Do you feel like you’ve hit a roadblock with your job? Have you been feeling that what you do has no purpose and that your productivity has ebbed? It’s not unheard of for professionals to experience a slump in their careers. However, there are ways to find purpose in the work you do and be productive again.
The first thing to do is take a step back and do a personal assessment. Ask yourself whether you feel satisfied with your job. Do you enjoy what you do? You can make a tally of the pros and cons of your job, and ask yourself the hard question: “Is this what I want to be doing with my life?” If not, it might be time to explore the idea of making a change. If you want to stick with your job, then you need to look deeper to get things back on track.
One aspect of work that can be draining is job stress. In our practice, we see people who experience work-related stress. Some employees get to the point where they begin to experience symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Are there ways to reduce stress in your workplace? Taking short breaks to move around, reducing noise interference and distractions, adding plants, and even taking walks can all help reduce stress. If these problems persist, consider seeking professional help for stress management.
Assess your productivity. Look at your desk or workspace. Is it organized? Can you find what you need without getting lost in a sea of paper? If not, do a purge of your files and a clean sweep of your desk. If you’re not sure how to do this, there are plenty of sites and books about organizing that can be helpful.
Another area to look at is whether you think you still feel challenged by your job. Are you learning new things, developing skills, and expanding your horizons? If not, check to see if there is any in-house training that interests you. You can also sign up for a class that can help you improve skills related to your field or attend a professional development conference. These are also great ways to network and expand your contacts.
Sometimes we can find purpose when we give back to others. Advising and helping other employees such as new hires can be very rewarding. You can pass on your knowledge to others and help them get started in their careers. You can also be an asset to mid-level workers who would benefit from your knowledge and experience. Check with your company to find out if they have a peer-to-peer mentoring program.
Consider also looking beyond your workplace for giving back. One idea is working with teens who are interested in pursuing a career in your field. You can make a big difference in the life of a young person and it feels good too! If you want to do something different than your job, think about volunteering at a food pantry, homeless shelter, youth organization, or building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
Sometimes we have been at a job for so long we may not think to broaden our horizons and aim higher. It can be comfortable being in a position that you have occupied for an extensive period of time. However, this is also how we can become stagnant too. Why not apply for a position with a higher level of responsibility, such as a supervisory role? Leadership is an art form. Although it’s challenging, being a leader in your organization can also be rewarding.
It’s understandable if you no longer feel purpose in your job. It happens quite frequently. However, with some reflection, out-of-the-box thinking, and, if necessary, professional help, you can become re-engaged with your career and be more productive again.