5 reasons you feel stuck in your career

From early childhood, we start idolising people – our parents, grandparents, teachers, aunts and uncles, pop stars, a pilot, cops or firefighters. As soon as we are old enough to understand what each person around us does for a living, we start either liking or disliking it. Subconsciously, our minds begin making choices about which ‘profession’ we would like to venture into and which we dislike. We are also groomed (or maybe forced in some cases) to choose a career path that is traditionally high paying and secure.

But eventually, I guess we all choose something that we like doing or that we are good at.

I know I could just end the blog here and say ‘happily ever after’ went our careers. But sometimes, no matter how wisely we choose a career or job for ourselves, there may arise a standpoint when you start feeling stuck in that job. In simple words, feeling stuck in a situation where you seem not to be able to leave your present job but feel highly dissatisfied with work. The same mundane tasks you have mastered over the years do not offer any more learning or excitement, and you do not look forward to going to work.

While there can be numerous reasons why you may be feeling stuck at work, in my opinion, here are the top 5 reasons that might resonate with you:

1. Accepting a job role without understanding it entirely

At the time, you may have felt this job role was appropriate for you, something you always dreamt of doing. But eventually, you realise the position is much more or much less than you expected. The role does not fit like a glove but, in actuality, feels like a noose.

2.  $$$$ ruled

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When you signed on for the job, it offered a lucrative signing bonus with stock options and an unbelievable year-end bonus! It was too good to be true, and it was irresistible. It’s only when you started the job and over time that you realised the downside of all the ‘extra’ money you received. You might not feel that the money is not worth the time and effort you must put in. The work-life balance has only become a topic for discussion as you have not experienced a day without stress and pressure at work.

3. Outdated skillset

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Many people will agree that they achieve job satisfaction from not just the salaries and bonuses they receive, but greater satisfaction is realised when they see their meaningful contributions resulting in higher profits, efficiency, or global expansions. A continuous learning curve is a high point for many people to feel happy in their careers. If this is lacking and you think your skills are becoming redundant, dissatisfaction starts sinking in. You may feel worthless and lose confidence eventually in your skillset.

4. Not enough recognition at work

This is another factor that makes you feel stuck at work. Your work is not recognised, and your boss has been fending the next promotion and increment questions you have been asking for. Even after mastering the work and putting in time and effort, your job does not seem rewarding anymore.

5. Fear factor

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Change is not everyone’s cup of tea. Everyone is afraid of the unknown. Stagnation happens when you are fearful of making a move. You may be applying for a new job, but inside, you know you are stuck in the current job and unable to move. Not receiving any favourable response from job search also reinstates the lingering fear.

Our career is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Most of us spend the majority of our time, say 8-10 hours, at our jobs out of the 24 hours. You can follow a few simple steps to overcome this situation of feeling stuck at work. Stay tuned and check out this space for my next blog, five easy steps to break free and get unstuck in your career!

Is your company competitive? Here are 4 strategies to make it one! 

“No competition, no progress”

Bela Karolyi 

I could not agree more with the world-renowned Hungarian-born Romanian American gymnastics coach, who transformed gymnastics coaching in the US and was responsible for bringing home numerous international laurels. His words are not only applicable in sports but are equally fitting in the business world as well.  

Businesses do not operate in isolation. Gone are the days of monopoly where companies could dominate a market or industry. Today, in the fast-moving-digital-world, every business, big or small, faces stiff competition to hold a fair share of the market.  

Carefully analyze company’s competitive environment when formulating a business plan

When formulating a business plan, it is essential to analyse the company’s competitive environment. The competitive environment is the intricate external system in which the business operates and comprises of several factors or elements that affect and shape the industry. These elements include, and are not limited to:  

1. Competitors – Direct and Indirect  

2. Government regulations and laws  

3. Suppliers  

4.  Substitutes  

5. Technological trends  

6. Demographic Composition  

7. Network of Distribution  

8. Corporate culture  

Industrialists, innovators, and entrepreneurs need to think critically about these factors that affect the company’s profitability and success. (Also, check out our blog on 7 ways to improve critical thinking). It is imperative to understand the competition landscape and scope. This is necessary to prepare the kind of resources, investment, and technology required to build a sustainable and profitable business. In the good ol’ days, companies could thrive with little or no competition. In comparison, companies now must adopt new and innovative means to compete with other firms in the business environment and to have a competitive advantage over them. Strategic forecasting, planning, and implementation can lead to success in competition. Various strategies can help businesses build undefeatable and sustainable products and services.  

Caption – PESTEL model (reference)

Here are 4 strategies that can help build competitive advantages for your business:  

1. Cost Leadership  

Businesses run for profit. By definition, profit is a financial gain realised due to the difference between the amount earned and the amount spent on buying, operating, or producing a product or a service. It is one of the oldest tricks in the (business) book to be a cost-leader. When a business decides to pursue the cost-leadership strategy, it vows to provide the goods or services at a competitively lower price than any of its rivals can ever offer.

Such firms operate on the lowest cost structure, have reasonable control over the entire supply chain, suppliers, and raw materials, and have tight controls on the whole value chain activities. Walmart, IKEA, McDonald’s, Primark, and RyanAir are a few examples of firms that attribute their business success to a cost-leadership strategy.  

2.  Differentiation  

“You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it  differently”.

Steve Jobs  
Why HERMES?

Offering a low-cost product is not always an option in a competitive environment. Different consumers have different demands. Companies, by providing high-end quality products, also influence many customers’ buying decisions, who would otherwise choose the cheaper alternative. Even though companies always intend to keep their costs low, they are willing to spend on research and development costs, marketing, customer service, or innovation to develop a niche product or service, for which consumers are willing to pay a premium price. Apple, Starbucks, Tesla, Tiffany & Co., Emirates, and Hermes are examples of companies whose thoughtful approach to differentiation and compelling storytelling strategy makes millions of consumers spend premium prices for their products and services.  

3. Focus  

This strategy is quite different from the above two strategies. Business here focuses its primary strategy, i.e., operating at a lower cost or adding value but on a limited market, much narrower in scope than the broader cost leader or differentiator. The company intends to make concentrated efforts based on either a particular buyer group, geographic uniqueness, a unique product line, or a special attribute appealing to a niche customer class to cater to the specific demand of a limited number of customers. Gucci, Rolls Royce, Diet Coke, NetJets, and DC Design are a few examples of companies that have successfully adopted the focus strategy.  

4. Strategic group  

“Anytime you find someone more successful than you, especially when you’re both in the same business, you know they are doing something that you aren’t”. 

Malcom X  
The Cosmetics Industry has close knit competition and companies follow similar strategies to build competitive advantage

Groups of businesses of comparable size and range that operate in the same industry and follow the same strategies to build competitive advantages are termed strategic groups. The competition is so closely knit in such environments that even a small movement by the competitor affects the others’ market position. It helps build a strategic group map to identify businesses’ closest competitors and evaluate how your company is positioned in the industry. Common examples of strategic groups are the restaurants, retailers, cosmetic brands, and the aviation industry.  

These are four strategies, more commonly known as Michael Porter’s ‘generic’ business-level strategies as these can be applied to any business, by any firm in any industry.  

Which strategy do you think is the most powerful in building a competitive business advantage in your own context? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.