Congratulations! You’ve got the job you really wanted. You were selective and well planned with your job search. You wrote a great resume and you impressed in the interviews. Your hard work has paid off and you’re in. Great stuff, well done!
You are now part of a new team and you have a critical role to play in the machinery of the organisation. Your manager and colleagues have welcomed you into the fold and they sing your praises early on to demonstrate their support. During the first few months with your new employer you feel great about yourself and you have a genuine sense of self pride that you’ve landed such a fantastic job with tremendous opportunities for further learning, skill development and career progression. The 1965 classic song Feeling Good runs through your mind… “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life and I’m feeling good”.
The honeymoon is over
Soon you’re at the three to six month mark when the shine of your newness has started to fade and the focus is changing from learning the intricacies of your role and your place within the team. Now you are expected to deliver results. The pressure for a return on your investment increases so you knuckle down, work really hard and results start to occur. You are now achieving great things. Your level of engagement with your job, your team and the company has never been better and that sense of self satisfaction and pride you had when you first got the job is back. In fact, it’s even more powerful now, because you’ve proven to yourself, your boss and your team that you are up to the challenge and worthy of the role you hold.
Stoking the fire
Before you know it, a year or maybe two or three years have passed and you start to feel the fire inside that has powered you throughout your job is starting to die. Frustrations creep in and the little things that never bothered you before really annoy you now and it shows. Arriving at work at the start of the week has you mentally counting down the hours until your next day off. As Whitney Johnson says in her HBR ideacast ‘Disrupt Your Career, and Yourself’ the danger at this point is your confidence changes into entitlement which leads to complacency and you stop learning.
It’s time to stoke the fire. If you don’t do anything at this point, you are in danger of letting your behaviour deteriorate along with your previously reliable output and results.
Now if you’re really lucky you have an attentive and caring boss who recognises the changes in your attitude to work and they step in and have a real (sometimes called “fierce”) conversation to help you.
But don’t rely on this because ultimately it is up to you. Remind yourself why you fought so hard to get this job and that there are probably many other people who are actively searching for a job just like yours.
At the crossroad
If you honestly cannot muster any enthusiasm at all for your job, then it may be time to move on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. A new job, new team, new environment may just be the tonic you need to reinvigorate your career.
However pushing through this difficult period and challenging yourself to step up your game, learn, try new things within your existing company may prove much more rewarding in the long run. In doing so you may need to show your vulnerability, put yourself ‘out there’ and instigate a real conversation with your boss and tell her how you feel.
Asking your boss how they perceive your contribution and value to the organisation is scary. I know, I’ve done it! But once you know the answer you can work with your manager to find ways to add even more value going forward.
Progressively, that feeling of pride in your work returns and it grows as you stretch yourself and deliver results by doing things that are new and initially a little uncomfortable.
Make a choice
Regardless of which path you take when you feel yourself struggling to get motivated to go to work, make a choice and own it. Resigning and moving on to a new opportunity is perfectly fine. Alternatively, stepping up, facing the problems and working through them may prove to be one of your greatest achievements.
If you don’t make a choice you may find your attitude, which drives your behaviour around others (at work and at home), may deteriorate badly. This will likely accompany a drop in your performance, so before long your boss is talking to you about the very real prospect of you losing your job.
So, you’ve made your choice and decided to talk to your manager to seek counsel. They are relieved and genuinely delighted that you’ve got the self awareness to recognise that your enthusiasm and motivation is waning and you are dissatisfied enough to do something about it.
You receive some great advice and you are reminded that your role is critical to the success of the organisation. Again, that feeling comes back. It’s the sensation of going home at the end of the working day knowing you put in your best effort and the confidence to know positive results will follow… they do. You’re back!
Congratulations, you’ve just re-recruited yourself without having to leave your company!
Ben Walsh – General Manager, Recruitment