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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Job

Just like your relationship with a significant other, your relationship with your job is bound to hit some snags, and it’s up to you to determine whether you’re truly happy. I love my job is something many people say when they’re asked about what they do for a living. However, if you find it’s something you say reflexively, you may be avoiding your true feelings. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself why you fell in love with your job in the first place. Or even if you ever loved it. And unfortunately, sometimes, you just have to accept that it’s not working out. After all, you can’t force yourself to love your job any more than you can force yourself to love someone who doesn’t make you happy.

Whether you need to spice things up or put yourself back on the market – the job market, that is – we’ve got some tips to help you follow your heart.

Putting the spark back into your job

Hey, it happens: after a while, you get comfortable, complacent. And then one day, you’re reminiscing about how new and exciting things used to be. When did it all change? In spite of everything, it’s not that you don’t love your job – in fact, it’s hard to imagine life without it. You just want to recapture the magic that made it all worthwhile. Try the following to see if you can breathe new life into your job:

  • Take a break

    While this may not be the answer in a real relationship, it’s just what the doctor ordered when it comes to your job. When was the last time you took a few days off to relax, not think about work, and pamper yourself? Make a point of it, and then make a habit of it. Your vacation time is there for you to use, and some organizations will only let you carry over so much of it, if any. Chances are, you’ll return to work rejuvenated. You know what they say: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  • Experiment a little

    Maybe you and your job are in a rut because things have become too routine. Try adding something new to the mix. If you have the bandwidth, ask to take on some new responsibilities and learn new skills. Who knows – you could discover some exciting aspects about your organization that you never knew before, which could lead to new, adventurous opportunities right where you already hang your hat.

When the love is gone, it’s time to move on

Okay, so you’ve gone on vacation, you’ve tried exploring new avenues, but now you’re sure it’s over. Maybe it was obvious a long time ago, but it’s hard to break old habits. First thing’s first: be honest. It may sting at first, but it’s best in the long run. That said, when you break up with your job, you still have to deal with it every day – at least until you find a new one. Hastily quitting without having something else lined up is not the wisest move. After all, your job pays the bills. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t take part in some harmless flirting – or even a lot more. Try the following:

  • Start a passionate affair

    Whether you’re a wannabe professional photographer or an in-the-closet accountant, it’s time to take that passion and party with it after work, on weekends – or both. Sign up for classes, join clubs, or just make the time you need to learn more about and do more of the things you like. By keeping your day job but indulging in your interests after hours, you may come across new job opportunities that are more your speed.

  • See what clicks online

    Even if you have limited time for after-work activities, you can always explore the internet for interesting people and organizations from the comfort of your own home. Visit job boards and recruiting agencies. Set up regular email alerts, update your resume, and apply, apply, apply. And remember to take advantage of social media, too. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great ways to get out there and connect with employers looking for experienced workers just like you. Just remember – don’t let your coworkers know you have a wandering eye; never job search at work.

Almost everyone questions how happy their job makes them from time to time, so don’t jump to conclusions as soon as you hit a dry spell. Take a breather, do some professional soul searching, and then decide if your job’s a keeper or not. And remember: you’re someone with options.

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