8 Tips for Staying Motivated When You’re Not Enjoying Your Job

By | 04.09.2016

Most people go through a period of demotivation at work or in their career at some point. It’s normal. Gallup’s most recent statistics indicate that nearly 70% of people are not engaged at work. So ifyou’re worried you’re the only one, you’re not. Not by a long shot.

8 Tips for Staying Motivated When You're Not Enjoying Your Job

In the simplest of terms, motivation comes from two key elements.First – having a goal, vision or feeling a sense of purpose. Second -believing you can achieve it.

If you’re feeling demotivated at work, chances are it’s because either you’re:

a) Lacking direction

You might not have clarity on what you want out of your career. You might be experiencing a lack of purpose, goals or sense of direction.You might feel like you’re stuck in the wrong job but don’t know what you want to do instead. Or you might not be getting any direction from your manager or employer.

b) Feeling hopeless you will achieve your goal or things will change  

You might have been looking for another job for a long time withlittle or no success. You might not be getting the support, financialreward, career progression, learning opportunities or recognition youwant, leaving you feeling undervalued or questioning your own ability.You might have discovered a difference in values, leaving youquestioning your desire to stay in at the company.
Also Read: 15 Tips For Maintaining Balanced Motivation
Whatever your reason, essentially the pain of your current job hasbecome greater than the pleasure. Either your needs aren’t being met oryou’re not experiencing your values. Or both.

In situations like these, I often recommend following this simplephilosophy. If you don’t like something, change it. And if you can’tchange it right now, make peace with it until you find a time at whichyou can. For the second part, this means letting go of the anger,resentment and fear – reaching a point of acceptance. “I accept that,for now, this is the reality of my situation. And I will do my best tomake the best of it. Until I can change it.”

Once you have reached acceptance, you will find it easier to shiftfrom a place of demotivation to motivation in your current role. Hereare some other ways you can increase your motivation levels in a jobyou’re currently not enjoying:

1) Focus on the bigger picture

This is assuming you have identified your career goals and havecreated your ‘big picture’. (If you haven’t done this, I recommend youread the above mentioned articles, followed by my article “Be the CEO of Your Life and Achieve Your Goals” . Otherwise a career coach or life coach will be able to help you define these). 

Once you know your goal(s), and have envisioned your ‘big picture’ – think about all the ways your current role could help you achieve this. What new or existing skills could you develop that would move youcloser to your goals? What skills might help you to hit the groundrunning in your next role? What experience could you gain more of thatcould help you expand not only your technical skills but also your softskills (e.g. communication, negotiation, leadership, management, sales,networking, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills etc.). 
Write alist of criteria of all the things you will need for your next careermove, or your long term goal. Then look at how you can get the most outof your current role to catapult you to ever greater success furtherdown the line.
Also read: 10 Ways to Lead, Inspire and Motivate Your Team

2) Link and align your job to your values

I had a client who was feeling demotivated at work. After doing anexercise around his values, we discovered his two top values were‘achievement’ and ‘family’. It was no surprise he was feelingdemotivated being in a role where he didn’t feel he was achievinganything and working long hours.
To help him feel more motivated in his current role, until he found something else, we aligned his job to his values. Every month he had to perform a particular task that he hated twice a day. 

So we created asystem where he paid himself AED 10 ($3) every time he completed thistask. He put this in a jar on his desk so it was constantly in sight(locking it in a drawer overnight). At the end of every month, he wouldtake that money and put it towards a day out with his family. Payinghimself every time he completed that task gave him a sense ofachievement, and using that money to do something fun with the kidshelped to give the task meaning. This simple act of linking his jobresponsibilities to his values made a huge difference to how he feltabout and approached his job going forward.

3) Set your own goals and reward yourself!

This follows on from the point above. If you’re not getting therecognition you want or feel as if you’re not achieving anything – setyour own goals (daily, weekly or monthly) and reward yourself each timeyou achieve them. Be your own cheerleader! This can have an amazingimpact on your confidence, self-worth and sense of achievement.  Rewardyourself in any way you want. Buy yourself a new item of clothing or the latest gadget. Get a massage or go away for the weekend. And if moneyis a concern.

4) Delegate

Imagine how much more time you would have to focus on the thingsyou enjoy if you delegated! Or if you had someone to delegate to? Before I became a coach, I took a role as Admin Department Head to raise thecapital I needed to set up my business. It was a means to an end. Afterseveral discussions with my boss, who by all accounts was awesome, I was allowed to restructure and build my team. 
Of course I still had tocover my core responsibilities but building a team gave me more freedomto delegate. This allowed me to create one or two additionalresponsibilities for myself that would add further fulfillment to myrole. For example, I initiated and led several corporate socialresponsibility programs and introduced recycling into the office. Thishelped to keep me motivated in a job that wasn’t my dream job and just a stepping stone. (Which my boss had the intelligence to recognize,leading him to agree to my request in the first place.)
Also read: 10 Tips on How to Get Motivated as an Entrepreneur

5) Change the scope of your role

OK, so this will depend on how cool your boss is and how much freedom you have in your current role.

I had a client who, after becoming a parent, experienced a shift in values. Once a high-powered management consultant destined forpartnership with success as her number one value, after having a baby,family became more important. She didn’t want to leave managementconsultancy completely but she didn’t want to be working 12 hour dayseither. So we designed a role that would meet her values and at the same time add huge value to the company. We put together a proposal whichshe then presented to her boss. Her boss loved the idea. She’s nowworking 4 days a week finishing at 4:30pm every day while simultaneously making an impact at work. It was a win-win! How could you change thescope of your role so it could be a win-win for you and your company?

6) Spend time building relationships

Building relationships is not only great for your career but also your mind, body and soul. Internal networking could open doors you never knew existed – eithernow or in the future. Both in terms of your career prospects and sociallife. Plus, leave the company having made a great impression and notonly will you have a great reference, but you might also have a job forlife. You never know when you might need one.
Also read: 7 Ways To Motivate Your Team Without Money

7) Look for ways to have fun!

One way to help ease the pain of a bad job is to combat it withsome good old fashion fun! In my previous company, when month-end camearound, the poor finance team were expected to work well into the nightto get it done. This included weekends. And it wasn’t a fun job. Butthey tried to make it as fun as possible. They played music, took quickbreaks to tell jokes and laugh. They high fived each other when someonecompleted a task. They did whatever they could to create their own fun.Obviously making sure the quality of work remained to the highestpossible standard. How could you create some more fun in your currentjob?

8) Be grateful

Acceptance – letting go of anger, resentment and fear – can onlycome from a place of gratitude. Being grateful for having a job thatallows you to pay rent, have food on the table and clothes on your backis a good place to start. But don’t just think it – feel it. With yourheart, and every cell in your body. Be grateful for everything you havelearnt and are continuing to learn (maybe not about the job but aboutyourself?). 
Be grateful for all the people you have met, friends youhave made and mentors you might have had. Be grateful for all the skills you have developed that have added value to your career and will allowyou to thrive in your next role. Focus on the pleasure of your role andbeing grateful and notice how much easier it becomes to stay motivatedat work.

*Additional point – I would always strongly recommend you keep thechannels of communication open with your manager and employer. They arenot mind readers and if you’re feeling demotivated and want something to change, the only way that will happen is if you communicate yourconcerns. If after communication, plus the points mentioned above,nothing changes for you – then chances are it’s probably time to find anew job.

What did you think of this article? How do you keep yourself motivated? Please feel free to comment below.

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