with many different activities will often spur a transformation in your on-the-job attitude and success.

2. Learn new skills. Unquestionably, the workforce is changing and technology is holding the reigns. In many careers, if you don’t have the skills to keep up, you will get left behind. Take classes and read books to keep your skill set sharp and your name atop the list of promotable employees.

3. Mentor others. The new generation of workers is hungry for mentorship and guidance. You have the expertise and they have the excitement. Combining the two can prove beneficial to both. Protégées will gain valuable knowledge of their industry and career life in general. Mentors, on the other hand, will pick up on the contagious career excitement emanating from the entry-level worker. They may pick up a few valuable tech skills as well.

4. Change directions. Maybe your workload is too great, your colleagues are unhelpful, or you simply realized your last decade was spent in unfulfilling work. Develop a practical plan and transition gradually. Whether it’s a job change or career change, take action to create gratification and personal fulfillment in your work. Then, little by little, the marathon will start to look more like a sprint.

16 September 2008

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