When you begin to lose joy in your work and find the day-to-day grind not fun anymore, you might have a tendency to want to quit at that moment. This isn’t the most practical solution. You may have to stick it out for a few more months or even for a year or two because of your personal obligations such as financial security, mortgages, debt and children. It’s frustrating to have to stay at a job that doesn’t bring you enjoyment.
When you lose excitement for your work, how can you bring new vigor to your relationship with your job?
Here are some suggestions to help you:
- What are the top five things you like most about your work? It might seem hard at first to start this list, but you’ll be surprised what you come up with once you begin. By making this list, you will have found things about your work that make you feel good. For example, do you enjoy: working with and developing your staff, solving the problems of your employees, giving presentations, having brain-storming sessions, teaching others how to do a skill or completing projects?
- Which one of your coworkers could you cultivate a deeper friendship with? After you name at least one person, spend time making this relationship more meaningful. This will cause you to have better feelings for your work because of the support and friendship.
- What people at your office enjoy their job and how can I learn from them? Name at least one person you know who could be a model of someone who has a good relationship with his or her work. By observing that person, you can learn to enjoy a job, even when it seems difficult or stressful.
- What are the five things that cause you the most stress at work? After reviewing this list, circle the three things you actually have control over and could improve. If you don’t have anything that you can change, make a new list with three things you can change. This exercise is about improving at least some of the conditions and perhaps making the overall experience more pleasant. By focusing on things you have control over, you’ll be able to increase your self-fulfillment at work.
- What steps could you take this month that would help create the future you truly want? In my coaching practice, 80 percent of my clients are currently working while they are trying to define, land and live their dream job. This process can be done efficiently and effectively while working. I notice how my clients gain passionate energy as they begin the process, and this supports their current work because they know they won’t always be at this job. They begin to feel a choice in their lives. They now realize they can leave this job, and they don’t have to stay where they don’t want to.
- Create a schedule from now until the job ends. If you know you are leaving a job at a set time (for example, three or six months from now) create a schedule in which you can do one thing each day to get you closer to that time. Staying focused on the end will allow you to feel better about your current situation because you will become aware that the end is close.
- Do informational interviews with other employees of the company you work for. This will open up possibilities you might not have considered within your company. Perhaps you can make a lateral shift. This might cause a drastic change in environment and increased satisfaction in your work.
- Have a vacation away from the office. By taking time away from the office or taking a vaction, you will revitalize yourself. This will give you perspective and clarity about your situation. You might come back with a new vigor for your work and realize that the job really is a situation that you need to get out of.
- Take a class involving subject matter you enjoy — supported by the company. By using the company to help support your personal goals, you will be bringing the personal satisfaction you get from the outside education into your current work. This could create more enjoyment for the work you are doing.
- Focus on what is going well. It’s easy to be immersed in the things going wrong when you don’t enjoy your job. If you change your focus, your attitude might change, and thus your relationship to work has the chance to improve.
- Create accomplishments at work that can directly affect your resume. If you know you are leaving a job, direct your energies toward distinct results that can show up on your resume when you are ready to leave. This will inspire you toward the future you are looking to create.
- Take breaks away from your office to revitalize yourself? Take 15-minute breaks throughout your day. When you are able to take time away from your work environment, which you don’t enjoy, you revitalize yourself. This time away gives you perspective and clarity for your situation. Thus, you won’t be inclined to react — versus respond appropriately — to situations you don’t enjoy.
- Change your work week from five days to four days a week.
If you could increase the number of hours you work per day so you could take one day off a week, this would help you feel rested and restored. Upon returning to your work, it might feel as if you took a vacation because you were able to take care of yourself on your day off.
The important thing is to improve your situation and do it as soon as possible, because to not enjoy your work — something you do forty, fifty, sixty plus hours per week — takes a toll on your personal life. The goal is to improve your current situation at work because, as your relationship to your job improves, so will your attitude.
Improve that which you have control over at your work. It’s not about doing your job the same old way, but about improving the small details that will make a big difference in your relationship to your work. This will help you be ready for a career transition when the time arrives.
One other thing, don’t work too hard — when you don’t enjoy it. I know we have deadlines and don’t directly have control over the hours we work, but it’s important to create balance in your life. Spend time on activities outside of work that give you great joy. Creating and having fun outside of work is something I want for each and every one of you.
By building on what you do enjoy and lessening what you don’t, you’ll create the winning strategy to gain back the excitement for your work. Abraham Lincoln said, “I do the very best I know how — the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”
Copyright ©2005-2016 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.
Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world's leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Visit Joel online at Garfinkle Executive Coaching. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!
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