After spending a decade or more building a solid career, you’ve finally arrived at the pinnacle of your industry. Your friends admire you, your colleagues respect you and your superiors have even higher expectations for you. But somehow you no longer feel inspired. The determination that got you to this point has dropped out like the bottom on a gravity ride at the local fair. Now you’re just clinging to the sides, hoping no one will notice that you’re clinging on for dear life.
Over time, it’s common to feel disenchanted with your career or experience burnout. Truth be told, more women and men probably have these feelings than they would ever admit to out loud. Still, it can be frightening to wake up one morning and realize you haven’t wanted to go to work for weeks or even months. It’s awful to discover you don’t care one way or the other about the work you do. It’s worse to discover that, out of all the hundreds of executives at your company, you’re the one who’s “phoning it in.” Burnout occurs for many different reasons. But how you got here isn’t as important as figuring out how to connect again with the dreams and motivation you once had.
Those in positions of authority have the power to do a lot of good in the world. Why not use your position to initiate a philanthropic program that’s sponsored by your organization? This could be a great way to leverage all that you’ve accomplished in your career for the greater good. What better way to infuse new meaning into your work life? You’ll be helping others as well as inspiring others within your company to be more charitable.
Your philanthropic program could even take the form of an ongoing new division within the organization. The division could have a funding arm as well as an arm that seeks out needy individuals or charitable organizations within the local community or beyond. If you have been feeling like your career lacks profound merit, this could be a transformative decision for you that brings new value to your work.
There is always someone waiting in the wings who would love to learn everything you’ve learned and experienced. As a mentor, you could lend a helping hand to someone who is still climbing the ladder to where you are. There’s no better way to gain a new appreciation for all you have achieved than to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.
Your mentorship will certainly benefit the one you’re helping; but it will benefit you even more. It will help you to relive the days when you were in their position. It will help you to remember all you have sacrificed and all you have gained. Finally, it will give you perspective on your place in your organization and in the world at large.
When you were on the rise in your company, you probably worked your way through several different departments. This gave you valuable information about how your company works. But it also helped you to understand just how much hard work goes into making your company successful. Now that you’re at the top, part of your lack of inspiration may stem from forgetting what it’s like to work in those other departments.
A great way to breathe new life into your job is to get out there and cross train – again. Spend a day or two, or even a week working in the “trenches” with the hard workers who fuel the pipeline of your company. Get to know the names and the faces of the people who, one day, may be in line for your job. This experience may even inspire you to come up with some fresh ideas for branding, or marketing or customer experience. At the same time you’re serving your company, you could be solving your own lack of inspiration.
It’s completely understandable if you feel like you’re in a rut after so many years in the same office. There you are, driving the same commute, walking the same hallways, seeing the same faces, day after day. If you’ve tried the other ideas mentioned here and you still can’t find your inspiration, maybe a job transfer will do the trick. If your company has operations overseas, you could transfer to a desk in Europe or the Far East or wherever they do business. A transcontinental move like that will certainly help to spur your inspiration. Even if you just transfer to another state, the process of picking up stakes and settling into a new life somewhere in the U.S. could solve your lack of motivation.
If a company transfer isn’t possible, maybe all you need is a shift in responsibilities. You could ask for a departmental transfer, where you could utilize a slightly different skill set and work with a new group of colleagues.
it could be that you’re just suffering from job burnout. It happens to everyone, but especially to those who are very dedicated to their job. Ironically, the more seriously you take your career, and the harder you work at it, the more likely it is that someday you’ll just wake up with that loss of inspiration we’re talking about.
If this is the case, taking a long hiatus could give you the break you need. The hiatus could be a vacation, a staycation or a trip where you volunteer in a second or third world. Anything that gets you away from your world for a while will do. When you return, you’ll likely feel refreshed and may even have a fresh perspective on why you chose to work in this particular industry to begin with. Chances are, you’ll find your inspiration again when you return.
Don’t panic if you’ve lost the inspiration to work in your chosen career. Remember that it happens to the best of us. Try to focus on resolving your burnout by trying one or more of these five recommendations. If you tackle this issue like you tackle all the other problems that come your way at work, the resolution will be right around the corner.
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