Going to work used to excite you. But now, you spend your days counting down until 5 p.m., secretly scrolling through Glassdoor looking for jobs, and encouraging yourself with words like, “At least it’s almost Friday.”
But if you’re honest, with the current climate of COVID-19, while you wish you could land a new job within the snap of a finger, you’re not quite ready to seriously hop back into the job market. Or, maybe you are actively looking for a new job, but you don’t want to be miserable going to – or logging into – your current job while you wait for something to pan out.
Regardless of where you might fall on the spectrum, landing a new job will not happen overnight, and while you still have the opportunity to work every day, there are ways to make the most of it, even if you no longer love your job.
Here are four options I’d recommend trying out:
Lend a Hand to Other Teams
If you’ve had moments when you’ve looked over at another team and secretly wished you could be doing what they’re doing, now is the time to lend a helping hand. When you offer to help others, you’ll often learn about projects that are outside of your day-to-day duties. Doing so might allow you to infuse more challenging and meaningful work into your day. It will also help you build more relationships with people you may not interact with every day. It can also enhance your reputation of being a valuable and reliable asset around the office, which at the very least, will be a nice addition to your resume.
Try saying something like this if you want to offer your help: “My schedule is very flexible on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and I’d love to lend a hand to [project] if that would be helpful.”
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes you can get so used to following a routine that you forget you can break out of it. If you’re feeling bored or underwhelmed at work, it might be time to ask yourself: “Is it because no one ever approaches me with anything new, or because I usually decline whenever my boss or co-worker asks if I’d be interested in trying something else?”
When you’re not happy at work, it can be so tempting to hit cruise control. But, turning down opportunities simply because they don’t scream exciting might be holding you back from new projects you would enjoy. Getting out of your own way might make your job more interesting, or at least less miserable.
So, the next time you want to pass on an opportunity because it doesn’t sound interesting before you do, ask this instead, “Could you tell me a little bit more about [the project/opportunity/client]?”
Become an Expert at What You Love
Doing more work you love is one of my favorite ways to revive a job you no longer love. One way to tackle this is by positioning yourself as the go-to expert for something you enjoy doing at work. Years ago, when I was bored and unhappy at a job I was not quite ready to quit yet, I decided I needed to add more creativity into my day. I loved creating creative and compelling client presentations and noticed that some of my colleagues didn’t enjoy putting presentations together as much as I did. So, I started letting them know that I would be more than happy to take on the task.
After the project was complete, I’d follow-up with something like, “Anytime you need help with putting together a client presentation in the future, please don’t hesitate to let me know. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
Over time, I didn’t have to offer my help anymore, people started asking me for guidance or knew right away to pass that part of the project to me. Before I knew it, I had more things I liked doing on my to-do list.
Talk to Your Boss
If you’re lucky to have a great relationship with your manager, there are several reasons it might be helpful to have a conversation with them. It could be a win-win for you and your boss because, you never know, there might be things piling up on your manager’s plate that could be exciting for you to do instead. Having the conversation could be a win for your boss because it could alleviate their workload if they’re feeling overwhelmed. It could also help them keep you in mind should they hear of anything around the office that sounds like something you’d like to do.
You can keep the conversation simple, by saying this: “I’d love to touch base with you and check-in to see if there are more ways I can contribute to the team. Over the past [time frame], I’ve volunteered on [team names] and also taken on more work related to [your interest area], but I wanted to see if there are other projects or initiatives where I could add value?”
Whether you’re not quite ready to quit yet or you’re actively looking for a new job, these are just a few ways you can hit refresh on a job you no longer love in the meantime. If you still find yourself miserable, bored and frustrated after trying these things, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of companies still hiring right now. Plus, on the bright side, you can leave knowing you did the best you could do while you were there.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they've been chasing. Grab her free guide.