6 ways to reignite your passion for work
A mid-career slump could be what’s holding you back from enjoying your job. Fall in love again with these tips.
Starting a new job is exciting—you’ve got passion, drive, and a zeal for the work. But when you’ve been toiling in the same field for a decade or more, your fervor may need a jump start.
“After working for 20 years, some people question how to maintain the enthusiasm they had when they were younger,” says Susan Peppercorn, a career and psychology coach and CEO of Positive Workplace Partners.
If your interests have changed—or you’re just feeling a little ‘blah’ about your 9-to-5, try these six strategies to revive yourself.
Engage your brain
“When I talk to folks who say, ‘I hate my job,’ what I find in many cases is that they’re bored,” says Kerry Hannon, author of Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness. “The most important thing someone can do—and perhaps the easiest—is to learn something new.”
Raise your hand and sign up for a development program at work, or take a course on your own. Not only will it open your mind (and spirit), but it just might give you an edge on the job that you didn’t have before.
“As soon as you start learning something new, you get excited again,” Hannon adds. So do it today!
Find meaning in your work
Taking the big picture view of your work can help you get over the hump of daily doldrums.
“Studies have shown that individuals are most engaged at work when their goals and actions are personally meaningful,” Peppercorn says. “Values vary from person to person. For some, it might be teaching or communicating. For another, helping others achieve their goals through coaching or mentoring lights them up.”
Think about why you got into your field of work originally, and whether you’re still on the same path. Renewing your commitment to the goals you had—or making new ones—can give you a renewed sense of purpose.
Help others advance
“The experience of being helpful, of being valued, and of seeing others grow is immensely satisfying and can create a tremendous boost of the sense of well-being and happiness,” says Halelly Azulay, founder and CEO of TalentGrow LLC, and author of Strength to Strength: How Working from Your Strengths Can Help You Lead a More Fulfilling Life.
Being a mentor to someone younger in your field can boost your enthusiasm for what you do.
Check with your company or your college alumni association to see if there’s a mentoring program you can participate in. “There is something very gratifying about creating a legacy, especially if you’ve been in your career for a couple of decades,” Azulay says.
Ask for more
Look around your company. Is there a project that needs extra hands—or even a person to run it? Step up to the plate.
“What I advise people who are tired of their jobs to do is, frankly, what I did a couple of times,” says Bruce Hurwitz, an executive recruiter and career counselor with Hurwitz Strategic Staffing. “I asked for new responsibilities, keeping my current ones. I didn’t ask for a raise or a promotion. Having a new challenge was all I needed.”
Declutter your office
Can you remember the last time your desk was spotless? Or when your space was free of useless knickknacks from vendors and events? Remember when you vowed to get to inbox zero?
“When you start to declutter your work space—including your computer—you’re making decisions about ‘I value this’ and ‘I don’t value that,’” Hannon says. “It really helps you get a sense of what you want in your job, what are the things that matter to you.”
Be open to change
The average person changes careers multiple times in their life. Maybe it’s time to think about whether your current position is still a good fit.
“If you’re going through a mid-career moment and waking up to the realization that you’re not thrilled with what you’re doing, consider a change in career,” says Melissa Davies, president of Wise Ways Consulting, who works with companies on workplace improvement.