Published October 01, 2012
No one expects you to happily spring out of bed every weekday and run off to work, but if you dread going to the office every time your alarm goes off, it’s time to make a change.
Your passion for your job can wane over the years and moving on to a new job can help keep excitement from fading. But in this economy, landing a new job isn’t always possible.
“Passion is a feeling—if you can recapture that and bring it back to the job, it’s a kick start,” says Nicole Williams, connection director at LinkedIn. Every day at your job isn’t going to be a cakewalk, but you can be less resentful if you immerse yourself in what you love and find balance in your life.
Once you realize there’s a problem, Heather Huhman, careers and workplace expert at Glassdoor, suggests listing the reasons why you don’t want to go to work and what you enjoyed about your job when you started. If your issue is job related, then you probably don’t like the company culture, commute or your manager, for example, but if it’s bigger picture, then doing career-specific work isn’t enjoyable anymore, says Huhman. “If it’s a problem with your career, it’ll involve a lot more planning then if it’s just your job.”
Experts agree that fixing your job is about figuring out what inspires you and makes you happy.
Talk to your manager. “If you don’t tell someone what the problem is, no one can help fix it,” says Williams. Focus on what you’re good at and how that will positively impact your company rather then saying what you like and don’t like about your job. “Your passion is generally aligned with your skillset,” says Williams.
As you progress in your career, your job changes and you may not like all your different responsibilities. Consider renegotiating your job with your employer to go back to doing more of the work that you enjoyed.
Organize your workday. “It’s not always the job but sometimes you let the job take over,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at TheLadders. Create a list of everything you need to do and rank these items by their deadlines; work becomes less overwhelming when you break them into smaller chunks.
Finishing what you don’t enjoy first will help make the rest of the day more enjoyable, says Huhman.
Be proactive. Speak out and ask for more or different responsibilities, says Huhman. “You can work your way into tasks that you might enjoy but you’re not currently doing.”
Contributing to different projects within your team or asking for training could challenge and reinvigorate you, says Augustine. “Sometimes the work stops being fun because you could do it in your sleep. Finding those new challenges where you can personally grow might be exactly what you need.” This could lead to future conversations about promotions but you have to be in good standing before you ask for more.
If it isn’t broken, improve it. “It’s about doing work in a different way or finding someone to teach,” says Julie Jansen, career coach and author of I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This. We tend to procrastinate but taking creative approaches to tasks could be more challenging.
Every group has established processes and routines that aren’t always evaluated, says Augustine. Considering how to change these will push you to think differently and possibly help the company, which is always a good thing.
Set goals for routine tasks. Not every part of your job will be fun and inspirational, but find ways to challenge yourself, says Augustine. Try to finish work quicker and set goals that tie results back to the bigger picture. Keep these goals on a piece of paper taped on your wall or monitor.
“The idea is to give yourself some sort of reward and make a game out of mundane tasks,” says Augustine.
Do what you love on your own time. If you can’t go back to your passion in your job, you might be able to do that in your personal life. “A part of getting energized is getting back to the root of what you love,” says Williams.
Make new friends at work. Most people get into a routine at work but incorporating new people into your work social circle can change up your day, says Huhman.
“Not only is this good for your personal brand and networking but you’ll get the chance to learn about other areas of the company and uncover opportunities that may be of interest,” says Augustine.
Pursue hobbies outside of work. If you spice up the rest of your life, you’re going to feel more motivated at work, says Jansen. Experts suggest activities like going to the gym, having an artistic outlet like a painting class or pursuing hobbies or sports.
Passion is contagious,” says Williams. “If you can’t find passion in your work, find passion outside your work.” Passion for something else in your life, like a hobby or a sport, will bleed over into your work.
Take a breather. “Take a vacation and recuperate,” says Huhman. If you’re starting to dislike your job, go completely off the grid and use this time to reflect on your job and how to make it better. Even a staycation can reinvigorate you—but try not to check email while you’re off.
Change little things. Eat a good breakfast and exercise, says Huhman. “Not only is this healthy but it gives you some ‘me’ time which is another good way to start your day.”
Experts suggest wearing clothes that make you feel confident, packing a special lunch or listening to different music during your commute. These will help you feel better about yourself and your work, says Huhman.
The grass may really be greener on the other side…. Talk to other people who love their job to put it in perspective, says Williams. “We have a fantasy that [a job] will feel passionate all the time but the reality is it’s hard and requires patience and discipline.” Exploring other opportunities and jobs will either help you appreciate what you have or, in some cases, encourage you to pursue something different.