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What to do when you’ve lost interest at work

Source | LinkedIn | Dr. Steven Berglas | Consigliere, SQN Investors; Marshall Goldsmith #MG100 Coaches

I was recently invited to participate in LinkedIn’s #YouAsked feature, where LinkedIn editors invite experts to answer members’ career questions. Here’s this week’s question:

“I am a nonprofit director working with volunteers and all of the administrative aspects of keeping our organization compliant and motivated. I love my job but find myself unmotivated and just blah. Should I look for a totally new job or how can I reorganize this one to make things new again?” — Traci P., Gadsen, Ala.

Here’s my answer:

Dear Traci:

You say you are unmotivated and “just blah.” I’ve got a factoid for you: According to a recent survey by Gallup titled State of the American Workplace, a mere 33% percent of workers in the U.S. report feeling “engaged”—i.e., committed—to what they are doing professionally. The rest? Either not engaged (51%) or actively disengaged (16%). In other words, well over half of the U.S. workforce feels as you do.

I’ve never found solace in taking a “misery loves company” approach to life, and the nature of your question suggests that although you may feel relief knowing you’re not alone, you’ll feel little more than that. To address your “what can I do?” concerns, let me give you two possible tactics you can pursue:

You direct a nonprofit agency; this suggests that the cause of this agency is meaningful to you. If I am correct, the best antidote to the ennui, malaise, and incipient burnout you feel is, paradoxically, to engage in more activities designed to ameliorate or eliminate the “target cause” of your agency. It sounds crazy, right? “I’m blah, so I should work more?” Not more as you have done in the past, but more in ways that are completely different than the “same old, same old” that caused your malaise in the first place. Contemplate how your dominant focus can be expanded; how your target audience can benefit if you design novel, selective interventions, not in your use today. This contemplative activity alone—long before implementation—benefits you because you challenge yourself. You aim at a new target and in so doing amp-up your motivation to succeed. As you tap into your creative juices you (almost) instantly “cure” the malaise that has caused your blahs.

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