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30 May 2023
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Is Rust-Out damaging your career prospects?

We are all familiar with the term “burnout”, which is what happens when someone has too much work to do, and not enough time to do it. But what about “rust-out”? This is when an employee is stuck in a role from which they have become disengaged, and struggles to find purpose in what they do.

It may be less superficially glamorous, but rust-out is just as insidious as burnout, and has equal potential to damage your health and well-being.

A Gallup survey found most workers living for the weekend, clockwatching, and motivated solely by their salary, with only 21% of employees reporting feeling engaged at work and few finding their work meaningful.

Given the proportion of our lives we spend at work, that’s a lot of time to waste being under-stimulated, uninspired and dissatisfied.

Less time to focus

Rust-out seems to affect women more than men, perhaps because they bear the heavier burden of child-rearing, caring and domestic responsibilities, and have less time to focus on their goals.

Stuck in a role they no longer find stimulating, they may fear losing job security or be unable to see growth opportunities elsewhere. The longer this continues, the more entrenched their sense of inertia.  Paralysis sets in.

According to Sharon Peake, founder of gender equality consultancy Shape Talent, when the demands of a role are lower than our skills and ability, we experience boredom, frustration and, ultimately, rust-out.

Job satisfaction––or “flow”––is to be found in roles where the level of challenge aligns with our capability and motivation, allowing us to become absorbed in our work.

The situation becomes chronic

No job is exciting all the time, and every role involves tasks that are tedious or frustrating, but rust-out is what happens when the situation becomes chronic, performance suffers and mental and physical health are threatened.

If you feel rust-out looming, it may be possible to reinvigorate your current job by talking to your manager and actively seeking out stretch goals––new challenges within your existing role––until there’s the chance of promotion.

But if that’s not possible, whether because of micro-management, a toxic boss, poor corporate culture, lack of career progression or boredom with the nature of business, and you find nothing about your job motivating, challenging or stimulating, then you may simply have reached the end of that particular road.

Recognising rust-out for what it is can be the first step towards turning it into an opportunity to reframe your career.

If this has got you thinking about a possible move, you can check out thousands of roles on the Maddyness Job Board, such as the three below.

As a Barclays Senior Cyber Fraud Analyst, you’ll conduct analysis of cybercrime threats targeting customers, and coordinate the introduction of mitigating solutions to counteract the threat. You’ll be an integral part of the Cyber Fraud Fusion Centre, coordinating analysis of threats from beginning to end across a diverse set of stakeholders and teams, whilst also managing a team of analysts, and supporting the CFFC leadership team in the continual enhancement and expansion of the cybercrime service across the global bank.

To be considered, you will need experience and understanding of working in either cyber-fraud intelligence collection and analysis or cyber-enabled fraud prevention and detection as well as an understanding of malicious tools used by cyber adversaries to target the financial sector.

Roku is seeking a Sr. SW Engineer, Automation (Sr. SDET) – Streaming Media to build out a fully automated media player test suite, as well as performance monitoring tools. In the role, which is based in Cambridge, you will be responsible for creating automated media player tests and all the required infrastructure surrounding it. Your tests will cover VOD and live streams as well as clear and encrypted content with corresponding license servers. You’ll be working cross-functionally with various engineering teams.  The role requires an energetic and self-motivated individual with excellent communication, organisation, and technical skills.

At Accenture, a Technology Delivery Lead role is on offer where you’ll join a multi-functional team using the latest technologies to work with health and public sector clients, and help them deliver solutions to help them meet their needs. You will have familiarity with a variety of delivery methodologies, including Scrum, Kanban and Waterfall and have experience of custom development on open source modern architecture, cloud platforms, and SaaS offerings.

You should have experience in running technical/engineering projects and organising teams for Agile and/or waterfall delivery, and you’ll need to be a clear, confident, and accurate communicator with strong stakeholder management skills across the client organisation including senior client stakeholders.

For thousands more opportunities in tech, visit the Maddyness Job Board today