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Reigniting your passion for the job

Coach's Corner--May 11, 2009

The Client
Name: George
Age: 50
Title: Director, Continuing Education
Industry: Public schools
Issue: Re-energizing in job
Q. I’d like to make a career change, but the weak economy and my practical concerns don’t make that feasible. Do you have ideas on how I can get fired up about what I’m doing so I have more fun in my current role?

A. Tap into your vision for yourself, know what gives you satisfaction, and bring that into your current job.

The inner game
Recognize what makes you happy. Setting aside what you “should” like, think about what you do like. Everyone is different in what kind of tasks they like to do, how much structure they prefer, and how much they want to interact with others. Think about the type of company you’d like to work in — its size, culture, and mission.

Assess your current situation. Review the amount of structure you have, the tasks you do, the people you work with, and the organization you work for. How well does it fit with your ideal? Think about what you’d want to change in a new position. Look at your career progression, focusing on aspects that brought you enjoyment along the way. Consider ways in which your job has changed or you’ve grown that put you out of sync. Be clear about the parts that fit, too; it’s important to focus on the positives.

Look at the big picture. Are you satisfied with your life? Don’t leave anything out — consider family, friends, health, spirituality, and hobbies. If you aren’t happy in the rest of your life, it’ll be harder to boost your energy at work.

The outer game
Build on the positives. Consciously savor the aspects of work that you like. Look for ways to bring back parts of your past jobs that were engaging. For example, you may miss doing hands-on analysis now that you’re in a management role. Without overdoing it, get a little closer to the work your team does.

Match your preferences. If you prefer individual work but spend a lot of time in teams, negotiate ways to have more independent work time. You may have more options than you first perceive, but you’ll need to ask for what you want.

Stretch. Once you’ve mastered your job, it can feel stagnant. Find ways to grow. Take on special projects, or get to know people in other parts of the organization. Steps like these could lead to a new role. Think about your ideal job, and integrate aspects of that into the job you have now.

Focus on relationships. Research has shown that people who have close friends at work have higher job satisfaction. If you’re a loner, make an effort to find common ground with some coworkers. Build genuine friendships; you’ll have more to look forward to when you walk in the door each day.

Get ready. Prepare for a new career by educating yourself through classes, books, or conversations with others in your new field. You’ll be more ready to move if you want a change later.

The last word
Think positive, look for new things to do, and build deeper relationships. You’ll feel better about the time you spend at work.

Liz Reyer, President RCC - Posted May 10, 2009
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