We’ve all felt the excitement of starting a new job: the butterflies in your stomach as you get ready in the morning, the enjoyment in meeting your new team members, that spark of curiosity and desire to bring new ideas to the table at every staff meeting and the sense of pride you get when you talk about your new employer at dinner parties…
Yet, in time, things slow down and the passion you once had begins to fade. Those irritants you overlooked when you first started with the organization begin to annoy you, the same, recurring team issues irk you, you feel disinterested, tired, and maybe even frustrated at the monotony of it all. In other words, that fantastic job you started out with has somehow lost its luster.
You could quit. You could stay and endure the misery of working at a job you’ve learned to hate. However, neither option is the answer.
Remember that your career should fulfil you, not suck the life and passion out of you.
Taking a Step Back to Reassess the Situation
If you’ve once loved your job, maybe it could be worth figuring out what changed. Even if in time you will still decide to quit, doing this exercise will direct you toward what you really want and need.
So, before you make a drastic decision, or become apathetic about your situation, here are 3 steps to take to transform any job into an opportunity to have a fulfilling and exciting career.
1. Have a Bird’s Eye View of Your Current Work Situation
The Good Days at Work
What made you fall in love with your job in the first place? Which tasks gave you the most energy? What made you excited about your organization?
Make a list of all the elements you enjoyed about your job and determine if those elements are still present in your role. If they are and when possible, try to build your day around the tasks you are passionate about. Focusing on what you do like about your job will help you have a more positive experience at work.
The Bad Days at Work
Now that you know what you enjoy about your job, figure out what are the irritating things about it. Is it your boss or your coworkers? Have you become disillusioned about your organization? Are you stuck in routine tasks and lack any kind of challenge? Do you feel unappreciated?
Figuring out what is going wrong will allow you to see what changes need to be made.
It’s easy to play the blame game. However, part of this exercise is to evaluate your own attitude, efforts and emotions. Be honest with yourself. If you spend a large part of your day complaining about how awful your job is, it will be difficult to have a positive mindset about it. Pay attention to what you say, what you do, and, especially, your inner speech. You might be surprised by what you find. Struggling with this part? Get started with this questionnaire.
2. Reflect on Your Personal Life
Now that you know what’s going on at work, think about your personal life.
Sometimes our jobs just don’t work for us anymore because we have different personal needs. Maybe a new family situation requires you to have more flexibility. Maybe you are lacking a sense of personal accomplishment that is really not related to your work at all.
Taking the time to reflect on your personal life during this period will go a long way in determining if your job is still a good fit for you.
It is impossible to disconnect and reflect on your life if you are exhausted and at breaking point every day. Therefore, taking a day off, a weekend or even some time off on vacation is ideal for this kind of exercise.
3. Take Action
Once you have taken the time to understand your overall situation and needs, it is time to take action.
Unfortunately, some people fail to take control of their own lives. They assume that there is nothing they can do, so they remain stagnant in an unwanted situation, waiting for things to change on their own.
If you are looking for a change but are feeling overwhelmed about how to trigger change in your life, remember that the key is in small, yet constant changes.
Create a coherent strategy that will get you from completely miserable to wildly satisfied.
Set attainable and actionable goals. If, for example, you are feeling unchallenged, speak to your boss and determine a plan to diversify your tasks at work. Taking on new responsibilities will go a long way in making you feel excited about getting up in the morning. If you are looking for a sense of purpose, why not get involved in a community organization or start a passion project of your choice?
Whatever small steps you take to trigger change in your life will help you get excited about your career again.