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Are You in a Rut?

You've always considered yourself a top-notch professional, but lately, it seems you're losing your touch. You don't feel like you fit in anymore. It's as if you walked into the office one morning and everything was different.

These changes are probably much more subtle than you think, but you finally woke up to the fact that something's wrong. Is it you? Is it your job?

If you're encountering the following situations, your career could be in a rut.

Your Responsibilities Have Not Grown

Does your boss give you mindless tasks to do and hand off more challenging projects to your colleagues? If so, how long has this been going on? Perhaps you didn't want to face the issue, because it hurts your pride to admit someone hired long after you -- and with less experience -- seems to get the plum assignments. If your responsibilities haven't increased in several months, that should raise a red flag, suggesting a problem with your boss's perception of your competence.

You Don't Understand Jargon

Do you know your bandwidth? Perhaps you should take it offline. Are your colleagues tossing around buzzwords that leave you completely clueless?

You Can't Recruit Others

Did people used to scramble to be on your team and work with you, but now everyone's too busy to join your new project? Something may be amiss.

You Feel Like an Outcast

Do your colleagues wander away when you approach the coffee machine, or when you join a group that's chatting? When you walk into someone's office to talk, do they pick up the phone or walk out of the room?

You're So Bored

Perhaps you've been too complacent -- or downright lazy -- to learn new skills over the past year or two, and now it's catching up to you. Or maybe you just don't care. If others comment on how you seem to just drift through your tasks during the day or that you appear to have too much to do, that's probably a bad sign. The same goes for finding you have too much time on your hands at work.

Get Out of Your Rut

Since the first step towards saving yourself is awareness, pay attention to which scenarios mentioned above are similar to yours. Then do something about the problem. Meet with your boss. Read trade industry publications, as well as those published for your industry. Take a class so you can improve your skills. Maybe it's even time to look for a new job.

The bottom line is: It's up to you.

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