Your Professional Honeymoon Is Over: Now What?

The job that was so exciting when you got it is boring you now. A year ago, you would have joined the crowd of employees leaving their employers during the Great Resignation. Now you hesitate. What if media accounts of the impending recession lead to the disappearance of every shiny new job you accept within months if you’re laid off, like “last in, first out”?

Maybe you need to retreat and revive a more secure job, even if it has become stale. But can you? Or will you have as much success as when you pour water over dehydrated food on a camping trip, and it still doesn’t taste fresh?

If you are caught in this impasse, what happened to you is predictable and you can fix it.

The New Labor Honeymoon

When we land a job, our new supervisor and co-workers welcome us on board – they need us and we know they chose us over the competition. There’s a lot to learn and our new employer, eager to attract and retain employees, offers innovative benefits. Because our motivation is high, our new supervisor and co-workers compliment us regularly, which contrasts sharply with our former supervisor, who spoke to us only irregularly.

Reality sets in

After months on any job, reality sets in and what was new becomes routine. Our supervisor talks to us less because he considers us fully oriented and he moves on to other priorities. The quirks of our colleagues surface. Encounters that seemed intriguing to us because we had so much to learn bore us now. Senior management who had initially told us that they welcomed our ideas did not act on them. Our new work is losing its luster.

When this happens, try the following:

Focus on what is right

When we focus on moving forward, we can become so focused on the next step that we forget the steps we’ve taken. If you feel the walls of your work are closing in on you, broaden your perspective. Take a moment and realize what’s right about your current job, your co-workers, and your supervisor, and what you’ve accomplished both when you landed that job and since you started it. If your employer has a higher goal, whether it’s becoming the best in the industry or fulfilling a mission to help others, know that you’re part of it.

Improve your game

Have you recycled discontent in your mind or waited for your manager to offer you new projects? It may be time for you to get proactive and talk with your supervisor about assignments that both help your employer and expand your skills.

You’re bored ? Maybe it’s you who needs to up your game. Are you doing things the way you always have? Are there any new skills you need to learn? Do you need to develop new relationships within your current employer or find other ways to become more visible and decisive? Proactive action eliminates boredom and increases your business potential both within your employer and outside it.

Deepen your connections

When you develop positive relationships at work, it makes every day more fun. Are you someone who waits for others to reach out to you or who eats the treats in the break room but never brings any? Do you share your expertise or, when others reflect on how you act, would they say that you are ambitious, but only concerned about yourself? What changes do you need to make to bring positive energy your way?

If you don’t act or ask, you don’t get

Is there a business priority that you need to align with and support, or have you found yourself at an impasse acting with narrow vision? Have you tracked pay trends and increased the responsibilities you’ve taken on, so you can ask for a raise?

Employer solutions

It’s not all up to you. Savvy managers realize that employee morale and productivity can plummet when a new employee’s initial romance with their job or company fades. Managers can keep the honeymoon alive by partnering with their employees for free. If you’re a manager and you’re noticing a slowdown in your employees’ engagement, start asking questions, such as “What was the highlight of work this month?” “What was a lowlight?” “Are there any projects you would like to be involved in? “What do you think of our individual meetings? How would you like to improve them? If you want even more of these questions, check out pages 112-113 of “Managing for Accountability”.

Is your professional honeymoon over? Like any other romance, it may be up to you to sort it out.

Lynne Curry writes a weekly column on workplace issues. She is the author of “Managing for Accountability”, “Beating the Workplace Bully”, “Solutions” and www.workplacecoachblog.com. Curry is president of Communication Works Inc. Send your questions to him at workcoachblog.com/ask-a-coach or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.

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