Does getting out of bed on a workday feel like an exercise in torture? Do you walk a little slower as you head to subway for your morning commute? Does the day feel like it’s 100 hours long when you’re sitting at your desk? If so, you, my friend, have lost that lovin’ feeling for your job. But don’t despair. You may not be in love with your job at the moment. It might even be time for you to look elsewhere for a job that ignites your spark. But with a few simple changes, it is possible to get back to liking – if not loving – your job in short order.
let go of the things you can’t change
There’s a lot about your work life that you can’t change. Passive aggressive managers, nosy colleagues, or team members who don’t follow up on emails are unlikely to disappear any time soon, no matter how much you might want them to. Learn when to let go and let live. Pinpoint areas where you can realistically make change happen, and let those be the focus of your mental energy. Stop agonizing over how much you dislike gossipy Linda from marketing, and focus your mental energy on a new project that you’re pumped about.
set your internal monologue to ‘positive’
It’s easier to be negative than it is to be positive, especially if others are expressing their own negativity. Disengagement is like a virus that spreads rapidly. Psychologists say you behave your way to success. That means behave as if you love your job and are happy at work, even when – especially when – you’re not. Eventually you’ll begin to believe it. Smile, even if it makes you twitch. Science says putting a smile on your face can move your mood dial and affects others around you positively. If negativity spreads like a virus, so does a smile.
remember why you work
It’s shouldn’t be just about money, although most of us would rank fair compensation high on our list of workplace must-haves. It’s about what the money you earn enables you to do: pay your rent, support your family, educate yourself, or your kids, or take vacations. Whatever it is, focus on the ‘why’ of your work situation. And remember that it’s okay if work is a means to that end. Not everyone is in love with their job. For some, work is something they get through so they can go out and live their life. If you’re able to find a career that you love and you find meaning in the work you do, that’s amazing! But if your job is how you fund other activities you love, that’s fine too.
look for a mentor or become one
Mentorship is a great way to stay focused and motivated. Statistics say people who focus on the welfare of others are happier and more content, regardless of what else is going on in their lives. So find someone to mentor you if you don’t already have one. Or if you’re at a more advanced stage of your career, find someone you can support and share your experience and wisdom with. No matter which side of the table you’re on, it’s extremely satisfying to find someone who is on a similar career trajectory to share your experiences with.
get out of your routine
Unhappiness at work is often a symptom of boredom. Perhaps your job has become rote and you hardly think about it anymore. See what happens when you start actively paying attention again. Are your coffee breaks more predictable than the atomic clock? Try going for a walk instead of hitting the break room at 2 pm sharp. Do you have a habit of sitting quietly in meetings and watching the clock? Challenge yourself to ask one meaningful question in every meeting. Challenge yourself to try doing things a little differently.
learn something new
Look for new challenges you can tackle at work. Ask your manager if there are any tasks you might take on in addition to your regular duties. Take a class outside of work you can get excited about, especially one that will increase your existing skills or add new ones to your career toolbox. Find out if your company has a community support or volunteer committee and join it. The change of pace might be just what you need. Learning is stimulating and a great way to clear the cobwebs.
reassess your goals
Remember how pleased you were when you landed this job? Remember the things that made you excited to accept the job offer. Of course, nothing stays the same. Perhaps the company and your role have changed to the point where you don’t see a future for yourself. That’s okay – it’s good to reassess your goals and accomplishments and make sure they continue to align. If they don’t, and the idea of staying put feels impossible, welcome that knowledge as inspiration and motivation to set you on a new path.
Work, like life, ebbs and flows. Assess whether or not this drop in affection is temporary or part of a bigger picture. If things can still change, give the strategies above a chance. If it’s the latter, put a smile on your face, know you’ve done what you set out to do and start looking for work you can love and that is meaningful to the ‘you’ you’ve become and seek to be. We’re always here to help you take your next career step. Check out job opportunities now.