Guide to the ‘Velvet Rut’

What is the Velvet Rut?

The ‘Velvet Rut’ is where you find yourself in an unfulfilling job in which you are not learning anything new, not using the full extent of your skills and are just bored stiff.

You probably disconnected several months ago and are now just going through the motions. The work is no longer stretching. You can do most of it with your eyes closed so you are unlikely to get fired for poor performance.

Your level of competence and familiarity with the job means that, while it is not exciting, it isn’t scary either. You are pretty much marking time. The difference between the ‘Velvet Rut’ and any normal rut, is that the pay and benefits are very good. You couldn’t get the same amount of money for such an easy life anywhere else.

The longer you stay, the more comfortable the environment becomes because you know the organisation inside out and can therefore work the system. You thus minimise the risk of anything unexpected happening or of being faced with difficult situations.

Seniority and good relationships leave you well placed politically, so the pay rises and good bonuses keep coming. You are also too expensive to make redundant because of your long service. You might feel as if your brain is shrinking and sometimes want to scream at the tedium and banality of it all but, in the final analysis, they are paying you way too much for you to pack it in and do something else.

Investment banks and other large City firms often have lots of people in ‘Velvet Ruts’ in financial and also support services like HR and IT. They pay people large amounts of money but many stay because they have effectively priced themselves out of the market but will be doing exactly the same stuff next year and the year after.

If you get really bored, you can compensate for the lack of stimulation at work by finding it in in your spare time. It is no coincidence that many people who are in ‘Velvet Ruts’ are  also the community activists, charity organisers, residents’ association committee members and hobby-club newsletter writers that the rest of us rely upon so much. Even the ‘Velvet Rut’, it seems, has some social benefits.

Are you in  Vetvet Rut and how do you get out of one?

The ‘Velvet Rut’ is difficult to get out of ( which is exactly why it has been named this!) and often it’s only an external shove, such as redundancy or health problems, that moves people on. However, if you have finally come to the realistaion that there is more to life and your career than just money, then you can definitely do something positive to get out of one.

The best way to break out of your ‘Velvet Rut’ is to invest in a Career Coach. They will help you bring about a new self awareness of your career and life values and to channel your energy into finding a fulfilling job or career that you really want!

If you want to find out more visit our Career & Personal Development website

2 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Not quite sure what you mean but the idea came as a result of one of our clients coining the phrase at one of our workshops a few years ago. We asked her to quantify what she meant by the ‘Velvet Rut’ and some of what you read is what she told us and written about her situation. The rest of it was written by myself and another contact who loved the phrase and has also written about it himself. Hope this answers your question.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Corey. We will add in some video on certain posts so watch this space! Twitter is @smpsolutions

Comments are closed.