The honeymoon doesn’t last forever. It is true for jobs as well. If you’ve been in your current job for two years or longer, you may be finding many tasks and situations tedious and repetitive, and the day-to-day may be wearing thin. While the most obvious solution may be to find another job, don’t be so quick to jump ship. There can be value in staying with the tried-and-true, as long as you can find a way to love what you’re doing once again. Here are nine ways to reinvigorate and refresh your attitude about your work.
Identify your impact
What is the ultimate outcome of what you do? Not at the micro level – think big picture. Do you make someone’s life easier? Do you provide information that will help others solve their problems? Are you the voice of reason when another person is in a crisis? Every job has an impact that is greater than what you see in front of you. A hospital janitor ensures patients avoid infections. A bus driver gives those without vehicles access to food and medical care. Look for your impact, and your job will have more meaning.
Don’t let your job title define you
Just because your employer has a title for what you do doesn’t mean you are constrained by those boundaries. As long as you carry out your base responsibilities, there is nothing stopping you from taking on other tasks. If they are work-related, you might even get recognized by the boss for your extra efforts. So go ahead – find ways to improve work flow, organize the hockey pool or head up the United Way campaign. When you do more that you enjoy, you’ll like your job more.
Learn something new
Remember how interesting your job was when you first started? One of the reasons was because you were learning. So recreate that early appeal by finding something new to learn. As long as it is even tangentially related to what you’re doing right now, you could even be positioning yourself for your next assignment. Learn how to code, volunteer to test the new version of software being launched or offer to be vacation backup for one of your co-workers.
Stop being a perfectionist
The problem with being a perfectionist is that no one can ever deliver what you desire. If you expect perfection – from your managers, your co-workers or your staff – you’ll always be disappointed. Sure, things can always be more efficient and communication can always be better, but if the “room for improvement” is all you dwell on, then disappointment quickly turns into disenchantment.
Focus on what you can influence
Even if you’re not a perfectionist, switch your focus from what is outside your control to what you can influence. Then you’ll at least have some chance of success. Too much red tape being imposed by head office? Fixing that may be beyond what you are capable of, but you can always find things you can do at your level to buffer your team members from the impact.
Ask for what you need
If you’re frustrated with obstacles or bottlenecks preventing you from getting your work done, then identify and articulate what you need to make things better. Most times, the only reason a problem hasn’t been fixed is because no one has expressed what is needed. Specificity is important; indiscriminate griping likely won’t fix the problem, but you might be surprised at what an explicit request will produce.
Deliberately make friends
One of the most common reasons people love their jobs is because they like the people they work with. So make friends. But not just with anybody. Choose to hang out with positive people. Go for coffee together, meet up for lunch, help them get their work done. When you surround yourself with people who choose to like where they work, you’ll be happier at work too.
Take advantage of your benefits
Your job may have low points, but it may also come with perks that are easy to love. Perhaps your health insurance covers massage or acupuncture, or your company offers complimentary gym memberships. Maybe there is a budget for training conferences and technology upgrades. Is it possible to get paid time off for volunteer work? You won’t know until you look.
Remind yourself why you took this job in the first place
Last, but not least, think back to why you took this job. Perhaps it is in an industry that is near and dear to your heart. Or you just loved the idea of being charge of certain responsibilities. Or maybe you wanted a higher salary compared with your previous position. Chances are these reasons are still true. Focusing on these will remind you of why your job is still lovable.
Merge Gupta-Sunderji is a speaker, author, mentor to senior leaders and the chief executive officer of the leadership development consultancy Turning Managers Into Leaders.