Most of us have probably heard this gem of wisdom:
“Work isn’t supposed to be fun.”
Let’s be real. Almost no job is always fun, but your work should absolutely provide some rewarding moments and personal fulfillment.
The best careers are engaging, challenging, gratifying, and yes — at least occasionally fun. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans are unhappy with their career, according to Forbes.
Although some people are unhappy from the get-go, many people start out feeling job satisfaction but eventually become disenchanted. This process is commonly called “career burnout,” and the first step to addressing burnout is to pinpoint the cause. Here are five:
- Change of interests.
- Not enough challenge.
- Simply working too much or too hard.
- Poor work environment.
- Lack of career progression.
Let’s address these common issues one by one.
First, we’re all human. Our interests can change. If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into a new career (or not sure how to start), do some research. Find people who excel in that field, call them or meet them for coffee, and pick their brains. Learn what employers in that field want the most. The more you can educate yourself about a potential new career path, the more confident you’ll be if and when you pursue it.
Unchallenged at work? Find a problem and come up with a solution. Get proactive. Look for opportunities to innovate. Share your ideas with other team members. If you hit a wall, jump outside your silo. Start building industry connections and collaborate.
Feeling overworked and/or experiencing a bad work environment? Start a dialogue with your supervisor or HR department now. A stiff upper lip will only get you so far. Significant stress or working too hard will eventually impact your health and cause a bigger issue for both you and your employer. If you’ve already exhausted all options and nobody is willing to help, seek help on your own and start building your resume so you can pursue better opportunities.
Simply lacking fun at work? Take matters into your own hands!
Form a committee. Work within your organization to introduce fun and/or team building into the workplace. Start small. If you can’t get buy-in from leadership, at the very least you can organize your coworkers outside of work to boost morale.
Finally, progress isn’t just moving up the corporate ladder. It’s possible to advance or create future opportunities with a lateral move or by evolving your existing job. If the biggest thing holding you back is lack of progress, start advancing your professional development now. Learn new skills. Get training and education. Don’t be afraid to take on new projects or additional responsibilities. When the right opportunity presents itself, make sure you’re ready to go after it. Alternatively, consider freelance or volunteer opportunities outside of your career to add fulfillment and enhance your resume.
Ready to upskill? Explore a range of online professional development training, degrees, and certificates from Colorado State University Online.