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Regaining the Old Spark

Sometimes the spark just isn’t there.  Hopefully you are not saying that about your love life.  Rekindling the dying embers of a relationship can be tough.  What if those dying embers are related to your career?  What if you have lost the vigor that you once brought to your work life?

Before you try to cash in on your insight by starting the next million dollar blog or invent that next great gadget that everyone must have, take some time to re-energize your existing career.

Here are a few things to try when you just have no more enjoyment at work:

Examine your perspective. What makes you happy?  Not just work related but your whole life.  Leave out things like entertainment.  SO don’t think about movies or sports or dining out.  Think about what really gives you personal satisfaction.  Helping others?  Fixing broken things?  Organizing chaos?  Leading change?  Making thing simple to use?   List out some times when you felt real satisfaction and write them down.  Now add “why” you felt such satisfaction.  In another column list out the things that sap your joy.  It may be cleaning up after others or talking on the phone.  Add why that sucks the life out of you also.

Examine your job. Find out what you like about your job. There must be something you like about it.  Write it down.  List the things that really make you feel good like accomplishing this or that, creating this or that, fixing this or that.  You get the idea.  Now list what you don’t like.  Or better yet – what you hate.  Check the list to see what is on it and now add “why” you do or do not like it.

Compare the lists. Match up the things on the personal list to the work list.  Are their similarities?  Do the things at work that you have to do match the things that you enjoy doing?  Let’s take an example.  If I like fixing things and my job includes working with files or processes or equipment that is broken and I have to fix it, then I will enjoy that aspect of the job.  If I hate talking on the phone and my job requires that I be on the phone for a good deal of time, then my job will be a drain.

This sounds pretty basic but it will frame your next step…

Change your job or change your attitude. If you cannot find anything redeeming in your work – then start looking for something else to do.  But if there are redeeming qualities in your work, then make a commitment to refocusing your thoughts on the positives.  Without settling into psychological melodrama it really can be a choice that you make.  If your job is truly intolerable, it won’t work, but most of us have tolerable jobs and we like most of what we do.  So make up your mind to like it more.

Focus on the positive aspects of the job and tolerate the negative aspects.  Look at your “happy list” and make sure that each day has some time doing those kinds of things.  It is not like you can eliminate all of the negatives, but you can focus on the positives and make the day a little brighter.  Even if you have to squeeze some functions into your lunch hour it may make the day go a little easier. Set your mind to dwell on the best in your job and not the worst.

By focusing your mind on the good things in your job, you can begin to outweigh the bad things.  If this effort does not work, then maybe it is time to polish up your resume.

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