Overcoming a career funk

Posted in Careers, Mentor Minute

Overcoming a career funk

Globe and Mail Careers Section, August 22 2007

Double Black Diamond Coaching

Globe and Mail Careers Section, August 22 2007, page C2 Mentor Minute: Quick Career Advice from expert Katie Bennett Overcoming a career funk The Scenario

My job is wearing me down. I simply don’t have the enthusiasm I once had for what I thought was a great career. But my personal circumstances make me disinclined to start anew in a different career. How can I overcome this funk?

The Advice

Chances are you still have a great career and you’re simply in a rut. Lots of people feel this way, especially when they are moved into a role that simply doesn’t fill their emotional or intellectual needs. Our needs and expectations are constantly evolving; you need to take steps to ensure your job changes with you.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a career change – you may just need to change the way your day-to-day job feels.

Here’s a simple exercise to help you regain your enthusiasm.

There are two key questions to look at: What gives me energy? What drains my energy? Make two lists to answer that answer those questions.

Figure out what puts a spring in your step, what challenges and excites you, where you’re learning and growing. These may already exist at work, or they may be things you’d like to add to your job.

Then assess what elements of your career are draining your energy, what makes you want to pull the covers back over your head; when you’re no longer learning, you’re bored and uninspired. Find a way to delete these things from your job description.

The trick is to find what works for you. For some, writing can really boost your energy. For others, it’s like torture. You may love doing presentation, while others find it terrifying and energy-draining. Some people love the details and find energy in “figuring everything out”, while others love envisioning the big picture. Some people love working and interacting with a computer, for others it sucks the life right out of them.

So it’s crucial to take the time to do your homework and figure out what works for you.

Take my profession, coaching, for instance.

At first, all I wanted to do was do was one-on-one coaching with clients. That was where I was getting the most energy.

But after a while, the shine was wearing off and I found myself looking for more, needing work that was more interactive. So I began holding workshops and seminars – same “career”, just a different feel to it.

Now I find myself looking again at how I can re-invent coaching – like anything, at times it becomes stale and predictable, but the work still holds great meaning for me. So the latest additions are writing articles and adding keynote speaking, because these things are exciting and generate lots of great energy.

Overall, my career at its core is the same – coaching – but the actual day-to-day work is evolving.

The bottom line is to be prepared to constantly reinvent yourself at work and, as much as possible, fill your day with the things that give you energy while avoiding things that don’t.

Katie Bennett is Head Coach of Double Black Diamond Coaching based in Vancouver.

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