In a job market with high unemployment, work can often feel like a Monopoly game — the luck of the draw, not sure what move to make, who to trust, and which card to play.
In this type of market it’s not only the unemployed who may be most dissatisfied. Even those who are working can find it harder than ever to love what they do. Pressures are high, perks are low, colleagues are taking out their frustration on the rest of us, and many times we feel trapped.
Now is probably not the time to leave but how on earth can you find the daily motivation to stay?
I have been in this boat several times in my career, and have found four strategies that help immensely with at least some short-term relief and refreshed thinking:
1. Evaluate the Benefits — When you write about this job on your resume’ how will you describe your takeaways or the skills you received and the impact you made? Focus on these benefits now and be grateful that you will at least leave with something.
2. Focus on the People — In my 25 years of working I don’t remember many projects, paychecks, or promotion moments that have occurred. I do however, remember virtually ALL the people I have worked with, some loved, some not so loved, but all memorable in their own way. People are the gifts we take away from every job. Identify the handful of people you want to stay in touch with long after this job ends. Invest in these relationships now, try new ideas for going deeper with these folks in a “give and take” manner. Maybe a few of them share your frustrations and you can mutually encourage one another to see the silver linings and stay the course together.
3. Add One New Dream to the Mix — Decide what one new dream you could begin pursuing now, one that stirs new hope and gets your creative juices flowing. Maybe it’s one that this current job can enhance or lead you to achieving. “With all this stress how can I possibly find the time?” you may ask. Try my 1-1-1 Strategy. It’s one dream, one step, once a week. One step might only take 5-10 minutes of research, or answering one question on “what’s next?” But making one step once a week moves your dream forward and can even be a great momentary distraction from other stresses that abound. Dreaming is a constructive, life-giving exercise for the mind and heart. I do it all the time and suggest you do too.
4. Remember, This Will Soon Be Over — “Days are long but life is short,” is a phrase I say often and oh how true it is. Some of my longest seasons of frustration, agony, exasperation, and frequent tears, now seem like distant memories. At times I even recall them fondly for the lessons I learned during those trying, testing times. It may be painful now but sooner than you think, this will end and you’ll be onto something new. While it may feel like a mind game, keeping this truth in the mix can really help you through.
These are a few of my methods. What other strategies or practical ways have you found to work well when all you want to do is quit?