Spring-cleaning isn't just for the house. Careers can use a good scrubbing down every now and then. They can be refreshed, spruced up and put back in order. It's not that you want to change careers. Or even find a new job. You like the job. You like the company. You're just burned out and need a little revitalization. But how?
"If you're not feeling fulfilled where you are, if you feel like you need to re-energize yourself, take time to reassess," says Elizabeth Stahl, with E.J. Stahl and Associates, an Indianapolis business-consulting firm that focuses on work-force strategies. "Take a look at your skills. Now discover your strengths." Once you do that, you not only will know what you have to offer, but what you lack -- or could stand to improve.
Now move forward and try these five ways to refresh your career.
Tell The Boss
No. You won't get demoted. It likely isn't going to hurt your professional reputation to let the boss know you need a bit of refreshing. Most managers don't want to lose their high performers and are more than happy to accommodate. The key, however, is not to go in whining. Before you approach the boss, look around the organization at projects or committees you could get involved with that might put you outside of your comfort zone. That way, you'll have more to say than just, "I'm burned out."
"Go in prepared with your own ideas," says Stahl. "Don't expect the boss to have the epiphany for you."
Look inside the company
If you haven't looked, you may not realize all the opportunities that abound right inside your company's doors. Perhaps a diversity committee is getting started. Ask to serve on it. Maybe the company needs someone to organize this summer's picnic. If you want to go more extreme, Gary Daugenti, president of JustSTAFF, an executive search firm in Los Altos, Calif., suggests looking for a related job in the company. "Move from manufacturing to distribution or from finance to intelligence," he says. Or go for an overseas assignment that takes you away for a few months.
Make a commitment to broaden and update your skills through external seminars, taking a night class, even working on a master of business administration degree. Seminars not only expose you to the most up-to-date practices in your industry but also allow for a lot of networking, says Mark McNulty, president of HR Dimensions in Indianapolis and the Career Partners International – Indianapolis firm. Taking a night class in business or management -- or even something like sign language -- gives you a chance to put your toe in the water. "It's a good chance to explore something without taking the big leap," says Stahl.Volunteer away from the office.
Nonprofits are desperate for professionals with business knowledge to serve on boards, work on committees and do odd jobs for their organizations. "You can be rejuvenated by doing a volunteer project," says Stahl.
Offer to help with fundraising for the local symphony
Volunteer to organize the bake sale at your child's school. Do budget management at your church. Become a board member of a museum. "Sometimes when we get outside of ourselves and focus on others and their needs, we gain new insights into our own lives and careers," says McNulty.
Establish and commit to a business reading list, says McNulty. This can take the form of a list of business books that you commit to read in the next year. To stay on top of that, consider doing a brief book review to send to peers, subordinates and senior managers. They will appreciate the recommendation or insights on the books, and it also says something about you. "This sends all the right messages about your initiative and identifies you as a thought leader," he says. He also suggests subscribing to different business periodicals.
Source: Indianapolis Star