March 13, 2022

Article at Marco on Authory

Love lost?: 9 ways to recapture enthusiasm for your work

It can be tough to maintain the same level of enthusiasm for your 9-to-5 responsibilities, especially after enduring a pandemic and all the hoops and pitfalls that came with it. Maybe you already accepted the fact that your job would never interest you as much as it once did, even before Covid. But what if you could find a spark to rekindle some of that previous passion? If so, it may be possible to rejuvenate your interest in your career. If you’re game, here are several ways to regain that interest: 

  1. Go back to the beginning: Remember why you decided to enter your field and focus on those same feelings. Maybe you need to look at an old college textbook or talk to a former professor to find a little something that could possibly relight your interest in what you're doing now.
  2. Look to pop culture: Yes, it's true that all those actors portraying characters with cool jobs on TV rarely match their real-life professional counterparts but every once in a while, you might be able to find a little burst of inspiration by watching a movie or reading a book that contains a protagonist with similar job responsibilities. 
  3. Remember why you work: It's great to feel passionate about the work you do but it's also possible to feel just as passionate about providing a home for your family or vacationing with your friends. If you can't find inspiration in your job, perhaps you can still find it in those things you use the money from your job to fund.
  4. Be a mentor: If you're trying to find the reasons why you enjoy working at a certain job,  it's often helpful to work with a newly hired employee. Proteges are always looking for advice and leadership in their new field of work, so you may find that sharing your knowledge and experience is helpful not only to your mentee but also to you. If you choose this route, keep in mind that being a mentor comes with a certain set of responsibilities. If you plan on bad-mouthing your profession or company to a younger co-worker, you should take a pass. You want to inspire your protege, not kill their spirit.
  5. Ask for more responsibilities: If you're bored with what you're doing, there's a good chance that you could get a little jumpstart if you have new things to do. Have a serious discussion with your boss about taking over additional projects. While you can be honest about waning interest in the job, you might be better off spinning your current malaise as a product of your familiarity with not only your day-to-day tasks but also their usual outcomes. If you had more to do, you would be forced to pay closer attention to your actions, therefore creating a more challenging—and potentially inspiring—work experience.
  6. Stop doing so much: One of the ways we get job fatigue is by trying to do too much. There’s no law that says you have to be accessible 20 hours a day and be reachable on 12 different modes of communication, even at work. Turn your phone off, especially if you have a project you need to complete. Go ahead and put your email on “do not disturb” as well and get cracking. And if you find yourself working even an hour or two at night from home, knock it off. It's easy to get tired of a job when you're concentrating on it for 12 hours a day. Go read a book for pure enjoyment—one that doesn’t mention the words “supply chain.” You might find the time away from the job—no matter what form— makes you more likely to enjoy the work when you return. 
  7. Focus on people, not process: Most people don't realize the best thing about their job is the people they work with, not the work they're doing. You may have lost enthusiasm for your job because you’re getting bogged down in the nuts and bolts of work instead of cultivating relationships with your co-workers. Go out to lunch with your peers more often. Meet for an occasional beer after hours and do the little things, like ask about families or personal projects, to add an extra layer to your relationship. People are still recovering from their isolated Covid experiences. Reach out and create or maintain your work relationships  
  8. Be aware of potentially larger problems: Sometimes a lack of interest at work can be reflective of problems at home, a sign of diminished self-confidence or the onset of depression. If you feel like you’re losing control over your daily responsibilities and can't really explain why perhaps it's time to talk to your doctor or check with your company’s employee assistance program to get an outside evaluation of your current situation and any possible assistance you may require.
  9. Don't be so hard on yourself: The ebb and flow of job enthusiasm usually mirror most other aspects of life, including relationships entertainment options, food and more. Sometimes you just go through a funk. If you find that your lack of interest in work is lasting longer than usual, perhaps it's time to make a change, either to a new company or to a different field altogether.

By Marco Buscaglia, Tribune Content Agency
Published in the Chicago Tribune on March 13, 2022