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Valentines is a day of love. The sort of Hallmark love that is so often expressed through chocolates, roses and overpriced dinner dates – which is fine for home, but how do you up the romance at work when you find yourself falling out of love with your job?
Not unlike scoring a second date; the precise moment you land a job is an instant of triumph and ecstasy, it’s a chance to start over, step in to a future full of promise and all things exciting.
Fast forward to Monday, two years on, you’re likely feeling less elated. You’re plodding through your working life, blinded by the complacency and normality of it all. You’re forgetting to appreciate what once made you high five your loved ones in victory, you’re slamming that snooze button “just one more time…” and perhaps you’ve even thrown a sickie or two.
Like any relationship, there could be good reason for you to “break-up” with your job. Perhaps it’s not fulfilling anymore, maybe you’ve changed as a person and want different things, or maybe your employer just isn’t making you feel valued. However, the most likely difference between that offer high five and sour monotony is simply your mindset.
Here at Full Picture, we’ve pulled together a few ideas to relight your fire!
Human beings are very sensitive to the environments in which we operate. Is yours as pleasing as it could be?
If you’re working full time, you spend around 8 hours a day sat at your desk – even longer if you’re putting in overtime or skipping lunches – which likely accounts for a huge chunk of your waking hours! Our desks have become our second homes, yet rarely benefit from the décor and design treatment so freely given to our residence.
Take a step back and fully appraise your working environment. Could you increase your natural light? Or improve the lighting altogether? Would your patch benefit from a little tidy, or could it be rearranged to better reflect how you work?
Once you’ve got the basics sorted, consider how you could add a little personality to your work area. Some offices are strict on this one, but most will allow a discreet ornament or photo to cheer up your desk. Not keen on bringing your personal belongings in? Try a plant! Studies have shown that a desk plant can improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%, whilst reducing stress and boosting your mood!
So, your environment says “you” but does your calendar?
The longer we’re in a job, the more likely we are to forego lunches in favour of “powering through” or slipping in to bad habits, like skipping breakfast to claim those precious quiet minutes before everybody else arrives. Admirable as it is, and happy as your boss may be, it won’t be long before these small sacrifices add up to one great big pile of resentment.
Stop putting the job before you. A healthy relationship requires balance, equality and co-operation; if you’re not making space for your own needs, you’ll never be happy!
Start your day right with a healthy breakfast, take some time to ease in to work and set yourself up, make time in your day to get out for a walk at lunchtime or just read a book, go home on time. Nothing will break, the world will continue to turn, and you’ll be in a much better place to give a lot more to your work when you are there.
Humans are social creatures; even the introverts amongst us have a need for social engagement.
When you first started in your role, you likely made the effort to speak to everybody around you. You were the friendly new face who wanted to know everything about everyone. Then you got busier, made a few good friends in the workplace and settled in to a comfort spot.
Whilst those few good friends are important, the average need for interaction and stimulation extends beyond this. Engaging with new people challenges our brains in very different ways to work; we’re required to listen with emotion, to understand, and to put ourselves in others’ shoes. Your job may be losing it’s shine simply because you’re not chatting enough!
Look around; have you made effort to get to know the newest face in the office? Is there somebody who you’ve avoided through assumption that you’ll have nothing in common? Maybe offer to take an old face out to lunch, or start a book club to encourage more social engagement in the workplace?
As a small step, try paying a compliment to a different colleague each day, you’ll be amazed what happens!
Our brains are clever old things; the more often we complete a task, the less we actually think about doing it. This goes for monotonous jobs like slicing bread, but also covers fluid tasks that feel monotonous. A great example of this would be your commute – your journey to work is never the same; the pedestrians are different, the weather changes, the car in front of you brakes…there are many variables, yet how many times have you driven home entirely on autopilot? Scary, eh?!
Your brain does this at work too. When you’re knee deep in perceived monotony it’s easy to lose sight of where you’re going and the best way to get there, which can lead to a lack of organisation and a loss of direction – neither of which will have you jumping for joy.
Take control; set some new goals, write a to-do list, prioritise your work load and plan ahead. Get a clear picture of what’s going on, communicate any issues to relevant parties, and work ahead – you’ll feel much better for it.
Feeling challenged at work is important, we like to feel we’re developing and adding value – when this stops, the love dries up.
Unless you’re very lucky, it’s likely you will outgrow your role at some point – or at least stop developing within it – however, that doesn’t have to be the end. Many employers will happily offer flexibility to staff who wish to take on new projects or training to improve themselves, a lot of them will even pay for it! Perhaps do some research and have a chat with your line manager about your continued development.
Otherwise, it’s worth bearing in mind that professional development doesn’t always require a certificate, it can be as simple as reading a book on your industry or subscribing to a relevant podcast.
Even with all of the above ticked, if you’ve been feeling down on your job for a while your biggest challenge is going to be changing your mindset towards it. Negativity is a downward spiral, it’s easy to get started and a requires real effort to climb back out.
First step is to make a list of everything you like about your job, whether it’s your hilarious team mate or the fruit bowl Fridays – write it down and get grateful for it!
Next, take some time to stop and identify opportunities around you. Does your job allow you to travel the world on someone else’s bank card? What can you learn from the people you work with all day? Is there a promotion or new project coming up that you could be involved in? It’s easy to become blind to the chances that surround us every day.
Finally, add a little sunshine to your work hours. Celebrate birthdays, engagements and babies as if they were your friends’. Start a treat table, bring games to the office, or simply try and smile more!
There you have it, our top tips for rekindling the fire. We’d love to hear how you’ve rediscovered the spark in your job!
If it really is time to call it a day, give us a call on 01489 667 033 to start your next love affair.