There are seemingly countless reasons why a professional might feel stuck at their job. Perhaps current events have taken the enjoyment out of an industry they once enjoyed, or maybe they do not feel like they are taking on as many new responsibilities as they could. Regardless of why people can feel like they have plateaued at work, knowing that better days lie ahead can be an encouragement. 

For University of Phoenix’s Don Braunstein, trying out different industries required confidence, people skills and a carpe diem mentality. Opportunities present themselves whether we feel ready or not, and our self-worth must push us forward even when we feel doubtful. Here are some suggestions on how to implement Braunstein’s mindset to avoid hesitating with new opportunities even if you do not feel ready to make a change.

Who Is Don Braunstein?

Marketing instructor Don Braunstein has taught at University of Phoenix for 13 years. He defines himself as a man of multiple career paths, and rightfully so, having started as a chemical engineer. Braunstein moved on to work in both management and publishing. In the book industry, he collaborated with critically acclaimed writers including Kurt Vonnegut, Danielle Steel and Judy Blume. In addition to his work at the University, Braunstein also operates a consulting practice in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Braunstein cited his Master of Business Administration (MBA) as the key to unlocking his career change from chemical engineering to management. He believes that earning an MBA enables professionals to develop a skill set that is transferable to any industry. While he does not think an engineer should be discouraged from trying their hand in another industry, Braunstein admitted that the switch from chemical engineering to publishing was notably different. Braunstein noticed that nearly every one of his publishing colleagues had a degree in English. Still, he successfully adjusted because he had transferable skills from his chemical engineering studies.

How to Hone Your People Skills for Career Growth

Professionals often seek formulas for how to move up in their organization. Although a clear-cut path for a promotion does not always exist, there are general skills that can help hard workers get ahead. According to Braunstein, these skills include knowing how to talk to people and communicate effectively.

For some, recognizing the importance of people skills comes from professional experience. Braunstein recalled first developing his people skills after one of his colleagues told him that he left a poor impression on the accounting department. He had no idea what he had done for the accounting department to dislike him since their only encounters involved transactional work matters. There lay the problem. 

Braunstein’s coworker explained that his colleagues needed to feel seen beyond their work at the company. The people you work with do not like to feel used or only important in the context of a job. When you work with someone regularly but do not discuss anything beyond the workplace, they tend to feel less humanized. Treating coworkers as people first and colleagues second helps maintain respect and demonstrate empathy. Honing people skills can help associates see peers as potential capable leaders within the organization.

How to Avoid Feeling Stuck at Work

Braunstein agreed that taking steps to build a career can help you become the best version of yourself. This does not necessarily mean that you seek a different opportunity at a new organization or an internal promotion. When you identify your professional strengths while also looking to improve your areas of weakness, you will notice a great deal of personal growth. 

Braunstein consistently puts the carpe diem mantra into practice when mentoring his University of Phoenix students. He advises them not to be afraid when an opportunity presents itself and not to second guess whether they can meet the moment. 

When asked about his favorite thing about himself, Braunstein replied, “I think I’m smart.” The answer might sound arrogant to some, but for Braunstein, confidence is everything. His career demonstrates that skills and certificates cannot replace the priceless value of trusting yourself, especially when pursuing a new opportunity.

About University of Phoenix

Since 1976, the University of Phoenix has been a leader in higher education. The University sets itself apart through its commitment to adult learners with pre-existing priorities beyond the classroom such as a dependent or a full-time job. The University offers a wide array of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs with flexible scheduling that fits their students’ busy lifestyles. Students at the University of Phoenix also have the option to fulfill their coursework either in person or online.
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