By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q: When I started out in my career, I guess I was idealistic. Now I just feel tired and burnt out. After what happened to the stock market, I'm now stuck with working longer. How do I breathe new life into an old career?
A: Take comfort in knowing you have a lot of company. Many people were counting the days until retirement when the financial downturn hit. If you want to breathe new life into your career, I have three words for you - take intelligent risks!
The reason our old jobs get so stale is our brains become bored when we keep repeating the same tasks. Most of us know that if we go the gym and do the same exercises, our body gets efficient and stops burning the calories.
Our brains also are wired for efficiency. If we face the same challenges and use the same skills every day, our brain goes on automatic - and automatic means we stop being engaged.
If you have ever felt like your office was a horror movie titled "Night of the Working Dead," you now know the real reason people can become zombies in the workplace. If you don't want to join the ranks of the zombies, you have to wake your brain up with some risk taking.
Now, I'm not talking about jumping off your office building or telling your boss to "Shove it!" I'm suggesting you take the time to imagine a job you'd look forward to doing. What is different about this fantasy job? Run your day in your mind and notice specifics that make this job fresh.
Now brainstorm ways to import any task, new project, or challenge from your fantasy to your old job. One of my clients just revitalized his career by doing this homework. He went into his boss, proposed his dream job, and was stunned his boss agreed. He is now spearheading a project he has always dreamed about.
Many of my clients who start taking intelligent new risks on the job have told me that they like their work enough that they'd plan to keep working part-time even when they are financially secure.
Since financial necessity is dictating that most people give up the idea of stopping work, consider an upside to this problem. If you open up new facets in your job, you may find work more rewarding than perfecting your golf game.
The last word(s)
Q: I'd like to work from home more often. How do I convince my boss?
A: Appeal to his or her personal and business needs and you'll get your time at home.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.INTERPERSONAL EDGE. DISTRIBUTED BY TMS
This was printed in the April 25, 2010 - May 8, 2010 edition.