Your professional life, just like your personal life, is a work in progress. When you start a job, it’s all new and exciting. You may find yourself easily overlooking imperfections and dismissing signs that call this new arrangement into question.
With time, the job that once seemed so perfect may lose its lustre. You may become complacent, disinterested, or irked by little things you used to find endearing or not even notice. You may begin to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.
Before you call it quits and start sending out your resume, give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with some of the reasons you loved the job in the first place. Sometimes it’s not about changing your employment, but changing your perspective and making a genuine attempt to improve things where you are.
Here are time-tested tips from career coaches, human resources managers and other professionals to reignite your interest in your work.
1. Engage in self-refection.
If you started out loving your job but don’t like it anymore, you need to figure out what changed. Sometimes the answer is obvious. Your new boss could be a jerk, or maybe you burned out by staying late or skipping lunch every day. For some, however, disillusionment grew slowly over time, in which case you’re not really sure what caused you to disconnect from work.
If you find yourself in this situation, take time to reflect on your professional life, assessing your accomplishments, outlining your goals and pinpointing specific incidents that have impacted your attitude toward work.
2. Practice gratitude.
One of the simplest yet most profound things you can do to reframe your relationship with your job is to identify all the good things about it.
“If your wanderlust is more about boredom and grass-is-greener syndrome, it’s good to do the age-old exercise of counting your blessings
This may seem difficult at first because it can be hard to see through the unpleasant stuff and recognize the positivity. But you know that the good things are there, so dig deep until you find them. Maybe you have a great colleague, enjoy working on certain projects or simply value the pay check that keeps a roof over your head.
By taking the time to write down all the positive aspects of your job – and keeping the list somewhere you can refer to it often – you remind yourself that they exist. This knowledge can give you the energy to keep going.
3. Talk to the boss.
If you have lost interest in your daily work or feel stagnant, it may be a sign that you are ready to take on new tasks or more responsibilities.
“This would be the time to talk about steps for a promotion or role expansion with your manager. Be ready to have a candid discussion with your boss where you highlight your strengths and contributions and ask to tackle new assignments.
“Once you have discussed it and put a plan in place, your commitment to reaching that new level will spark a love for the opportunities your new role will offer.
4. Make friends.
You don’t have to love all your co-workers, but you should make an effort to become friends with at least one or two. Having a close confidant, lunch buddy or other trusted friend in the office can transform your attitude toward your workday. “It provides an outlet for safe and confidential discussions, allowing you to talk about concerns or analyze management actions or communications without being perceived as a gossiper or alarmist,” Howayeck said.
Who better to share your work woes with than someone who is also in the trenches? They can validate or challenge your feelings and perceptions with inside knowledge not available to most of your friends and family. Above all, they provide a friendly face to visit with during lunch or share a cup of coffee with in the break room on a particularly stressful day. Sometimes a bit of friendly human contact is all we need to carry us forward.
5. Find a passion project.
Have you always wanted to start a mentorship initiative at your company or introduce a recycling program to the office? A passion project may be exactly what you need to pull yourself out of a professional rut. This side project, which may fall outside the scope of your job description, can serve as an outlet for creative energy and help you develop leadership skills, all while providing a new service to your organization. Approach your manager or executive leader first to present your idea. If you don’t, you might get scolded for working on something outside of your job duties.
6. Learn something new.
Sometimes you feel frustrated at work because you lack certain skills or the necessary understanding to succeed in the job. Sometimes you have all the skills you need for your current position but lack the knowledge to take on a desired new role.
The best way to tackle this roadblock is to invest in continuing education and development opportunities. Schwartz suggests talking to your boss about available trainings or certifications that will benefit you and the organization. You can take the initiative to compile a list of online courses, in-person workshops, conferences, classes and other training programs you are interested in attending. Share the list with your boss and jointly select a couple you both think are the most worthwhile and relevant for you.
7. Find a mentor.
A mentor can provide you with honest feedback and guidance and help get you back on track when you are floundering. Seek to connect with someone in your workplace who performs well, is admired and respected by the leadership and employees alike, and is willing to invest time in helping you grow professionally. Your mentor can connect you to a large professional network you might never be exposed to otherwise and can also serve as a sounding board for your work-related anxiety or frustration. Knowing you have someone in your corner can lead to a deep shift in your mindset toward work, but it also has practical implications.
8. Get curious.
Find out what other people do in your company – not in an intrusive manner, but so you get a real sense of what others’ jobs entail. This way, when Ben from accounting takes longer than you’d like to cut a check for a vendor, you have an appreciation of the process it takes to make that happen.
This is also a great way to discover other roles or departments within your organization that may be a better match for you. You can offer to help out on special occasions. By connecting with other areas of the business and meeting people outside your bubble, you might just find your niche.
9. Shake things up.
Break out of your routine and try making changes, small as they may be, to the way you approach your day. Godfrey recommends switching things up to breathe new life into your workday. If you always eat lunch with the same people, pick a day of the week when you invite a colleague you don’t know very well to join you instead. If you rarely leave your desk, force yourself to go outside and take a 10-minute walk. If you always approach your work in a certain order, try looking at tasks through new eyes to help you mix things up. You may find that a little variety is exactly what you need to reinvent your relationship with work.
10. Take advantage of the perks.
When your job is feeling less than perfect, it’s a good time to take stock of the other benefits your employer provides. Take advantage of wellness programs or other opportunities for personal enrichment within the work setting to offset the daily grind. Maybe your company provides employees with free gym memberships, stocks the break room with snacks, offers onsite child care or allows flexible work arrangements. Tapping into these or any other company perks that are relevant to you will make you feel more valued as an employee. They may also reduce the frustration you feel in other areas of your job.
Source: Business News Daily