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We all have bad days at work, a boss who just doesn’t get it or the general dread that comes when you feel disconnected from your job’s menial tasks. When you’ve reached your breaking point, the typical reaction is to polish your resume and start your job search without considering whether you’ve truly done all you can do to enjoy your current job.
You’ve already put in significant time and effort with this company – so have you already taken advantage of all their benefits and training opportunities, one that will propel you ahead of your competition when it’s time to leave?
And not to harp on your resume, but are you prepared to defend to a hiring manager why you only stayed with this company for a year? Or what about the great story you could create for yourself about how you tackled the difficult situation you’re in now and made it work?
Don’t fall into the-grass-is-greener trap. Be sure to exhaust every opportunity to balance your frustrations at your current role before looking for a new one.
Need to get pumped up? Here are four ways to learn to like your current job again:
1. Take stock
Inventory all the skills you have the potential to learn in this position and how you could apply them to future jobs. Having broad knowledge of a skill is helpful when breaking in to a new role, but being considered a subject matter expert with an expanded skill set will set you apart in the candidate pool.
Set a goal for each skill on your inventory list and commit to reaching those goals before moving on. When you focus on growing your expertise in specific areas, you’ll be able to seek out more relevant experience and obtain applicable skills more quickly, which mean you’ll head on to your next opportunity that much sooner.
Being an overachiever sometimes works to your advantage, but being an overachiever all of the time can lead to burnout. Instead, adjust your engagement levels to better match those around you and your current workload. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress by working late and constantly checking your email, but you can continue to be a successful employee without doing these things 100 percent of the time.
Think of driving a manual transmission car and downshifting from fifth to third gear. The car continues to drive at a high level of performance, just not as fast. Apply this same principle to your approach to your day – don’t answer every email the moment it comes in; turn your email notification light off when you leave work for the day; leave on-time; and stop scrambling altogether.
Try it for a week and see what happens. You’ll likely experience some anxiety about not working as hard, but most people will not even notice a difference as long as you continue to get your work done, and you’ll have less to regret at the end of the day.
3. Set break reminders
Taking breaks is easily forgotten when you’re focused and busy at work, so schedule them!
Set a pop-up calendar reminder every few hours to take a 15-minute break – get up from your cube, walk around or surf the web. This study shows that when employees take breaks, they’re not only more productive overall, but also happier.
In addition to taking mini-breaks, leave your desk for lunch and, if possible, go outside. Giving yourself extended time outside of your cube environment in the middle of the day will break up the monotony of the 9-to-5 and help you feel refreshed and more energized.
4. Find value and meaning
Connect with what you’re already doing. You are adding value and meaning through your work, to someone each and every day.
If this isn’t readily apparent, dig deeper. How are your actions helping a coworker or impacting a customer? Don’t think big; instead, think small. You have a thousand opportunities each and every day to pitch in and help others at work. So remember how your actions are already creating positive results and seek out new ways to find meaning in what you do.
Reconnecting with your current role will help you gain even more experience without having to jump into a new situation. And getting pumped about your job will not only make your workday not suck, it will also help you feel good about other aspects of your life, too.
Melissa Anzman is a career coach, blogger and former Human Resources insider who helps people fall in love with their jobs again. Melissa’s based in Atlanta and blogs at Loosen Your White Collar.