With the Year Half Over, Are You Energized, or Feeling Tired?
June and July are unique months. School years end, summer arrives, vacations are planned, and there are only two months until fall.
Did you tense or suck in a breath realizing how close fall is? Maybe you felt some tension push aside the joy and relaxing thoughts about vacation and summer.
Corporate businesses plan for a slow down during summer months, but plans set earlier in the year still need to be executed and goals need to be met.
During summer, however, employees are distracted by thoughts of relaxation and fun. It’s natural, whether a person likes their job or not. It’s more difficult when they are tired, irritated, or overworked. When people don’t like their jobs, vacation thoughts can capture more mental space than is productive. This time of the year, when you are in the “doing” mode at work, there is no capacity to reflect on the what and the why of why you are doing whatever it is. You simply know you have to clear your desk to enjoy time away.
Are you energized or exhausted right now?
You might be asking, “Why should I put myself through this again?” or “I used to like my job, what happened?”
We have all heard the saying that if you do something you like, you won’t work a day in your life. What is not considered in this statement is the prospect that what you like changes over time.
It’s natural for reasons to change
This is easily seen with someone new to a job. There is an excitement from the newness, the increase in responsibility and prestige, or the exhilaration of having succeeded in landing the job. Three or four months later, however, the enjoyment is gone, the person is in production mode. Nothing is new, everything is predictable, day after day, week after week. Maybe their initial enjoyment was due to learning something new, so, in this case, the job didn’t change, they did.
In other situations, the market or a management decision changed the direction or emphasis of the company which altered their job. The new requirements and expectations then altered their enjoyment of the job. They feel they would have been happier and satisfied if they could go back to doing what they were doing before.
Maybe this is you today. Regardless of the reason, your interest and enjoyment for your job are waning and the sense of burden, irritation, and overwhelm are growing. Maybe you notice the change, yet reason it is to be expected; it is what work is all about, so you do your best to ignore it and just keep doing your job.
Pay attention to your thoughts
Should you do this enough, you might not notice how these feelings consume you and how they bleed into the rest of your life. You carry the stress home. How you see the world is colored. How others see you has also changed. When it gets bad enough, you seek a resolution, which often is to quit or start looking for something else. But what? What do you look for?
What you know is what you don’t like. That is not the best criteria to find what will be enjoyable. If your answer to the question, “What do I like to do?” is “I don’t know,” then your next best step is to find your answer to that question before you look for what’s next.
Whether it’s looking for another job or changing the requirements of the job you have, becoming clear about what you enjoy is key.
Try to do more of what you enjoy
Look at your current job for clues to the answer. Spend a week making notes, listing the following: What tasks do you look forward to doing? What do you enjoy doing? And what would you love to give to someone else? If there are few tasks you look forward to doing or you enjoy doing in your current job, think back to prior jobs or hobbies to find examples to those categories.
The next step is to see if you can have these pleasant tasks be more of your daily responsibilities. Or look for ways to alter your day so they offset the parts of your job you don’t like. In this way, you are learning if your current job can be changed to something that works for you. Learning what you like and trying to have the job fit you are fundamental pieces to increasing your enjoyment at work, and necessary if you decide looking for another job is in your best interest.
The initial and unexpected benefit to doing these exercises will be in raising your interest and productivity in your current job. This may be all that is necessary. However, should you see it’s time for a new job inside or outside of the company, you will be better prepared to identify situations that are suited to your strengths, your confidence will be stronger when answering interview questions about what you are seeking and what you have to offer, and just as important, your perspective will be optimistic because you are coming from a place of knowing.
Introspection reaps benefits
Introspective work can be gratifying and at the same time daunting. Do this in collaboration with someone – a friend, colleague, or coach – so you get to the answers. Write them down and share them out loud to make them more heartfelt.
Remember, what you enjoy can change over time, so what you identify today may not be the same a year from now. And should this unsettled, disgruntled feeling about your job come again, you know what to do to find the answer that is right for that moment.