How to dig your way out of a career rut

It’s all too easy to find yourself stuck in a career rut, especially if you’re trying to balance your work with raising a family. But it’s not always as simple to dig your way out.

Career coach Fiona Clark, founder of Inspired Mums, knows all too well how it can feel to find yourself just treading water in a job you may once have loved, but have long since outgrown, or become bored by.

And she’s made it her mission to help mums move past frustration and instead find work that excites and invigorates them. Now she’s kindly sharing some of her tips for digging your way out with us.

Follow your passions

If you want to find work your really, really love, you need to get back in touch with your passions. For most mums, little sleep and the ever-growing mountain of housework means that passion can often creep low down on your list of priorities.

But on this occasion we’re not talking romance, but your inner passion – what is it that you love doing so much that you’ll happily forget about the dirty dishes in the sink or burn the midnight oil?

Many mums assume they can’t make money from a hobby or doing something they love. But often considering your passion and hobbies will give you clues to type of work you’ll find fulfilling or – at the very least – the kind of industry you might want to work in. It may be your love of interior design, yoga, photography or writing that opens up a new career to you.

Forget money   

Often mums worry too much about the financial implications of changing careers, when actually if you’re doing something you love and believe in, the money often follows.

The fact is that you’re more likely to feel inspired about something you’re deeply interested in, which means you’ll work that much harder and you’ll have a better chance of success. So instead of pursuing a career or role just because it pays well, find work that you love, and trust that you will find a way to make it pay.

How to find your passions

It’s all well and good to simply suggest you follow your passions for career-heaven, but what if you don’t have any passions? Or can’t remember what you do love doing?

All too often in life we lose touch with the things we are innately drawn to (especially when we’ve spent the past few years thinking about and tending to everyone else’s needs, and putting our own desires last).

Some lucky people have always known from when they were at nursery school that they wanted to be a vet, or that cooking was their ‘thing’, but if you don’t have that drive or clarity, don’t worry. Nor did I until I was able to articulate that I was passionate about ‘helping other people’. From that realisation I was able to translate my passion into becoming a career and confidence coach.

Focus on what makes you happy

To help you find your passions I have put together some key questions to ask yourself. But before you answer them, you need to relax and stop thinking about ‘getting a job’, or ‘starting a business’.

Instead, just focus on what makes you happy. Remember to be curious and non-judgmental of any ideas that pop into your head. The old rule about brainstorming definitely applies here – no idea is a bad idea!

Now, if you’re ready, here are the questions:

  • What puts a smile on your face?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What do you find easy?
  • What would you do for free?
  • What would you regret not having tried?
  • If you could try someone else’s job for the day, what would it be?
  • What do you want to be known for?

The idea behind these questions is not (for once) to please others or to meet their expectations – it’s about thinking about what really gives you a buzz. Remember you are expert in your own life!

You may find the results surprising – and they may eventually lead you in a new career direction, with perhaps a new job, or even launching a freelance career or starting a business.

The main thing though is you start to get back in touch with the things that motivate and drive you, and take the first step to making them a bigger part of your life again.

Need more help?

If you need more tips on how to find work you love that fits around your family and get unstuck from the career rut you may feel stuck in at the moment, Fiona has put together a free e-book, For mums stuck in a career rut – 8 steps to finding work you love. It’s packed with tips, exercises and inspiring case studies to get you out of your rut and on the way to your new career.

You can also get some ideas on five different types of business you can start from home in this article – and read how lots of other mums have turned their passions into thriving new career opportunities in our real life stories.

Fiona Clark is a qualified confidence and career coach who founded Inspired Mums to inspire women to reach their full potential at work. She is passionate about helping women find fulfilling, family friendly roles.