Many of us will fall in and out of love with our job over the course of our career. It’s a lot like any other relationship! We start out giddy at the thought of a new beginning, seeing all of the benefits and minimizing some of the things we’re less excited about. But then time passes, the buzz of newness wears off, and it can get a little monotonous.
A 2015 Gallup poll found that only 32% of us are actively engaged in our job, meaning there are probably plenty of us that are in the “out of love” stage! So how do we bring back the spark and remember why we started? These eight tips can help.
1. Learn something new.
Job boredom can set in when we’ve mastered our current work and aren’t stimulated and challenged on a daily basis. If you suspect this is part of the love lost with your current gig, explore opportunities to take on new responsibilities or learn a new skill. Depending on your company, you might be able to stay completely in your current role, but be “detailed” to a different team for a specific project over a finite time period.
Consider asking your boss if there’s a department or team you’ve always been interested in working with and see how you might be able to dabble with new responsibilities without entirely jumping ship from your current role.
2. Make small changes.
Sometimes it only takes tiny changes to refresh our outlook on work! If things are getting stale, what are the smallest changes you can make to give your space or routine for a pick-me-up? We love our work less when our workspace is out of order or our desk is getting a little crowded and shabby. (Right?) Organizational tactics like freshening up files or clearing out your inbox are small changes that can make a big difference in stopping job fatigue in its tracks—and before it becomes a bigger challenge.
Even asking if you can relocate to a different area of the office can give you a new perspective! Relocation can add relationships to your network, especially if you get a workspace where you meet new people from a different area of the office. Another small change? Altering your work schedule. If you normally work nine-to-five, ask if you can shift to an earlier or later start time. Having more time for your own fitness goals or hobbies on either end of your workday (as well as a few uninterrupted hours at the office outside of peak times!) can be a helpful change.
3. Take breaks.
No really, take a break! Oftentimes not loving our job sneaks up on us when we’re burned out. An easy way to fight workplace fatigue is to take breaks—not only during the day, but also with true vacation days. Start small and commit to mini-breaks by eating lunch away from your desk a few times a week.
If you’re fortunate enough to have paid vacation time-off, don’t leave any days dangling at the end of the year! Plan consistent time away from the office by taking a few days per quarter or save up for a big dream vacation—one you can look forward to!
4. Take advantage of all benefits.
Speaking of vacation, are you taking advantage of the compensation your job offers? Compensation is not just salary—we like to think of it as all the perks that come along with work. When first starting out at a new job, we’re most likely to be focused on settling in, so you might not have taken advantage of all of the employee benefits available to you. These can make you view your job more positively.
For example, does your employer match your retirement plan contributions? Does human resources offer employee training on retirement or financial planning? Sometimes we aren’t using these little-known benefits that can make us view our work as a resource, and that can contribute to overall life goals.
5. Start a side hustle.
Nothing can clear up if the grass really is greener like exploring other career interests through starting a side hustle. If you have an interest or passion to pursue outside of your main day job it can be tricky to balance, but when done correctly can offer great reflection on career priorities. While many of us may eventually hope to turn our part-time work into a full-time career, a side hustle can also remind us what we love about our primary jobs.
Starting a side business typically involves a lot of solo hours and managing and balancing all aspects of your new gig. So you might find a greater appreciation for the gal who handles your payroll or the camaraderie of colleagues once you’ve spent some time solo.
6. Reflect on your “why.”
It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day minutiae and lose sight of the reason why we get up and go to work every morning. A variety of objectives contribute to why we’ve chosen the line of work we’re in and what we get out of it, but getting in touch with the core values of work can make it more fulfilling. An easy objective to call to mind is knowing that the work you do provides for your lifestyle (and sometimes your loved ones), but there are also ways to seek a deeper meaning from what you’re doing in the office.
For example, if you work in the accounting department, think about reframing your work as being a good steward of your company’s finances. You help your business employ people and contribute to your local community and economy. If you work in fashion retail, you’re not only in sales but in the business of helping people create a beautiful moment. These perspective shifts can make a difference! It will help you view your work as more meaningful and fulfilling.
7. Do more of what you love.
We all have some task in our job that brings us joy, so one trick is to figure out what that is—and do more of it! Do you love compiling quarterly sales reports? Instead of leaving this to tackle just a few times per year, do a little bit of it weekly and you’ll be able to look forward to it more often. Talk with your manager—see if you can swap a few job duties with someone who does similar work. For every gal who loves compiling quarterly sales reports, another one dreads it!
Communicating with management about what aspects of your work you love and what you’d like to do more of is an essential part of boosting job satisfaction. If, over time, you’re finding that most of your job is work you don’t love and you’re having a hard time staying motivated, then seek something new.
8. Review your job description and resume.
When I get a little run down and tired of the hamster wheel, a bit of nostalgia for my pre-job self can help reset my attitude. I pull out my resume from years ago that I used to apply to my current position, dig out the cover letter I wrote, and take some time to give it a good read. Then I remember the girl that was ecstatic to get the call back for an interview. I remember the feeling of the first day of work, and how I was eager to get my outfit right, get my introductions right, and dive right in and make a difference!
When job love is running short, consider taking some time to reflect on where you were in life before you had this job, and why you sought it out in the first place. What have you learned in this line of work that you wouldn’t have otherwise? What new colleagues have you made and skills have you gained? A little perspective on how far we’ve come can help reset our interest in the day-to-day. It can remind us that in the journey of our careers, it’s perfectly normal to go through times when we’re in and out of love with our job.
Do you love your job right now? How do you reset your perspective if not?
This post was originally published on Jun 6, 2016.