You don’t need to run away to the circus to change your work life

posted by Chris Valentine

Have a job like this guy? It might be time to change your work life ... photo by CC user alancleaver on Flickr

There comes a time in almost everyone’s life where they might feel like their skills aren’t being used to their best advantage, or when they feel like it’s time to make a career change. Some people are lucky and their workplace or organisation will provide a means for them to upskill, but other people will need to branch out on their own and will need to find ways to update their skill set.

If you want to get ahead, and need to change your life, you don’t need to run away to the circus – but you might need to make some changes in terms of what you know and what you do. How do you know when it’s time to make changes? We’ve outlined three things to look to that can help you to see when it’s time to make a change in your work life.

Indicator One – You’re frustrated

If you sit at your desk whiling away the hours, and dreaming of your last or next holiday, it might mean that it’s time for you to change the way you work. Your mind and your body are the best indicators of your happiness and stimulation, and if you’re suffering from depression, if you’re overweight, if you’re anxious or if you’re just plain bored, it can be indicative of a higher problem with your work. Your career is a series of transitions where you move from skill to skill or role to role, and when a plateau goes for too long you might need to make some changes. Stagnating is a problem for people in their work, and if you notice any of these things it might be time to make some changes:

  • Getting distracted
  • Losing motivation
  • Caring less about tasks
  • Caring less about performance

The changes you make don’t have to be huge, but they do need to make an impact. Sometimes it’s something as simple as taking a short course (and there are a huge range of tafe courses online that you can do) which can help you to move into a higher-powered role.

Indicator Two – You’re stagnating

If you notice that you’re performing the same tasks over and over without change, and without review, then it might be time to shake things up a little bit. Stagnating isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re not good at your job (or that you’re sick of your job), because it’s something that can happen to all of us when we work on something for long enough. A routine is called a routine because it’s usually the most agreeable way to do the same thing over and over, but when a routine becomes stale and no longer provides fulfilment it can become a problem.

As part of your work you should perform a regular review on your tasks and to look at them objectively to see if they’re providing the solution that they should be. Be harsh, be ruthless, be fair, but just do it. You need to make sure that every one of your tasks or systems is linked to a viable outcome for your profits or services.

As a working individual you need to ask some questions of yourself, and if you are struggling with what to look at you can consider things like:

  • Communication
  • Time management (emails, meetings etc)
  • Administrative tasks and time wasting activities
  • Internal tasks
  • Client-facing tasks

You need to look at whether you’re doubling up in any areas and to look at how you can increase productivity while increasing your satisfaction with the tasks. Often, if you take less time to do the same thing you’ll enjoy greater satisfaction with a task, so it’s well worth examining your tasks closely.

Indicator Three – You’re professionally jealous

This doesn’t mean that you’re a professional at being jealous, it just means that you’re aware that others might be moving ahead of you and you want to be where they are. Many of us don’t like to admit this one to ourselves but it’s important to consider as it’s part of all of us whether we like it or not. Don’t turn your work into a competition, but be aware of the successes of others and the impact that it has on your drive to succeed. If you want to get ahead consider:

  • Upskilling
  • Increasing the value of every transaction
  • Becoming a thought leader
  • Increasing your responsibility at work

Don’t forget that making a change can be a positive time – it’s a chance to change your role at work, or to upskill and grow. So long as you don’t shy away from it it can be a powerful time for growth and development. Good luck.

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