Around Spring time this year, I found myself at a crossroads in my career.
A couple months earlier I decided to return to a company I had a 10 year tenure with between 2006 – 2016.
After regaining a management position and then switching teams for the exact same role, I felt like I was on ‘autopilot’ in my day-today job function.
Things were moving along nicely in my career, but there was nothing I was experiencing daily that got me excited about coming to work.
I was employed by a great company, worked for a great boss, managed a great team and had all the autonomy in the world to direct my team as I pleased. With all that I still looked forward to working on my several personal creative projects I had going on outside of work more than coming into the office daily.
I saw my job as more of a hindrance or detriment to what I really wanted to accomplish in life creatively. I had big creative entrepreneurial aspirations and did not inherently see a future in the current industry I was in.
It was until I attended a mandatory company sponsored training, set up for all managers, that I began to see things differently.
Our facilitator trained us on how to use Emotional Intelligence in order to manage our teams effectively. One point that suck with me the most is when she referred to “using coping mechanisms” to help deal with a job you didn’t like. It could be goals, focus points or anything that distracted you from thinking about the negative aspects of the role.
That idea sat well with me, but I didn’t just want to “deal” with my job. If I was going to be here for 8 hours a day, 8 hours away from my wife and kids, I wanted to love my job and enjoy as many facets of it as possible.
When I lose my passion, I remind myself of this purpose. To make an impact in the lives of others.
After a self brainstorming session and assessment, I took a new approach to my ‘9 to 5’. Not only do I love my job again, but I also have a refreshed vision and excitement for what my career could possibly look like years from now.
How did this happen? Below are the 3 approaches I took in 2017 that helped me reshape my career and find professional fulfilment without leaving or changing my place of employment:
I Identified a Single Clear Purpose for My Position. Last week while scrolling through Instagram, I came across this post below posted by the blog The Life Currency:
Of course I posted this image on my Instagram profile because it reminded me of the single most important value I put in place regarding my team. I proposed to give my employees the best job experience they could ever have working for a company. As their direct report, I made it my responsibility to ensure they had 100% job satisfaction and to maintain the overall employee first culture my company had always prided themselves on accommodating. Above all else, helping them sustain a work-life balance that reinforced this company value. When I lose my passion, I remind myself of this purpose. To make an impact in the lives of others.
I Brought a Creative Mindset Everyday. Sitting with my wife one day giving her details on the challenges I was experiencing and the conflict I had about my job and my personal creative goals, she offered some advice that changed my perspective about how I was going about satisfying my creative ‘itch’. That advice was to simply, “to use my creative skills in my current role”. I wrote a piece a few weeks back about this very topic. To summarize, it’s all about bringing all of your passions and interests together and effectively using them to enhance your daily work experience, instead of taking a divided approach when looking to use your gifts or the skills you enjoy using outside of work. Some of my creative work ventures include hiring a speaker to do a motivational speech for my team, and working with the branding/marketing department on a few related creative projects. Neither of those ideas are listed on my official job description, but I was given the green light by senior management on both.
I Embraced the Company Vision. Before I could fully appreciate my role and excel at the highest level, I needed to have a clear understanding of the core values my employer held in high regard. The processes they lived by in order to run an efficient operation. One of the core values was customer excellence. I embraced the challenge to build stronger relationships with current customers and had my team focus on doing the same. Not only build relationships, but develop and implement cost saving opportunities for them, while providing exceptional customer service. Another one of our core values was culture which was defined on the company website as high performance environment which attracts and retains passionate, talented, empowered people, founded on respect, trust and integrity. This value strongly relates to my first point about purpose. I embraced the challenge to make the work environment a place where people want to grow, learn, build and and have an opportunity to elevate their careers. Knowing and embracing what your company does and the core values they stand by to make things happen goes a long way towards helping you gain a clear understanding of the significant part you have to play in all of it.
There’s no magic solution to loving a job you possibly loathe right now. In some situations, leaving a workplace environment that is potentially poisonous to your mental and emotional state is necessary. And other times a job may not be all that you thought it would be when originally applying. That said, leaving and changing jobs should be at the very least, a last resort. Try experimenting with my suggestions above or do your own research on this topic. As the overused cliche says, the grass is not always greener on the other side. By taking a different approach in the New Year to the way you view your current position, you may come to realize you’re already in your dream job.