Being Stuck In A Rut

Hi All,

Feeling myself stuck in a rut, Work is rather light at the moment (too light) and not actively working on any new fun projects. Motivation is getting very low.

Any suggestions on books, courses, videos (anything really) that can help my Test brain get engaged and start learning again.

Cheers in advance all.


Hey there, sorry to hear this, but free time is always good for ‘leveling up’ yourself in other ways so you’ve got the right idea.

Did you do the 15 Days of Postman for testers?


Hi @beardedtester,

This recent thread has illuminated a whole tonne of interesting books. Perhaps one of them is of interest.

Also, if not on your radar, the Ministry of Testing platform has a treasure trove of articles, podcasts and talks.


Depends on what you like and what you want to achieve. If you want to know your project better, or get better at testing, or just enjoy yourself to free your mind up for new ideas.

You could:

  • Identify a testing performance, skill, technique or heuristic and test with it to see what happens
  • Identify an area, function, quality criteria, or user document of your project to explore and do so for a set time limit
  • Try developing or using new tools
  • Talk to other departments about your project such as sales, support, ops, other dev teams, managers. Find out what their wants and needs are so you can support them better.
  • Watch videos that are not to do with testing from a testing mindset. I enjoy Adam Savage one-day build videos.
  • Apply testing and exploration techniques, like focus/defocus and branch & backtrack, to other software or to puzzles that have some sense of hidden information
  • Play board games that explore ideas of understanding, learning or communication like Set, Zendo, Concept and Hanabi
  • Read books about epistemology that don’t mention software testing, like General Systems Thinking, What is this Thing Called Science?, Thinking Fast and Slow, Tacit and Explicit Knowledge.

The last time I was feeling stuck in a rut was 14 years in a small company, it was great fun when it started, but soon I was pretty efficient, and becoming “part of the furniture”. I’m so much more aware of not becoming a furniture installation these days. But you know this already @beardedtester . My big motivating moment was to move the family to the other side of the world due to other environment pressures, and I’m so glad now that I took up both and ran with them. I tweaked my career course in that one move. But that’s so long back now, that, well I’m putting my hand to doing things in my spare time that are software related. My interest has always been electronics, so I’m able to combine that with raspberry pi projects. Occasionally I can apply something I learned from a raspberry pi project to a task at work. Which makes for interesting work projects being more achievable. There will be a tie in someplace, else, find a new team?

/edit If courage is your chain, I had 2 baby boys at the time and a house to sell. Not every change has to be that drastic though. That was 16 years ago, and I’m being much more gentle this time.


I, too, was once in a role where I’d become “part of the furniture”. When I finally decided to leave, people were shocked. They told me that I was part of the furniture. “Trouble is,” I said, “when you’re part of the furniture, people tend to sit on you.”

I went away, took photographs, won some awards, and wrote a book. Lack of income drove me back to testing about two years later, but in a number of different settings which were good for broadening my range of experience. Stepping outside my comfort zone was perhaps the best thing I ever did, even though there were times when that decision had pretty big consequences that I would have been quite justified in challenging myself over.

But I’m lucky, in a way. I don’t have a family, and so only have myself to consider when taking Big Decisions. Not everyone has the same freedom of action.


Thank you, I love the quote “when you’re part of the furniture, people tend to sit on you.”


Thank you I will have a look.

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Hey bud, I have been there when it all feels boring.

When I was in those moments with my prior company, I did some time to look through and see any places where I can change either Automation (There is always something better), company processes (is the process you have really the best? or is it that way because that is just how it is?) or personal development (identify where your currently sat in your career trajectory and see where you want to be and identify the step needed to get where you want to be).]

All else fails, join a start-up! I have been in my start up now for near 2 years and there hasn’t been a day where I have had a lot of work to do to keep me busy OR putting on multiple hats. Those talents I know will do my CV well for if I want to move on in my role…mind you it has been so exciting to be at the start if I were ever thinking of moving it would probably be to another start-up
(if you ever thinking about choosing a start up make sure you ask about finances to make that decision as some start-up just spend where less of them actually are sensible with money)
example of my encompassing role:
-Setting up the quality structure
-administrating Basically the entirety of IT (from accounts management, people laptops etc etc documents and everything in between)
-Compliance (just ran our company single handedly through SOC2)