Career Routines That Lead To Career Ruts

“I realize why this is so valuable. You are making me break out of my normal routine.” Gavin, a 37 year old business development manager at a New Haven based company noted as I asked him another question about his career plans.
We get stuck in our routines. Routines bring comfort. The challenge comes when growth stops and the routines became the “same old, same old.” In Gavin’s case, he graduated UCONN fifteen years before our meeting. He landed a sales job with his current company.  He liked it enough at first but as he grew wistful when he said “if someone told me I’d be here 15 years later, I would have screamed.”  A few years ago, he said he felt like “Jim from The Office.”  For those who never watched the show, Jim’s character evolved as the show progressed but in the first few seasons he makes clear that the job has little meaning for him. Jim stayed because of his interest in Pam and Gavin stayed because of his “work friends.” But when the latest of several friends left, Gavin had an internal career crisis.

“What am I doing with my life?” Gavin asked himself.  ”I’ve been going to the same office building for 15 years. I get there basically at 8:30.  I leave around 6.  I do many of the same tasks that I always did but now I just do these at a higher level of responsibility. I’ve never really been into the company’s products.  Not that I don’t like them but I’m just not that interested in them. When I called you, I realized that I hadn’t done any real career soul searching outside of occasionally getting blue and wondering what the hell I was doing in the same job.” 
As we worked together, Gavin found that his new found “create a career” was translating to other areas of his life as well.  He started getting in shape, reading more, and he proposed to his long time live-in girlfriend. 
The beautiful unintended effects of breaking a routine.