Career · Life Coaching · Musings

When the job doesn’t spark joy anymore

When something doesn’t spark joy anymore, it is easy to say “get rid of it” a la Marie Kondo; however, if it is something that pays the bills, brings food to the table, it is a bit complicated to just throw it away.

I have been working in my 8-hour job for about 9 years now which is not an effortless feat to keep particularly in the BPO industry. It’s funny that I’ve been counting days to me leaving since I got hired in 2010 (which my friends can attest to) but still, here I am. I’ve been in a relationship with the same company much longer than the romantic relationships I’ve had.

For someone as fickle-minded and spontaneous as I am, it’s hard to believe I’ve stayed this long. I easily get bored and God knows how much I push myself every time to endure another day, month or year of work. If you are decided to keep a good job, here are my two cents.

There are two types of motivation which I’ve been struggling to balance for 9 years – Extrinsic and Intrinsic. While I know Juno, my son, is my reason for jumping out of bed every morning, there’s still a constant debate between my heart and mind especially for a single mother like me who needs to put in twice the effort to find the means and at the same time provide the love and warmth my child needs. Given this situation, it is quite a no-brainer why I need to keep employed. The extrinsic motivations are too strong:

> Money. Not much to say here, don’t you think? We all have bills and basic needs to spend on, not to mention tuition fees and all parental obligations. And if the job covers them and more, why not stay, right?

> Travel. I make it a point to travel to a new place at least once a year, and I’m lucky to be able to spare extra for this (let’s leave financial management on another post, shall we?) Travel keeps my sanity and my hunger for learning new things. Moreover, I want to be able to teach Juno more than what the school provides. Thinking about where to go next keeps me excited to go to work and wait for payday.

> Retail therapy. Ugh, the ladies (and gents!) can agree with me here. For some, anything new just relieves stress.

> All the other good things that are tangible.

Oftentimes, however, the monetary awards are just not enough especially for those who are going through quarter (or mid) life crisis or have been doing an ongoing existential analysis. According to Daniel Pink, “human motivation is largely intrinsic”. When I am no longer driven by the extrinsic factors, I resort most of the time, if not all, to these aspects:

> Autonomy. I am someone who values my freedom, and I ensure that I produce numbers and results so as not to compel my boss to impose micro-management which I am sure would stifle my productivity in the long run. I assess whether I am given control on what and how I do things and if I am given the opportunity to be creative. I guess I am, hence the 9-years stay. When I feel that I am not, I try to seize opportunities. I am thankful that during my stay in the same company, I was given privileges to practice my skills as a writer, a fashion designer, a musician, etc.

> Mastery. While I love staying in my comfort zone, I am someone who doesn’t like my brain to go stagnant as much as possible. I am beguiled with new learnings and discoveries, and I see to it that I get to be certified on a practice or be trained well on a project every year. If I have exhausted company offerings, or the available ones do not entice me, I look elsewhere. Last year, I got certified for Art Therapy Life Coaching outside work which I can still find helpful in my role.

> Purpose. I guess all of us wants to feel that we are part of something. No matter how we think we are better off alone sometimes, there is that but a tiny part of us that finds it important to know that what we do is of value – may it be for customers or colleagues, friends or family. As for me, I find it fulfilling that I get to share a part of me to my learners, and seeing them grow in the company is my testimony.

So when the job doesn’t spark joy anymore, I’d say try evaluating the why’s and what your extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are. A couple of times I longed for the things I have now, thinking that everything is just wishful thinking. But dreams do come true if you want them hard enough, and I owe it to this company for rewarding my efforts and for serving as my home for 9 glorious years. I might stay for another year, I may not, who knows. My heart may take me to another place in the next days or so, but I’m proud to say that I have given it my all.

When all else fails and you still find yourself caught in this dilemma, pray and ask for guidance. I hope you remain positive and proactive.

Stay loved and blessed!

10 thoughts on “When the job doesn’t spark joy anymore

  1. I can totally relate to this. Money may not be the most important thing in my life, but it makes the most important people in my life happy. We sometimes take our job for granted (guilty as charge). But what is important is we appreciate the blessings God gives us everyday. Love you Mars!


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