How To Fall Back In Love With Your Job

We spend a lot of time at work – around 90,000 hours in a lifetime, in fact. That’s a hefty number of hours to spend doing something you don’t enjoy. It’s not always so black and white either – rather than either hating or loving your job 100% of the time, we all go through times when it’s just a drag to turn up on a Monday morning. And if you’re not enjoying it your job, you could experience a negative effect on your health, wellbeing and relationships.

Don’t think that you need to change your job or career to get back to that new-job sweet spot, though. Before you hit the job-seeker boards, try these five tips for falling back in love with your job.

#1 Work-life balance is key

A healthy balance between the personal and professional is essential if you want to fall back in love with your job.

“Establishing good work-life balance is about setting boundaries,” says Bella Zanesco, career strategist, author of Smart Girls Screw Up Too and owner of consulting business Fully Expressed. She works to give people and organisations tools to lead more fulfilling lives and careers.

“It’s important to set boundaries in the first 100 days of a new job, and then do your best to stick to them. Whether it’s leaving work on time or not checking emails after-hours, it’s crucial that you value yourself and your personal time as this is where you recharge your energy,” she says.

Zanesco suggests other easy-to-implement boundaries to improve work-life balance, including:

  • Do something interesting and not work-related at least one night a week
  • Take proper lunch breaks away from your desk and devices
  • Set structure around how you delegate tasks and what you allow to be delegated to you.

“You want to be in a workplace you enjoy. Otherwise, what’s the point? A lack of boundaries around work-life balance can quickly turn into depression and burnout,” she adds.

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#2 It’s OK to love the money

“If the money you earn in your job gives you the freedom to do what you want outside of work, there’s no shame in staying for the financial stability,” says Zanesco.

When an impressive salary won’t cut it however, is if you start to feel like you’re not appreciated, your mental health is suffering or that you’ve become a slave to the company. If this happens, the money is never worth staying for.

#3 Cast your mind back

When you accepted and first started the role, what got you invigorated and excited to get out of bed and work each day? Perhaps you were leading marketing campaigns that engaged the whole team and tested your strategy skills? Or maybe you loved the energy and pace of your new workplace? Or was this new job a step in the right direction for your career, testing out new skills?

If you feel you’re not being challenged enough, speak with your manager about taking on more responsibility and bigger projects.

Whatever the source of that early motivation and enthusiasm, be clear about what it was, and aim to get it back into your work. If you feel you’re not being challenged enough, speak with your manager about taking on more responsibility and bigger projects. If you no longer feel connected to the organisation’s purpose, engage HR to help you find meaning and relevance in your work again. Have these chats as early as possible to help you stay happy.

#4 Maximise your learning

If you’ve started looking at other opportunities, before you fire off any applications, think about what you can still learn in your current role. Review the skills and experiences required for the next stage of your career, whether that’s stepping up to something more senior or across to a new industry.

Capitalise on any available internal secondments, training sessions, or budget allocated for staff to pursue courses externally. And if you don’t have one already, get yourself a mentor who can provide advice and guidance on how to navigate this period of uncertainty and potential change.

#5 Write a list 

Zanesco says that if you’re contemplating leaving your current job, write a list of pros and cons first.

“Write down five things you love and five things you don’t about your job,” says Zanesco. “Once you’ve got that you can decide whether you need to have an honest conversation with your boss or whether you need to look for new opportunities.”

To maintain objectivity in this list, Zanesco says giving yourself space is critical.

“This means both energetic space and physical space. Whether you go away for a long weekend or take a two-week holiday, it’s key to get some space before you make a decision.”

Zanesco’s advice comes not just from extensive research but from her own experience. In 2013 she suffered massive burnout, leading to adrenal failure and depression. She says that in the end, health always come first. Jobs come and go, but your health will stay with you.

If you’ve done all you can to try to fall back in love with your job, but it hasn’t worked, it might be time to consider what’s next for you. Even a new career.

Izzy is a copywriter and editor. She writes about music, the arts, employment and international development. She also sings and plays an impressively amateur level of guitar in Melbourne band Go Get Mum. Find her rambling on Twitter @izzytolhurst.
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