As a Career Success Coach I work with many people from all walks of life and at varying stages of their career but one thing I have seen that is consistent is that the people who come to me, do so because they feel stuck and somewhat disillusioned. They feel out of control of their own lives and that they are shackled to their monthly salary.

Blame it on the film 13 going on 30 but I expected to be a pretty high flier by now. I thought there would be invites to amazing networking events; I would be managing a super team and pretty much heading home smug and happy that I was a strong “career woman” owning my life.

 But that didn’t seem to happen. Yes, I have travelled all over the world with work, attended some fantastic events and met some outstanding people but as I felt my workload increase, I also noticed a lack of confidence that I couldn’t seem to keep on top of things. My team started dwindling due to budget cuts and frankly I got into a rut of applying for jobs, taking them and then realising that I was in the same situation as I was in my last job.

Finally I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the job – it was me!

I kept putting myself through these career patterns where I applied for jobs that I knew I could do easily, get bored quickly, try to think outside the box….to then be told to stay in my box – i.e. stop sticking my head above the parapet and just do what I have been asked to do, then frustrated that I was bored I would eventually leave and take the next job on offer…which usually was no different to the one I had just left.

It took me years to figure out this pattern and it drove me crazy.

4 years ago I started on the path of self-development. I started a coaching diploma and through the tools and techniques I learnt I decided to get a coach and apply the techniques to my career.

Rather than continuing in the same pattern I started to take control and figure out what I was doing wrong.

I started to really look into what I liked about my career and what attracted me to it. Why did I keep going back to the big corporates? Did I like the security? The fact they gave me decent healthcare, a staff canteen, gym membership? Or was it the people? Or the work itself?…Or was it because I felt it was all I could do now? …It took me some time but I sat down and really figured out what it was that was holding me in the same place.

Then I looked at what it was I didn’t like. This was harder than I thought. While I could moan about my job at any given opportunity, when it came down to what I didn’t like it actually made me realise there was a lot about the corporate life that I was grateful for. In fact the people were one of the reasons I didn’t like my job and let’s face it – difficult people are everywhere. It also made me really look at myself and realise that the only reason I was in this situation was because I choose to be. I was in control and ultimately I was handing that control to others every day I sat in a job I didn’t want to be in.

By realising that things could not stay the same, I was able to put together an Action Plan to really look into my next career step. This was what really gave me control – I got to think about my dream career and what I would like more of and what I would like less of.

I could look at what it was that was holding me back in my career and how to move forward in a way that was right for me.

So what happened? Well my next “job role” was something that was completely different to what I had done before, it filled me with fear as I embarked on owning my own business alongside a full-time role I knew that this was what I needed to do. I needed to create a platform to help others – we should not be in a situation where it seems like you have no choice in your career or that you are stuck in the same career pattern time after time.

There is a saying that “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.” So let this be the sign for you to do something different.

Achieve something new. Even if you are in your 30s (which most of my clients are) you still have another 30 years in the work place – surely you want to make those years the best they can be.

Has my life changed? No, I still make career mistakes and have worked for people I regret but always trust your gut and the best thing about employment is that there is always another job opportunity around the corner. You never need to stay stuck.

Take action today and the Future You will love you for it.

Want help? Download my 5 Steps to Move Forward in Your Career workbook today and start taking control of your career.


  • Nikki Thomas


    Winning in Work

    Nikki Thomas is Founder of Winning in Work, a career wellbeing company specialising in helping businesses and leaders turn the rat-race into a happy place. Nikki, a qualified career coach, works with global organisations on stress, failure fears, time management, influencing others and confidence. She writes on the topics of career advancement, career expatriation and finding a career that is true to you. Nikki has over 10 years of experience in her field and alongside her coaching practice, writes for The Huffington Post and Medium, and is podcast host for Winning in Work, a career podcast showcasing inspirational role models in the 9-to-5. Go to for more information.