You spend 40+ hours each week in your job, and if you’ve lost your career spark, those hours may be dragging by. The good news is, if you’re unhappy, you can do something about it. It might be time for a career change, yes, but when you dig a little deeper, you may realize you just need time away from the office or a new hobby to throw yourself into.
If you’ve lost the passion you once had, use these ideas to find it again—or discover a new, more fulfilling career path.
Do a “Career Audit”
This recommendation comes from Paula Battalia Brand, career counselor and coach. A career audit keeps you accountable to yourself and your own needs—rather than assuming your career will just turn into what you want it to be. Brand suggests asking yourself:
- Are you exactly where you want to be right now? If not, what’s not happening?
- Where do you want to be in a few years?
- Do you need to implement changes to your role, your title, or your career path to get where you are going?
This may lead to changes in career goal, a change in jobs, or a shift in your entire career plan. Regardless of what happens, a simple audit will keep you on track and make sure you don’t lose sight of one simple thing: you are in charge of your career and where it takes you.
Get In Touch With What You Love
So often we lose ourselves in our careers, running from the office, back home to sleep, and back to the office to do it all over again the next day. To reignite your career spark, take some time for yourself and the things you love outside of work:
“Revisit an old hobby or research a new experience that has been on the backburner … Just as you cannot count on one person to satisfy every need, a job will be more fulfilling when you are not relying on it as your main purpose in life,” suggests Diane Gottsman, author and executive leadership expert.
Identify Quick Changes
What don’t you like about your current job or company? Is there something you can change yourself or request from your manager? Perhaps managing people isn’t something you enjoy, and a customer-facing role is a better fit for you. Instead of stewing in your unhappiness, make a pros and cons list and then consider what you can change now—if you’re still unhappy after making changes, reassess again.
Focus On Your Goals
“When a job becomes routine, chances are you’ve lost sight of how it relates to your next career goal,” suggests Cheryl Lynch Simpson of Executive Resume Rescue. Goals help keep you focused and excited about what’s ahead in your career.
Use this time to bring your focus back on what brought you to your current role in the first place and how it can help you prepare for the next step, suggests Simpson: “Remind yourself (or clarify) what you want next in your work life and treasure hunt your current role for ways it can prepare you for that goal. Can you take on a volunteer assignment? Seek additional training? Practice a new skill?” If not, it may be time to move on.
Network Within Other Industries
If you don’t love the industry you’re in—but love the job you’re doing—start networking within industries that sound more interesting to you. You can join local chapters of national industry clubs, attend local, industry-specific conferences, or just reach out to people you know to pick their brain over coffee. Most people are happy to talk about themselves and their career, all you have to do is ask.
Take That Promotion
Fear may be holding you back from moving into a position that could reignite your career spark. A 2016 survey found that 13.4 percent of people reported losing a job and 6.1 percent gave up a promotion due to their fear of failure—which is the number one fear among Americans polled. Being in a stale position, where you’re not challenged or moving forward, can quickly snuff your career spark.
Start a Side Hustle
If you aren’t happy at work, consider how you can make money doing other things that you love. Instead of staying in a job that doesn’t keep you engaged or happy, like 48 percent of Teem’s 2017 Employee Happiness Index, work toward building a career or business you’ll feel passionate about.
Not sure where to start? Use How to Turn Your Passion Into a Side Hustle as a guide.
Take Time Off
Instead of making a big change during a challenging time in your career, take a step back. You may be burnt out, which is “the result of working back-to-back days for months on end. Your enthusiasm has been replaced by loath, and your energy has been drained,” explains Ken Macharia of MindSky.
If you can’t take a full, week-long vacation, head out for a long weekend away, or just take a Friday and Monday off and enjoy a 4-day weekend. A little R&R may be just what you need to reignite your career spark.