In my earlier post “How Not To Be That Bitter, Old Person In The Corner Cubicle“, I linked bitterness with the mid-life crisis. The longer you’re in the work force, the more crap you encounter, the more jaded you’re likely to be. That’s not to say that I haven’t encountered bitter disillusioned young people of course!
Since I have a middle-aged perspective, I thought I would share more concrete ideas on what I’m doing to avoid this burnt-out attitude. I’m not 100% successful but being aware of this tendency is half the battle. A job has a huge impact on your finances so it’s worthwhile to invest some time into making the most of it.
1 ) Start An Interesting Project on your own
Recently, without my boss’s consent or encouragement, I put together a report that provided research stats, analysis and ideas for an upcoming major project. I know that my boss was impressed that I took the initiative. The verdict is still out whether this will give me the opportunity to lead the project but I know the contribution will be remembered and will be a factor during evaluations. More importantly, instead of browsing the web or emailing friends during downtime, I kept myself engaged as I researched and wrote up the report. I learned a lot in the process and that puts me in a good spot should we move forward.
The financial angle: I’m not patting myself on the back and saying I’m a star employee but this type of thinking can help anyone further their career and get a bigger raise.
2 ) Take Classes
I’ve been fortunate to have employers that encouraged and paid for additional training. I know that not everyone is so lucky. Even within the same organization, I’ve noticed that some bosses are more likely to pay for training than others and not all employees benefit equally. At my last job, I initiated the idea for taking professional training and was the only one who got it approved and paid for. Those classes kept me motivated and happier on a day-to-day basis until I was ready to quit.
Huge Savings: I took about 8 classes averaging $695 plus books and parking, which means a total savings of approximately $5,560 – $6,000.
3 ) Start Interesting Side Projects (like a blog!)
If you’re not able to develop skills on the job, you can still learn new skills on your own. It may be more costly without employer help but some things are free. You can start your own blog to improve your writing skills, volunteer to develop other worthwhile skills or take online classes for Excel, PowerPoint, Web Design and other essential skills.
Side Income? I’m not blogging for money but you never know if a writing/blogging opportunity may come up.
My basic mantra is that’s it’s important to always keep learning. The happiest retirees I know are the ones who are taking classes, traveling, or finding ways to keep mentally and physically active. Studies have shown that your senses come alive when you are thrown into new situations. This can mean anything from learning a language to trying new foods or even taking a stroll through unfamiliar neighborhoods.
I know that my advice won’t work for all fields or in all situations. If you can’t muster any enthusiasm for your job, it’s important to remember that a job doesn’t have to be your passion. This interesting article about loving your day offers even more perspective. Sometimes it’s good enough to just do your job well and call it a day!
Ha! I have a draft sitting in my blog box (is that a real thing?) linking the Laura Rowley article you cited and your post on How Not To Be That Bitter, Old Person In The Corner Cubicle.
Great minds, great minds.
Anyhoo–this (and the previous) piece is excellent. Great advice.
ConsciouslyFrugal – I hope you publish your post. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Excellent ideas. The day always goes by so much faster when you’re engaged in mindful work!
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I like it. Another trick I’ve used in the past is considering if I’d rather be employed elsewhere doing something different. If so, I look into what I’d need to do to find that work.
Sometimes I change jobs–usually that helps me break out of a rut.
Sometimes I realize I’m lucky to have the job I have–which also helps me out of the rut.
I have very little to do at work for about half the week. I’m trying to make work for myself and add value to the team, and act on my own initiative, but there is definitely a lot of time when I fall back on just surfing the net. That being said, I’m very glad to be employed at all right now…
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