Today's post comes on the tails of a question posed in my private Facebook group for women, Passion with a Paycheck. A member asked, "What do you do when you've lost focus, organization, and interest in your job?" I think all of us can relate to this, no?
Whether we're bored or frustrated with our environment, it's easy to stop caring. Work turns into a means to an end - a paycheck that keeps you living for the weekend.
Staying engaged takes much more work. Just how do you do that when you feel like your job doesn't matter anymore?
Remember what used to light you up
The first thing to do when you start feeling this way is to identify what you used to enjoy in your job. If you can remember to when you first saw your position posted, what excited you about it? What or who encouraged you to apply?
In your first days and weeks, what were you excited to tackle? What were the pieces of your job that made you feel like you were contributing to your fullest potential?
Write them down.
No matter how discouraged you are or how much things have changed at work since you started, getting connected to these things will allow you to see if they are the things you're still looking for out of work. If so, you can focus on getting incorporating more of those moments and opportunities into your day. If they aren't so relevant anymore...well that information is just as good as you start thinking about what could light you up moving forward.
Email someone you admire
If you're bored or annoyed with your work life, chances are pretty high that you're looking at what others are doing. Rather than being envious, reach out to people whose work you admire. This could be on LinkedIn or through an email.
Start the conversation by telling them what you admire about them and ask them for a nugget of advice.
When I was stuck in a rut at work I was lusting over the jobs that human rights photojournalists got to do. I found one multimedia storyteller and developed a total girl crush. So I reached out and asked her if she had any advice for someone who would like to learn about digital storytelling.
To my total surprise she was totally happy to write back and give me some tangible pieces of advice. After that email I was inspired to take action and figure out ways to learn that skill set while in my current job. Did it help me as a professional? Sure. Did it also help my employer? You betcha.
Ask yourself - if I could be doing something different right now, what would that be? Reach out, ask for some words of wisdom, and find ways to incorporate that into your current role.
Tune out the noise
It's really hard to feel positive when you're surrounded by negative people. Sure, it feels nice to know you're not alone, but negativity breeds negativity.
If your lunch bunch always talks about how much they hate their job but aren't doing anything about it, that should be a clue that they aren't invested in changing their circumstance. If you want things to get better (which I'm sure you do because you've already noticed your situation isn't ideal), take some time away from your work buddies and see if you have a new perspective on things.
Challenge yourself to not complain for one week and see if you notice a difference. It's not easy - I know this personally - but it can make a huge difference in your outlook and attitude.
Distraction can sometimes be the best medication. If you're feeling in a rut, find a project that you can throw yourself into. If there isn't something to get involved with at the moment, think about a professional development or training opportunity you can take advantage of.
Whatever it is, make sure you can find something that has deadlines and keeps you engaged. Projects that require an output like designing a report, creating a presentation, or producing a market research brief are great because they result in a tangible deliverable.
Challenge yourself! This is a great time to develop a new skill and surprise your team with the breadth of your capabilities. And don't surprised along the way if new opportunities come a knockin!