We all have difficult periods in our professional lives when we aren’t fulfilled with our current jobs. Maybe you are feeling stuck in a role that isn’t going anywhere or you are bored with your daily tasks. Whatever our reasons are for being unhappy at work, the typical response is that we need to move on and find something better that will fill the void we are currently feeling.
Yes, sometimes it is better to move on to a different job or a different industry all together in order regain happiness in our professional lives. But, what if all we needed was to simply a change our perspective and shift our daily routine in order to feel more job satisfaction?
With that in mind, we asked our career experts to chime in and we have compiled a list of ways to regain love for your current job.
“Reach out to those around you not only in your department, but in others if it is a larger organization. Look for that person at lunch that seems like they could use a friend. Sometimes reaching out first can create some great relationships with your coworkers,” says career coach Mary Kruger.
Career coach Vincent Tuckwood agrees that you should get to know the people you work with. “There is a myth that a neutral workplace is a happy workplace and it’s simply NOT true. We are human and we commune, not only that but the need for collaborative behaviors is now more apparent than ever.”
Being part of something bigger at your company instead of just completing your day-to-day tasks can give you a newfound appreciation for the job. When an opportunity to be part of a company initiative arises, offer yourself up to help.
“When the company/organization is asking for volunteers for something, get involved. There’s often multiple interests from the company software team, to fundraising for United Way or another great cause, to sitting on a particular board or interest group,” Mary says.
You can also take it a step further and arrange a fundraiser or charity initiative yourself. Organize a can drive during the Christmas season, host a blood drive through OneBlood or raise money for another charity close to your heart.
“There are times that the workload requires us to spend more time at work than at home, so make an effort to encourage fun in the workplace. Order in lunch and gather everyone in a conference room to get away from their desks and just talk. Schedule a group activity outside of work to give everyone a chance to interact in a different, less stressful environment. Don’t be afraid to bring humor into situations where appropriate to lighten the mood. It is amazing how much a brief moment of fun can relax a tense moment and encourage collaboration,” says career coach Tonya Echols.
“I find that a big portion of happiness is where we put our attention. At a difficult point in my career I made a list of all the things I liked about my job: pays well, vacation, convenient location, learned skills, feel respected, a colleague I like, etc, etc. Then I put that list somewhere I would see it several times a day and made a point to read it several times a day,” career coach George Karris explains.
“We all have days that we don’t want to be at work, but take a minute to be grateful for what you do have. Focussing on the positive always makes things better. Maybe it is the new software being implemented, a fresh coat of paint on a conference room, or the new receptionist that greats you every day with not only a smile but your name. Being grateful for what the company is doing, what they stand for and how that honours your values are some perks aside from salary. ” Mary adds.
“You need to be honest about what you really want out of your work. There are no wrong answers here, but it’s easy to get caught up in ideas of what work is supposed to be. Is it a job to pay the bills, a career that you’re growing, a bridge job while you’re building a business, a way to engage in your greater calling or passion work? Knowing what you really want from your job will help you orient how you relate to it and appreciate what it provides (or make adjustments),” says carer coach Sally Anne Giedrys.
“Craft your job into more of what you love by making small tweaks in what you do, where you do it or how you do it. This can have a tremendous impact, and many employers are open to the discussion. Add small tasks that you enjoy to your job description. Adjust your schedule for an easier commute. Employ your strengths on activities that will add value for your team. If you value community and relationships at work (and this is not true of everyone—some people prefer and thrive in working on their own), consider how you can enhance your interactions with customers or colleagues, or have more of them,” Sally explains.
“One way to love your current job is to keep it fresh. That means every once in a while open your eyes and really take a good look around you,” career coach Terry DellaVecchia says. “What are people working on? How is the cooperation/collaboration going? Is there something you see that could be streamlined or changed? Just because it was done that way doesn’t mean it has to continue that way. Look around for something you can improve, whether it’s a task, department or even yourself. A fresh view along with growth will keep you happy and loving your job.”
“Be that person that takes the extra step. When unfamiliar with something ask for help, or research it yourself. Taking courses to supplement your learning is another great way not only to love your job but to move forward.” Mary says.
“Seek additional training, education. The more you know, the more you grow! Knowledge is the one thing that’s transferable to other areas in your life. That can lead to more fulfillment and satisfaction at work and at home.” says career coach Reginald Jackson Sr.
“I know it may sound a little counter-intuitive, but if your responsibilities are a bit lacking in the inspiration department, create tasks that motivate you. I don’t mean making things up out of the blue, but think about your personal interests and strengths and how you could use that to the benefit of the company. If you enjoy writing, perhaps you could start a departmental newsletter. Maybe you need more interaction with people during the day, you could create an orientation program for new hires or start up weekly “Lunch and Learn” gatherings. Or if you community outreach is important to you, offer to organize a regular volunteer activity for the staff. Creating working can be a wonderful opportunity if you are able to do something you truly enjoy,” Tonya adds.
“I’ll go to my grave saying this: “play to your strengths,” Vincent says. “Find a way to bring the best of yourself to the work you do. And stop listening to that voice that says it’s impossible, that there’s no room for movement. Marcus Buckingham’s “Go Put Your Strengths to Work” is a great resource, both as reading, and a method to get this step done.”
“If possible, participating in projects, initiatives, etc. that challenge what you know and give you the opportunity to learn more about your area of expertise.” adds Reginald.
Filling your work space with items that make you happy and creating the right Feng Shui at your desk can make a huge difference to your overall happiness at work. Put photos of loved ones, plants or flowers, sentimental kickknacks and anything that evokes happy thoughts on your desk—You’ll feel more relaxed and happy when you really make the space your own. Career coach Marla J. Williams also suggests listening to music regularly to add to your overall happiness at work.
“The brain functions from what it sees and hears. Surround yourself with pictures and listen to music on a daily basis,” she says.
Pop in your headphones and play some of your favorite music or if you’ve got a private work space, play it out loud. If you are concerned about losing concentration, there are great lyric-free playlists on Google Play or YouTube to help you relax, focus and feel blissful at work.
“Look for ways that you can move up in the company – if that is what you are interested in doing,” Mary says. “Demonstrate this by taking on new projects, mentoring a new staff member or coming up with new ideas yourself and sharing them with your boss. Be a leader where ever possible, and remember you don’t always need to lead from the front. Leadership can come from the side, or behind too.”
Have some ideas of your own on ways to love your current job? Please share them with us in the comments!
Kristen is the editor and community manager at Noomii.com and the Noomii Career Blog. Kristen's desire to ask questions and share information with others led her to pursue journalism. While she has worked at various publications, covering everything from municipal politics to local restaurants, it was her love of self-improvement and sharing inspiration with others that made Noomii the perfect fit. Connect with Kristen on Twitter and LinkedIn.