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Published on March 12, 2019

How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

If you’ve ever read into the stories of most famous entrepreneurs or talented business people, you’ll find that quite a few of them share a common trait:

They were very unfulfilled at work and they needed to make a change so that they could position themselves towards a career path they were passionate about.

For some, it was more than possible to quit their jobs immediately and make the switch towards building their business or finding a job that worked better for them. However, not everyone has the financial stability that is required to do that and you may still need to work in your current job in order to be able to pay for your living expenses while you continue or start your education, build a side hustle, or work your way up in a different industry.

Regardless of what your future career goals may be, it can be difficult to stay motivated and present in your current job when you know that it is not what you want to be doing.

Are you having trouble gritting your teeth and getting the job that you have at the moment? If you are, here are some tips that will help you to find work motivation when you are unfulfilled:

1. Keep Your Mind on Your Purpose

The best way to stay motivated at work is to be super clear about why you do what you do — your purpose.

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If you aren’t sure your true purpose to work, you’re not alone. This article can help you figure this out:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Even if you think making money is the reason why you’re doing the job, you should think deeper and ask yourself why.

Why is making more money so important to you? Is it because of the family that you’re supporting? Or is it because you’re trying to make more money to build up your own business?

Find out the root of what you truly want and this purpose will become your drive to work.

2. Find the Positives in Your Role

No matter what your profession is, there are always positives to the job that you have. Whether it’s being to help others by building value in their business or simply being able to interact with intelligent people, you are guaranteed to find something that you like about your job.

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I would like for you to sit down and write down 3 things that you enjoy about your job right now. If you can think of more, amazing! If you can only think about three or even have trouble getting to that number, that’s perfectly fine.

Once you’ve finished creating your list, I want you to take that list with you when you go to work and put it in a place where you will be able to look at it frequently. When you feel unmotivated or unsatisfied, look back at this list of things that you enjoy about your role and focus on those things while you are working.

When you can highlight the positives of what you are doing, you can better focus on providing value in your position, even if you are not completely happy doing it.[1]

3. Focus on Your Goals and How Your Work Is Helping You to Reach Them

If you’re feeling unfulfilled at your job, you have hopefully found your next position and created a road map of how you are going to get there. Besides helping you to make your next move, these goals and plans serve another purpose: to keep you motivated at your current job by reminding you that it is serving your overall goal.

Ultimately, your current position is simply a placeholder and a way for you to maintain steady income while you plan your exit. If need be, keep a list of these goals or a reminder of your current job’s purpose nearby so that you are always reminded that, while it is not wanted at the moment, this job is more than necessary.

You could also provide further motivation with this tactic by keeping a calendar that counts the days until you plan to leave so that you are reminded to continue working hard until you are ready to leave this current role behind.

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Have trouble setting or achieving goals? This guide can help you:

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

4. Build Momentum by Achieving Success With Small Tasks

Think back to the last time you achieved something in your current position. It felt good, right?

No matter how out of love you are with your job, achieving success is still something that provides excitement when you are performing work-related tasks and being recognized and commended for them.

When one feels unfulfilled at their role, it is very unlikely that they are focused on being successful and achieving a lot at work. Unfortunately, this desire to do your work well can wane if you lose sight of providing value.

To get back into the swing of things, build your momentum by achieving small, simple tasks. When you see that you are more than capable of being successful in your workplace, that hunger for achievement will grow and you will be able to accomplish more difficult tasks with ease and with the desire to do so.

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Success breeds the desire for more success and if you are finding that you are having trouble motivating yourself in a job that isn’t your favorite, this is a great way to get back on track for the time being.

You can find out more about how to build momentum here:

How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

5. Keep Your Overall Emotional Quality High

Even if you were working a job that you enjoyed, you can’t perform well if your emotional quality isn’t in good shape. Whether you are too tired, not having enough fun in your personal life, or dealing with hardships inside or outside of the workplace, it negatively impacts all aspects of your job.

Before going to work and even during the course of your day, try your best to keep your emotional quality high. Whether it is putting yourself around co-workers that you love or helping them out, taking micro-breaks to recover from hard work and recharge, or by talking to a friend, a little bit of self-care goes a long way. If you’re happy, you’ll perform well. It’s as simple as that![2]

The Bottom Line

While you won’t always be in love with your job, you can always find the motivation necessary to power through the tasks associated with your role.

If you have felt unfulfilled in your current position and are having trouble finding that motivation, use the five tips above to help you cultivate this work motivation in order to achieve more and push through poor performance.

More Resources About Motivation

Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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