There’s a trajectory which new jobs follow which is best visualized through the hype cycle:
- The trigger: the part where you decide to start looking for a new job, or agree to interview for a new job
- Peak of inflated expectations: you accept the new job, firmly convinced that it will be the best, most amazing experience of your professional life to date
- Trough of disillusionment: interest starts to wane as you realize, to varying levels of dejection, that a job is a job, and nothing is 100% perfect
- Slope of enlightenment: you know the systems and your coworkers, and how to make the best of every situation
- Plateau of productivity: smooth sailing
But it’s not easy to move out of that trough of disillusionment. It’s likely that eventually you’ll adapt to a better place and move through the cycle to the final ‘plateau of productivity’...but how do you get back to those euphoric first days?
Well, to be honest, it’s unlikely anything can make you return to that level of optimism (mostly because ignorance is bliss, right?), but there are some things you can do to bring back the enthusiasm. Just remember that you are your best teacher; if it’s really not a great position for you, you’ll know when it’s time to restart the cycle and pull the trigger on the job search.
1. Remind yourself why you wanted to take this job
Something made you want to take the leap and become *the new person* in a new place. What was it? Uncovering your motivations and early expectations can help put things back into perspective. Is the job really different from what you expected, or is the grass just perpetually greener on the other side?
2. Increase your involvement
If the problem is that you aren’t being challenged in the role, talk to your boss. Most companies invest heavily in the search and hiring process, and are extremely invested in retention and maintaining a happy workforce--particularly for those who *want* to do more and be challenged--so it’s in their best interest not to lose you. Ask for more responsibility, or the chance to be involved in cross-functional teams to increase your knowledge of the organization. You’ll be reinvigorated and show your boss that you’re interested in growing with the company.
3. Change your routine
Eating a homemade lunch at your desk every day is enough to push anyone into depression. Even if you find comfort in routine and prefer not to socialize daily, just a tiny push out of your comfort zone can be enough to start shaking up your experience.
4. Confront negativity--and gratitude--head on
We are all our own worst enemies. Occasional critical thoughts can easily enter the psyche and play on repeat, especially when your day consists of sitting at a desk with no breaks or changes in routine. It’s important to identify when you’re being unduly harsh on yourself, and flip the switch from OWE to OBF (own best friend). Start by giving yourself credit for jobs well done. Instead of replaying criticism, replay pats on the back. Confidence will increase, as will productivity, when you stop second-guessing yourself.
Starting to implement these four changes should inspire some sort of internal movement. Whether they help you regain your early enthusiasm and love for your job, or prove that you need a new role, you can know with confidence that you’re making the right decision for yourself.