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Unmotivated at work? 5 surefire ways to reignite the spark

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Quit! That’s the easy and most common solution for employees caught in a dead-end job. But as reality sinks in, quitting is not always the answer for an unhappy employee. Very few of us are willing to take a blind plunge without a definite alternative, such as another job or self-employment.

A 2013 Deloitte study reveals that nearly one-third of employees surveyed worldwide were unsatisfied with their jobs. However, a whopping 80% of all workers surveyed planned to stay with their current employer.

One assumes that most of these discontent employees started their careers on a high, hoping to rise through the ranks, do something that they really love, or at least make loads of money.

With time, these unmet expectations can lead to dissatisfaction and disorientation. You may be in the same boat. But before you hand in your resignation letter, try these surefire tips to jumpstart your workplace zeal and recover your initial spark.

1. Identify the problem.

If you don’t know what the problem is, it’s unlikely you will solve it. Contrary to popular opinion, pay is usually not the main reason why employees become dissatisfied with their current employer.

If you don’t know what the problem is, it’s unlikely you will solve it. Contrary to popular opinion, pay is usually not the main reason why employees become dissatisfied with their current employer.

Makena Ringera of JobsMentor, a Nairobi-based HR consultancy, says employees who feel unappreciated or find it difficult to fit within the organization’s culture are more likely to jump ship.

“Lack of motivation can also occur when one has stopped learning or feels the role is not challenging anymore. Some people enjoy building mastery of one area by doing the same thing over and over. Others do not,” Ringera says.

Other factors that can drive you up the wall at the workplace include: a deteriorating relationship with coworkers or your boss, a corporate culture that conflicts with your values, and a feeling of insignificance in the overall structure of the organization.

It helps to create a list of what you don’t like about your job, then number the items in order of importance. By identifying those things that bother you the most, you’ve completed a critical first step in reviving your career interest. Read on to find solutions to some of the most common causes of burnout.

2. Learn something new.

You probably don’t want to hear about assignments, projects, and lectures at this point in your life, but learning, especially in the professional world, extends beyond the four-walled classroom. Yes, you can go back for that master’s degree if you are sure that is what you want, but you can also learn a lot from a career mentor.

Sheila Cheptoo, a recruitment officer with Corporate Staffing Services, says taking up a professional course or engaging a mentor will help you expand your horizons and might open your mind to new possibilities. You can also sign up for free online courses to learn about everything from public speaking to decision-making skills.

Maybe you are thinking of taking a life tangent by diving into a totally different career. Join a professional club, volunteer with an organization in the industry, and subscribe to blogs in the field. Learn everything you possibly can about your new interest. If it’s a good fit, there’s no time like the present to make a move.

3. Consider your hobbies.

If waking up on Monday to go to work feels like a court summons, then it’s definitely time to ask yourself what you’d rather be doing. What makes your heart race? What is that one thing you love doing after 5 p.m. or over the weekends?

Focusing on your hobby and how it adds value to your life can help you understand what motivates you. If you are passionate about working with kids, volunteer your weekends at your local children’s home.

You can even spend your off hours exploring areas in the company that excite you. Interested in marketing and sales? Ask about arranging an after-hours visit to the marketing department or the business development segment. At the very least, you will get practical knowledge from your coworkers. You may even finagle a lateral move into a role that you enjoy.

Whatever it takes, pursue the things that make you want to get up in the morning. That’s where your true passion and best work lie.

4. Take on extra projects.

You have mastered everything there is to know about your role. In fact, you are usually done with work by midday. Instead of spending the rest of the day on the Internet and social media, challenge yourself by taking up more demanding tasks.

This requires you to be innovative and to think outside your comfort zone, but you’ll enhance your skillset and demonstrate your initiative to your employer. Discuss your ideas for adding value or improving efficiency in the organization with your supervisor. Be sure to emphasize that the extra duties won’t affect your performance of your current role.

5. Take a vacation.

If none of the above help, you may simply be experiencing burnout — the result of working back-to-back days for months on end. Your enthusiasm has been replaced by loath, and your energy has been drained. Cheptoo suggests that your body might be shouting “rest!”.

Despite what you may think, taking the occasional holiday doesn’t mean you’re slacking off. In fact, it can reinvigorate you. Plus, stepping outside the workplace for a few days will allow you to reflect on whether you’re really finished with your job or if you simply needed a breather.

Want more career advice? Visit us at Akilah Net or on Facebook. Better yet, subscribe to our newsletter and receive our best job openings, news, and resources right in your inbox

By Ken Macharia

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