At the State Policy Network Annual Meeting earlier this month, I had the privilege of being on a panel that discussed why we lose our hustle, including lessons on resilience, strength, and creating a career that lasts. In case you missed it (which was a big mistake because we served Prosecco….and the panel started at 3!), I thought I would share some of the key take-aways with you here.
You start a new job bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, excited to wake up every day and git-r-done, right? But as time marches on, you may find yourself lacking the hustle you once had. So, what do you do? Well, first you need to understand why you lost your hustle in the first place. Then, you need to ask yourself whether there is anything you can do to turn the situation around and get your hustle back.
Below are three of the six most common reasons people tell me they have lost their hustle, along with thoughts on whether changing things is within their control. Next month we’ll cover the other three reasons and the big-picture take-aways about how to regain your hustle.
1. Lack of challenge or room for growth
It’s not uncommon for me to have calls that sound like this:
Bob: Claire, I want to look for a new job. I no longer feel challenged at work. I’ve hit a ceiling.
Claire: Sorry to hear this. What did your boss say when you told her how you feel?
Bob: [long pause] Uhhhh. I haven’t told her yet. I guess I should.
Turns out most people get frustrated about not feeling challenged but plum forget to open the lines of communication with their supervisors. So, I like to suggest that an employee proactively sets up a meeting with his/her supervisor to discuss the situation. But I also encourage the employee to come to the table with possible solutions — not just a complaint about the problem. Now, imagine this follow-up conversation:
Bob: Claire, I wanted to update you on my situation. I talked to my boss and suggested that I expand my responsibilities to include some of the items that were weighing her down. Turns out she was relieved to get those things off her plate. Now, she’s happy because she’s less stressed out and I’m happy because I feel challenged again.
Claire: Boom goes the dynamite!
Now, things may not turn out so rosy, but it’s a good thing to try before heading out the door. And if there truly isn’t room for growth at your current organization, maybe it is time to find your hustle elsewhere.
2. Feeling inadequately rewarded
Now, picture this conversation:
Bob: Claire, I’m getting underpaid and want to consider other opportunities.
Claire: Bob, that’s unfortunate. What did your boss say when you approached her about this?
Bob: [long pause] Uhhhh. I haven’t brought this up with her. I guess I should.
Once again, it’s wise to engage in a dialog with your boss before jumping ship. But don’t just walk in the bossman’s office with your complaint. Come armed with the following: a list of ways you have added significant value to the organization, including specific things you’ve done to exceed expectations; empirical evidence of comparable salaries; and your new desired salary.
The follow-up call often goes like this:
Bob: Claire, thanks for the advice! I talked to my boss last week and got the raise I wanted! I’m back in hustle mode, baby!
Claire: Wonderful! You owe me a beer!
I’m a sucker for happy endings, but it doesn’t always end up this way. If a heart-to-heart conversation with your boss doesn’t lead to your desired outcome, you may want to look for an organization that financially rewards you for your performance. And Talent Market is happy to help you find a new home!
3. Geographic mobility
The phone rings. It’s you-know-who again.
Bob: Claire, I want to move back to my home state. So, I’m on the market.
Claire: Good to know. Your boss said working remotely isn’t an option?
Bob: [long pause] Uhhhh. I didn’t ask that yet.
You’d think Bob would pick up on the trend by now, huh? Before updating your resume (and long before packing up the U-haul), have a conversation with your boss about whether working remotely might be an option. If you are self-motivated and have a job that doesn’t require being in the office every day, it’s quite possible you can take your work with you. If your boss is skeptical about remote work, offer to engage in a six month trial period to prove to him that you can create value outside a standard office. And if he says “no”? Reach out to Talent Market!
…..TO BE CONTINUED
Next month we’ll cover the other three common reasons employees lose their hustle and what can be done about them. Hint: think organizational dysfunction, burnout, and irreconcilable differences! Don’t miss it!