How to Starve Your Career (Like a Pro)

Bad habits can become so engrained that they lead to a lacklustre working life. Is your career starved?

by Maugan Dixon, January 4, 2018

Starved Career [Noun] /stɑ•vd kə•rɪə(r)/: The name given to a career that lacks direction, progress and excitement. Not all starved careers result in unemployment, but typically, they lead to a lacklustre working life and are seldom enjoyed. 

No matter how you block your hours, the majority of your week is spent working. This guide will show you how some habits can become so engrained that they result in professional career starvation (and you should be avoiding all of them, unless you really do want to make a profession out of starving your career). 

A starved career ignores the heart’s longing

A person who is starving their career works in a place that has nothing to do with their interests, either directly or indirectly and does not seek to make an active change. Not everything can be dropped just because your heart is not in it since the real world has real responsibilities. But transformation is an active process and requires that you do something to achieve a desired result. If your heart is longing to be in something else but you’re ignoring it, you’re not only starving your career, but you’re channeling an existential crisis. 

A starved career has a sharp tongue

Everybody talks to their self in one way or another. A person with a starved career has nothing positive to say to themselves. In this case, you are literally your own worst enemy. If you can’t even talk to yourself properly then how can you be positive about anything? If you ask yourself negative questions like “why can’t I…?” instead of “how do I…?” you’re subliminally saying ‘hey, self, you suck!’ A negative mind-set can only produce a poor quality of work and a poor career. 

There is so much power in positive thought and speech, but a starved career avoids this and resides with like-minded co-workers. In their natural habitat, people with starved careers have a pact mentality: they share we-hate-work memes and congregate in dark office crevices to share unproductive comments.

The best way for you to avoid becoming a well-esteemed member of the office crevices is to exuded positivity. Rephrase negative language uses into positives to begin to characterize your world into a less bleak place. Remember: your glass isn’t half empty, it’s at least half full. And when that doesn’t work, try being content with the fact that you have a glass at all! 

A starved career consists of daily complaints

How do you respond when asked, “how was your day"? A starved career reads like a tabloid excerpt: it gives you the latest gossip – “so and so, did such and such…" “You’ll never believe…” It’s riddled with negative undertones and focuses on who you don’t like, or what they did to contribute to the ruining of you day. If this is how your recall your day and you can’t think of anything good that happened, then chances are, you’re at a starved career. 

Stop and really listen to your complaints. Try to understand if it’s the job role that is getting you down or if it’s the company environment. Then use this knowledge to make informed changes.

Then instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. At the end of each day, write three things that made you happy. Over time, you might see that things are not as bleak as you made them out to be. If you can’t find three things that you enjoyed, maybe it is time to make a real change. 



If you think that curators only belong in museums, then think again! As this article will tell you, in German, there is nothing wrong with a career that doesn’t look like an upward-leading staircase. But an important part of developing your career is to curate it! 

A starved career sets no goals. A starved career also doesn’t make note of points of achievement. 

Thus, a starved career cannot use findings after evaluation and curation as a tool of progression. It does not matter how you personally decide to curate your career, so long as you’re setting goals and recording your achievements to measure growth and areas of improvement.

A starved career has nothing to be thankful for

Who have you said thank you to in the past fortnight? And I’m not talking about the courteous encounters like thanking the person who held open a door for you. If you haven’t thanked anyone, then have you not learnt anything from anyone?  

A well-watered career thanks the people it learns from, teaches others and makes use of more positive language as happy people tend to speak more positively. Learning gives you new approaches and opens avenues that will allow you mingle and ensure that you professional network is in tip top condition. And don’t forget, any professional contact, including professional newbies, are good people to have in your network. 

A starved career neglects classic advice

To close this guide, I turn to an age-old favourite: a starved career plans to fail as it fails to plan! 

This will be true even before you think your professional life has even started and applies to most areas of life. Although things might not pan out how you want, or in the order that you expect, that’s okay. That isn’t a starved career, that’s just life being, well, life. But the difference is, a starved career misses opportunities and doesn’t reach for anything. It just sort of exists like an asteroid floating in outer space. Everything that you want to gain from your career should be put into concise steps that you can execute and tick off.  

So, there you have it. Six easy ways to starve your career and make the sentence “I hate my job” ring true in your life.

Now, who’s HUNGRY?!

Orginally published in February 2016