But, believe or not, the quickest fix might not be a new employer but a new way of thinking about work. Follow these five steps and find your way to a more fulfilling career in less than a week.
Monday: Think Like A Job Seeker
Think about why you applied for this position in the first place. What responsibilities and opportunities excited you? Why did the environment appeal to you?
Reflect on what made the job, the company and the people attractive to you. Recall how you felt when you received the job offer. Tap into this pride to rekindle your enthusiasm.
Tuesday: Keep A Job Journal
Commit to keeping a job journal for at least the next week. It doesn’t need to be fancy; you can log short comments in the margin of your calendar. The point is to record successes and failures — what was accomplished and/or what didn’t work and why.
This is a great resource to have for your yearly review — it allows you to have both achievements and ideas for improvement at your fingertips. It also highlights trends and removes emotion, allowing you to see things more clearly. Once the information of what is working and what isn’t is recorded in black and white you can begin tackling those areas of your job that frustrate or demoralize you. And there is nothing more satisfying than seeing what you’ve accomplished on a daily and weekly basis.
Wednesday: Find A Mentor
Don’t think you should search for a mentor until you’re feeling more enthusiastic about your job? Think again. When you’re in the thick of a job crisis is when you need a mentor the most. How to find one? Strengthen your connections with your coworkers and your supervisor. Take note of those around you; observe communication and work styles, demeanor, likeability and attitude. Think about with whom you connect as well as who has time to give. You don’t need to create a formal relationship, start with an informal lunch, pick the person’s brain, ask advice and share your thoughts candidly.
You’ll often find you’re not the first person to feel the way you do and no one gives better advice than someone who has been there before. Can’t find a mentor in your office? Considering contacting your professional association or utilize the power of the Internet, companies such as Advance Mentoring (advancementoring.com) provide online mentors.
Thursday: Learn Something New
Do you remember the excitement of school? From practicing Spanish verbs to your first foray into astronomy or literature or physics, learning at every level breeds enthusiasm and this shouldn’t stop when work starts. Most employers will compensate some portion of work related education, some provide their own training and development, and others even cover entire graduate school programs for employees.
Research your educational benefits and commit to attending one class, seminar or networking event this month. Not only will learning something new make your job more fulfilling, a class will also provide valuable contacts and a respite from your daily routine. Find out about training opportunities through your Human Resources office or start by doing a basic Google search. If you need flexibility consider online training through schools such as Strayer University and The University of Phoenix.
Friday: Challenge Yourself to Change
Sometimes you need to take things into your own hands, or in this case, head. Many people approach work from a negative perspective, fueling a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sometime changing your thinking is the hardest — yet most powerful — change of all. Vow to approach work from a positive mindset. Don’t associate with negative coworkers. Cut out the complaining.
Use your commute to remind yourself of one great thing about your job. Smile more throughout the day. Make a point to thank coworkers for a job well done. And when you feel your thoughts slipping to a negative place take control and turn them around. If this doesn’t come naturally to you consider borrowing some motivational books or CDs from your local library.
One week really can make a difference. Commit to spending five days working to make your job more fulfilling and you’ll see the benefits for weeks to come. You may even join the 20 percent of the population who feel passionate about their profession. And what could be a better incentive than this?
Aimee Cirucci is a writer in the Philadelphia area and is proud to count herself among the lucky 20 percent who love their job. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.