Feeling flat? Looking for something different don't know where to start?
It's tricky finding that 'dream job' when you're feeling flat hey.
Here are a few small, easy, achievable actions to get your momentum into place and to help build your confidence so when you do meet a prospective dream employer or client: you've got the mojo to boot:
GET THE FACTS: WHAT IS ACTUALLY OUT THERE?
I often advise people feeling flat to make an appointment with a recruiter to get the facts on what else is out there, what the market rate is and where their experience could be placed. This doesn’t mean you want to leave your job necessarily, or that you have to be completely ready or clear on what you want next - we feel empowered when we have options and facts. Recruiters are great because they don't mince words: they can give you a real scope on what's out there and what the going rates are.
If you're having a tough time at work (not so great work culture, boredom), you can speak to a recruiter in confidence and ask: is this normal? Do I have to put up with this? If you're not keen on chatting to a recruiter, the first step is to reach out to a friend who has perspective and ask what they'd do in your situation.
It’s recruiters job to ‘sell you’ to their client, and your friends job to help you slay, so you can be refreshingly honest with them and tell them you’re looking for somewhere new, even if you don’t know what that looks like. A helpful way to look at it is 'I've got all this accumulative experience: how would you market my skills?'
THINK + TALK ABOUT YOUR SITUATION POSITIVELY
Redundancy or feeling flat in your job can be really mojo sucking. There's a time and place for a sulk and a binge - but getting on with seeing it as a positive thing is legit the quickest way to attracting badass opportunities. People can’t evangelise about your awesomeness if you’re a drag to be around.
Figure out a way of talking about your situation positively so people can imagine introducing you to their boss or colleague for a coffee.
I encourage people to talk less about what doesn’t inspire them and talk more about what they want to do more of in future. Eg ‘I used to be in Project Management but truth be told, what really lights me up is the idea of doing something new with my PM skills in a sector that’s more my vibe’.
It sounds naff, but going to networking events is an awesome way of trying on what a new ‘career’ might feel like. It doesn’t matter if the subject isn’t your jam: it’s about getting that human interaction in and practicing the art of thinking of others instead of yourself all the dang time. It makes you feel less alone and a part of society. When you talk to someone at an event and tell them you’re taking time out, or a ‘career break’ after a redundancy or looking for something new, their response is usually ‘that’s so refreshing!’.
Your body language and tone of voice will exude interest: trust me. Every convo is an audition for a potential job, remember, even if it is with your well meaning loved one or buddies over brunch.
TAKE mental TIME OUT WITHOUT ISOLATING YOURSELF
Sometimes we can feel flat in our job because we've had a massive year, or just need a freaking break from the boredom.
If you're feeling flat because you've come from a shitty work environment, considering a side, or even a down step to get your confidence is an ace move. I've temped (contracted) in events agencies to get out of my normal 9-5 when the culture wasn't great and I got my confidence back with a team of fun people while getting paid as a contractor (again - recruiters can help you here).
If you're currently funemployed, leaving the house is your #1 priority every day to get that dose of reality (also it forces you to have a shower). After my redundancy, I started to feel depressed at home thinking ‘I’m not employable’. It was super helpful to create some fake deadlines like ‘today I have to get some milk, grab a coffee and say hello to another human’. It got me showered, dressed and by the time I got out the door, I remembered there was another world out there.
If your ego, or mortgage repayments are freaking you out about potentially leaving your job, ask yourself how much it actually takes to run You, Inc. How much would you need to cover costs for say, three months, while you give yourself the headspace to land (and present with confidence) a job that is more your flavour?
HOW CAN I GET NEW SKILLS IN MY CURRENT ROLE?
If your work culture is ace, but the work isn't stretching you, guess what: it's your job to tell your manager and their job to help you. If they're responsive, outline what skills you'd like to flex more regularly and outline how those skills would benefit the company. Then ask: what scope is there for me to do more of this?
A fun trick I learned from Radical Candor is to map out three dreams and then outline below the skills you need to obtain those dreams. For example you might have a dream to become a veggie patch farmer, a yoga instructor or a dream to run your own company. What skills do you need to fill to get there? How could you obtain those skills on your current salary without the risk?
Talk more about what you want to do more of (it's ok if you don't know what that is).
Do a Happiness Concierge Skills Audit which outlines your skills flexed at each job. Avoid talking about how a job made you feel, and talk more about the skills you demonstrated. Ask people to connect you to someone who’d be open to having a coffee with you. Momentum is badass.
Studies tell us we feel less miserable when we think about ourselves less. Connect with anyone to get yourself practicing focussing on other people more than yourself. Having down time is awesome because you suddenly have time to go and ask those people who have careers you admire for a coffee. Ask them (find them on LinkedIn, ask around) how they got to where they are now and what is one piece of advice they’d give you. If they’re busy, ask for a 15 minute phone call.
If you're feeling flat, exhausted, your brain could be well full. This is where the basics of active / vs / passive recovery come to play. Passive recovery is chilling activities like Netflix bingers, tim tams in bed and Uber Eats - short term feeling awesome activities. Active recovery are gentle ways of using your brain and filling your tank back up with mojo again - long term feeling awesome again. These include leaving the house, going for a walk, exercise, reading a book that interests you, doing small errands that don’t use up much of your brain like shopping, going to the art gallery, prancing around your bedroom to Beyonce. You want to fill your brain with gentle stuff that makes you feel good and moves your body.
The best thing you can do about feeling flat is talk about it, chat to a friend, and if you’re more of a private person, write it down to get it out of your head. You’d be surprised how much better you can feel after vocalising what’s going on in your badass brain to someone else: we’ve all been through it!
Header image by Camille Santiago.