FEELING STUCK IN YOUR CAREER CAN BE LONELY AND FRUSTRATING. It takes time to figure out what your next career move is going to be. And for some, changing career isn’t an option. Does that mean you’re doomed and forever miserable until you leave your job? NO! I’m not saying you’re going to fall in love again with your job, or promise you going into work will feel like playing with puppies and eating ice cream, but you also don’t have to feel despair.
FIND PURPOSE WITH WHAT YOU DO
Going into work doing the same thing over and over, feeling detached and unfulfilled can be very demotivating. You are not alone! Finding purpose can make going to work less dreadful. What do I mean by finding purpose? Majority of you are still going to work because you need income to support yourself and your family. Face it, we are accustomed to a certain lifestyle and for some of us earning this income is simply a necessity – no money = no food + no shelter. But let’s dig deeper into this.
Who are you doing the work for? For those who are staying in your current job for money, who are you earning this money for? Yourself? Your family? Or maybe you're in a family business and leaving is not an option right now. Why is supporting yourself and your family important to you? On a grand scheme of things, is your family in a higher priority than work? My guess is, it is. Otherwise you would have quit your job already and be burning through your savings while searching for a job that is more fulfilling and meaningful to you.
In both of these scenarios, your purpose is your family.
You are choosing your family over yourself and your work. Your purpose is to support your family emotionally and financially. And perhaps your plan is to build up a huge saving so you can retire early. And so your purpose is for your future self. Regardless who you are going into work for, that person(s) is important to you and keeping that in mind will help keep your motivation up.
Question: When you are starting to feel stuck again, what can you put into place to remind yourself why going to work is important to you and who you are going to work for?
FIND SIMPLE PLEASURES
What part of your job do you find enjoyable? Now focus on it. I know, at the moment everything you do at work does not seem enjoyable. But really think about what you do on a daily basis at work that brings you joy. It can be as simple as getting out of the house, or talking to clients, or problem solving or having chats with coworkers. Whatever you find enjoyable, list them out. Put it in a place where you can be reminded that there are parts of your job that is not so terrible.
Question: Where will you put this list? Post-It note? Screen saver? Wallpaper? Daily calendar reminder? Tattoo (I highly do not recommend this)?
REFRAME YOUR CAN'T
So many of us use the word ‘can’t’. But what we really mean is ‘won’t'. You can’t quit your job or you won’t quit your job? You can’t ask for a raise or you won’t ask for a raise. Can’t is something that you absolutely cannot do. Like you cannot apply for a government job because you have a criminal record. Won’t is something you can do but you don’t want to do. So why do we say can’t instead of won’t? Saying can't takes away all the accountability and the shame that you think you’re going to feel if you say won’t instead. How many of us can’t wake up at 5 am to exercise? It is an excuse to not exercise. By saying you can’t it still doesn’t get rid of the shame/guilt that you feel because you know at the back of your mind, you can, you just don’t want to. The more you say can’t the more guilt and shame you accumulate. It is ok to say you won’t. You won’t quit your job until you find something better because you want to have financial stability. You won’t ask for a raise because you are scared they will say no. Taking accountability of your decision will actually free you from the guilt and shame. What does it say about you when you say you won’t? It says you are human!
Question: How are you going to recognize you are saying can’t instead of won't?
USE OTHER THINGS TO ELEVATE YOUR ENERGY
Although we spend most of our adulthood working, we don’t have to spend our whole life focused on our work. Everything we do are connected. You know when you have a really bad day at work, it affects you outside of work. It drains you and you take it home with you. You go out to drink with your friends and you’re talking about it. You go home to your family and you’re less cheery than your normal self. But why do we let it? Why not flip the script and let other parts of our lives affect our work? When you are getting ready to go on vacation, even though you are busy and stressed wrapping up loose ends at work, your energy is high because you’re excited to have some down time and getaway. Why not use the same concept and use other parts of your life to elevate your energy when work becomes unbearable? The love from your family, the excitement of adventures, the connection you have with friends, let the love, excitement, and connection spill into your work, not the other way around. Does thinking of going home to your dog excite you? Does thinking of going out with friends excite you? Does going to the gym excite you? Does going home to Netflix and chill excite you? Does going home looking for a new job excite you? Whatever you can use as your fuel, can make work pass by a little more easier.
Question: What part of your life can you draw this positive energy from?
Take care of yourself and your mental state. The more you feel frustrated and hopeless, the more you’re going to fall into a rabbit hole. Keep your focus on what makes you content. Be kind to yourself.