Let’s say you love your company and you love your co-workers, but you no longer love your job. At least not as much as you used to back when you first started and everything was fresh. More often than not, your day-to-day’s starting to feel pretty stale.
It happens. And while you should probably start thinking about what’s next, you should also take a few steps to revitalize your current role and make it all feel exciting again. After all, work shouldn’t make you want to fall asleep.
1. Create a New Project
Start by identifying a process that can be changed or a problem that can be fixed. Is there something you’ve been doing the same way forever (because, “that’s the way it’s done around here”) that could be optimized?
Once you have an idea, pitch it to your manager and ask to spearhead the project. You’ll enjoy the challenge of developing and executing something new. Even if there isn’t a dire need for what you’re working on at the time, people will be impressed that you took initiative.
2. Take on Additional Responsibilities
Not looking to reinvent the wheel? If you don’t have the resources to plan your own project, volunteer to lend a hand on an existing initiative or add a new responsibility to your role.
If you want more work to mix things up, but aren’t sure how to manage it with your schedule, steal this trick from my super-productive colleague. She told me that she wakes up earlier than usual one day a week to complete work that excites her. This routine allows her to take on new assignments and spend more time brainstorming projects and initiatives. Consider the possible career benefits next time you’re tempted to hit snooze for the second (OK, fourth) time.
3. Learn New Skills
There are so many online and offline resources for learning new skills. You may find out that you’re passionate about graphic design, writing, public speaking, or something else entirely. Take ownership of your education and use your newfound skills to either take on additional responsibilities at work or enhance what you already do.
4. Ask for a Promotion
Don’t expect that your boss will give you a promotion in the regular course of business—you often times have to bring it up. So, if you’re due for an annual review, you should schedule a meeting with your manager. Yes, directly asking for a raise or negotiating benefits can be uncomfortable, but it’s worthwhile. The best-case is that you end up getting what you want. The worst-case is that you don’t get more money or benefits, but you do hone your self-advocacy skills.
5. Network (at Work)
Networking isn’t just important when you’re looking for a job. You can learn from other people’s paths and insights at every stage of your career. Invite a co-worker you don’t regularly interact with to go to lunch or coffee. Getting to know your colleagues better will help you feel like you’ve had a new start (without having to learn names and titles all over again). Plus, you might make a few new friends—and that always makes the workday more enjoyable.
6. Drain the Swamp
Kate White, Muse contributor, former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, and the author of I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, writes about the value of “draining the swamp.” She’s referring to the fact that people sometimes get so busy doing their jobs that they don’t think about the big picture and their future.
White recommends scheduling one hour every week to drain the swamp. This includes reaching out to mentors and sponsors, going to networking events, and thinking about your ideal career trajectory. Create an action plan and follow it to focus on the skills and practices that will help you develop the career you want at your current job.
7. Go Above and Beyond
Make your career feel new again by being bolder. White also writes that you can’t just do your job description—you have to go above and beyond if you want to stand out and succeed. She recommends that you ask yourself, “When was the last time I made my boss say ‘wow?’ In order to enliven your job, cover the four B’s: ‘Can I be bolder, bigger, better, or more badass?’”
For example, if you work in marketing, come up with an innovative idea for a client—and then pitch it. They’ll be impressed by your big idea, and you’ll get to come up with a new strategy.
It’s totally normal for the excitement of a job to wane over time. But, it’s up to you, to seek out and create new opportunities that’ll make it fun again. And hey, you may learn more (and earn more) as a result.