Remember when you first started your job? Just like the ‘honeymoon’ phase of dating, you found everything so exhilarating. You were eager to start each day—even the staff meetings were fun! Ah, the good old days. Then, over time, things usually begin to shift. You start to wake up differently, perhaps even dread the start of another work day. You start living for the weekends, and slowly but surely, you’re certifiably unhappy. You start to question: “Is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life?”
It can definitely drag you down (quickly!), but we’re here to tell you that it’s both normal and OK to feel this way. You’re just going through a rut, and there are ways to get through it! As 20-, 30- and even 40- and 50-somethings, we are filled with uncertainty, change and fear, but it’s all part of navigating life. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, here are six great ways to shake things up.
- Take on more responsibility. Perhaps you’re bored because you don’t have enough on your plate to be challenged or that drives your excitement level. Look to add more responsibility and opportunity to your schedule. Stepping away from repetitive tasks can create a new/creative position. It will also shake up your routine for the better! Bonus: Your manager will love that you’re engaged and committed, which is most definitely a win!
- Have fun. The people you work with play a large part in your attitude toward your job. After all, working with friends is fun! Try organizing a happy hour, pull together an after-work sports team or schedule a lighthearted outing. Work is more fun when you enjoy spending time with the people around you.
- Take a class. Take a fun class outside of work to boost your skills. Perhaps it’s an Excel computer course or a coding class. Apply whatever you’ve learned to your current role and impress the team! They will appreciate that you’re taking initiative on your own.
- Talk to someone. No, I’m not saying complain every time you’re unhappy and bored (we all have our days). But, if the feeling lasts several weeks or longer, talk to your boss. Sometimes, we just need some validation and inspiration. Brainstorm ways to improve the role, which may include attending a conference outside the office. You’ve got to ignite that spark of yours again.
- Change your attitude. This one may be easier said than done, but it may just take an attitude adjustment. Try to look at things a bit more positively, and see the brighter side of every situation. Perhaps, you have free parking perks (I miss that one!) or a stellar snack corner. Whatever it is, be grateful for what you have. Someone else definitely wishes they were in your shoes.
- Improve your space. If you’re allowed to add a few personal touches, try adding some fresh flowers, a photograph or some cute office supplies to your desk! I’m so inspired by my office, and encourage each and every one of you to enjoy the space you’re in. Also, if you don’t have natural light, invest in a light-box (we wrote about it here). You won’t regret it!