Ah, the magic of falling in love! Nothing compares to those early weeks, months, and even years of getting to know each other, discovering what makes each of you tick, learning fascinating new details about each other every day…
Oh, you thought we were talking about romance? No, we were talking about work!
When you start a new job, you enter into the “honeymoon phase”, when everything’s bright and new and exciting. Even attending obligatory early morning meetings, staying late to finish projects, or chipping in for what’s-her-name’s birthday cake (even though you’ve never met her) make you feel like you’re part of the team, on your way to making a difference in the company.
But time passes, the excitement wears off, and you settle into a routine that can leave you feeling bored and unmotivated. Other than quitting, what can you do to rekindle the spark between you and this job you once loved so much?
Here are some great suggestions to help you shift your perspective from blah back to blissful.
- Brainstorm with your manager. Sit down with your boss and explain that you’re ready to take on additional work. It may sound ironic to ask for more responsibility in a role that you’re not currently excited about, but plan out your conversation first. Is there a colleague with whom you’d like to collaborate? A new project team you’d like to join? A new skill you want to learn? Come up with a plan together to add more jazz to your role.
- Expand your role to teach or mentor others. After all this time, you’re probably very good at what you do. By offering to teach what you know to others, or to mentor a junior colleague, you’ll discover new and fascinating aspects of your job while deepening your knowledge and mastery of your profession.
- Ask to switch to a new department. Maybe your lack of enthusiasm is simply a need for a change of pace – and faces. You can begin by volunteering for an assignment that will have you working with a different team, then see if it leads to a possible change of department.
- Make some “environmental” changes. Your surroundings may be dragging you down. Spending years in the same office can drive anyone crazy. If it’s possible, re-paint, change some of the furniture, replace the tragic ivy plant with some cute succulents, add a wall of personal photos. Sprucing up your office is like redecorating your living room: it’s a sure-fire mood-booster for a place where you spend lots of time.
- Gamify your dullest tasks. Why not turn the less exciting aspects of your work into a game? Break down boring-but-necessary projects into steps and reward yourself for completing them. Rewards can be small (a quick walk outside) and build to something bigger (a coffee date with a mentor where you strategize about your next step up the ladder).
- Actively choose your path forward. What do you want your next role to be and what might you be lacking in skills and experiences in order to get there? Decide to go for it: take a certification, recruit a new mentor with similar experience, join a committee or decide to change your perspective on how you view your role. You’ll have activated purposeful learning, a more engaged approach and a clearer vision of the next step forward.
- Change what you can control. That starts with your own attitude. Smile. Thank people. Refuse to give difficult people power over your emotions. Try to consciously list one awesome thing that happened every day. Too often, we let day to day frustrations cloud the bigger purpose of why we took the job in the first place. Step back and look at the big picture of what your company’s doing and the part you play there. Chances are, your position is far more vital than you realize.