It’s another day at the office. You’re trying to stay focused on the tasks in front of you, but the day-to-day hustle has made the job you love feel mundane. And there at your desk, surrounded by everything you thought you ever wanted, you’re suffocating.
Or maybe your story is that you’re just trying to make a paycheck. Circumstances brought you to your current job, and you haven’t had a chance to even think about what you really want. You can’t always pursue your passion because you have to put food on the table. How can you fall in love with the job you didn’t want, but it’s what you got?
Before you give up, let me tell you there is hope. It is possible to fall in love with your job all over again (or for the first time).
Here are some ways to work toward that right now:
Step back and evaluate
Sometimes you just need to step away and take a good look at your life. For some, that may look like a month-long sabbatical. For others, it may look like sitting at a coffee shop alone for a couple hours. Do what you can to block out some time to evaluate what’s really going on.
Identify what parts of your job are frustrating you. Some issues may stem back to unhealthy work-life balance. Other issues may come from not the job itself, but the way you’ve been doing it. Have you compromised any of your values? Have you been distracted or steered away from what really matters to you?
That being said, if you’ve never loved your job, taking time to step back and evaluate is still helpful. You may not be in a place to look for a different job, but you can still do some things to cultivate a positive outlook.
Try making a list of all the things you love and loathe about the job. Can you picture scenarios where you turn around the loathes? Is there something that you could change that you hadn’t thought about before? What about making simple changes like switching up your hours? If there are aspects of the job that are in your control to change, then change them.
Find ways to connect your passion to your work
This is closely tied to stepping back and evaluating. If this job is something you’re passionate about, then remind yourself of why you took the job. What aspects do you love? What was the last thing at work you were excited about?
Maybe you’re just now realizing that you were never passionate about this job in the first place. It’s important to know what you want and to own that. Finding your passion is an important part of loving your job. Don’t let culture, family, or friends tell you what you want. You need to know that for yourself. Work divorced of passion rarely leads to success or fulfillment. Get to know yourself.
Now, maybe that part about work being divorced of passion resonated with more than anything. Are there any opportunities available to you at work that align with your passions? What about volunteering for a team project or a task force? Have you made your passions and skills known to bosses or managers? You may be surprised what tasks, big and small, come your way once your boss knows what skills and passions you have. They could connect you to other opportunities within your department you didn’t know about before. It may not lead to a new job right away, but it can add value to what you’re already doing.
If you’re not able to make any career moves toward your passion right now, then pursue something outside of work that you are passionate about. Bring a couple photos or knick-knacks to your desk that can remind you of those passions. Set background images on your computer to encourage yourself. Think of ways to promote a positive atmosphere for yourself at your workspace.
Set new goals
Maybe the thing you’re lacking is direction. You landed your dream job, but now what? Do you know what else you want out of the job? For this new year, try setting some new goals you can actually achieve. When you’re pursuing goals that you’re passionate about, it’s much easier to love what you do.
Do you have any new ideas you can bring to your team? Is there a project that’s been on your mind for awhile, but you haven’t taken any steps to make it happen? Make the most of opportunities as they come along; keep an eye out for them. Write down your goals; outline your steps. Coming back to what matters to you and setting achievable goals can help you get back into the swing of things. Don’t lose sight of why you fell in love with the job when you took it.
If you’re learning to love your job for the first time, setting new goals is still a great way to get your mind focused on the positives. Once you figure out what you can change, and you know what you’re passionate about, you can use those as your guideposts for setting your new goals. Want it, claim it, and own it.