Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Feeling Blah at Work?

Q:  Dear Workplace Wonda,

I've been with the company for more than ten years now, and I've lost some of the excitement  and motivation that I had when I started.  How do I increase my motivation and gain some of the enthusiasm I had when I first started?


Feeling Blah

A:    Dear  Feeling Blah,

The start of anything new fills us with excitement- and sometimes fear.  The motivation in the beginning is fueled by the unknown and the anxiety and excitement of mastering a new skill. 
Frankly, it sounds to me like "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'."  

You look across the room.  Your eyes meet.  The chemistry is undeniable.  Your heart starts to beat faster and your palms start to sweat.  You place your elbows on the table with your chin rested on your hands as you listen intently to what may be "the most fascinating words" to EVER leave a mouth. 

Fast forward ten years.

You look across the room.  Unbelievable!  He left his dirty socks on the floor again.  Your pulse quickens and heat flushes your face as you angrily throw the dirty socks in the hamper for the hundredth time.  You cross your arms and let out a strained breath and ask the same question you ask every day, "How was your day?"  With equal effort, you hear back, "Nothing new." 

Just like the end of the "Honeymoon Phase" in a budding relationship, the newness of working for the same company for years can wear off.  Just ask any long-term couple what their secret is for staying together.  Most likely they will respond, "It takes work!"   It is natural to get a little bored or complacent when driving to the same place, to work with the same people, doing the same tasks, year-after year- after year. 

So, how do you bring the spark back into your job?  The following are a few examples:

1.  Take a stroll down Memory Lane.  Ask yourself what attracted you to the job in the first place.  Was it the Mission?  Was it serving customers?  Was it the flexibility the job offered? Or, was it just that you needed the money and you were happy to be able to pay your bills?  Determining your motivator might help you determine, "Should I stay or should I go?”

2.  Be spontaneous.  Sometimes we get bogged down with directed work that can be monotonous depending on what your daily tasks are.  Take a moment to find something that is self-initiated and breaks up your day.  It might be as simple as organizing your desk or initiating a new process that could make your duties more effective and "different."

3.  Add new tricks.  Inspiration can come from many places, including training.  Attend training that is not just job specific, but that will enhance your personal development.  Growing your knowledge in other areas of the corporation can also make you feel more in tune with the big picture.  Ask your supervisor if you could share what you've learned with team members.

4.  Communicate your feelings.  Talk with your supervisor about how you are feeling.  I wouldn't start the conversation by saying, "I dread coming to work every day. " Or, "I'm so bored!"  Instead, express to your supervisor that you are looking to add new responsibilities to your current job.  You might ask if there are any special projects you could work on or any committees you could join.  Working with team members from other departments or working on a new project might just be what you need to refocus.  At the same time, your supervisor will be impressed with your initiative. 

5.  Move on.  If you are unable to ignite the passion you once felt for your job, it might be time to move on.  This might mean applying for a different position within your organization.  If that isn't a possibility and your lack of motivation is hurting yourself and the organization, it might be time to "move on." 

Best of luck to you!

You eagerly look out the window.  Is that butterflies in my stomach after all these years?  You run to the door and throw it wide open.  His face lights up as he compliments your new haircut. 

Mr. Workplace Wonda is home.  Just where he belongs!

Signed, Workplace Wonda

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