January is one of the bleakest months of the year – the mornings are still dark as you leave for work and the sun disappears again over the horizon as early as 4pm, before you’ve even thought about shutting down your PC and heading home. What’s more, the Christmas festivities are over and there are months of gloomy winter days ahead.
No wonder that January is the time when many people are struck down by the winter blues, which can often have a negative impact on our working lives, leaving us feeling deflated, lacking in motivation and questioning whether we’re in the right job. It’s no surprise that around 42 per cent of British adults start looking for a new job in January, with the majority starting their search on the first Monday back in the office, according to research.
Is when we’re feeling de-motivated and lacking in energy really the best time to jump ship? Surely it’s wiser to wait until the spring when most of us are bound to have, well, more of spring in our step! The answer depends on whether you just need a little boost to get you back on track and out of the winter doldrums or whether you are genuinely unhappy in your current role. The question is: is it the job or is it you?
If you suspect it’s you, there are ways and means of regaining your motivation and putting some enthusiasm and direction back into your working life.
Start by speaking with your manager about how you can make changes to your job to make it more challenging and allow you to be more productive. Consider whether you can collaborate with different people or even transfer to a different team or department. You may be surprised about how open to ideas your employer can be, simply by having that discussion.
Next, get organised – there’s nothing more demoralising than a backlog of emails and an overflowing pile of work. Plan what you need to do and create a to-do list, then focus entirely on the task in hand. Don’t avoid jobs that don’t appeal – tackling that challenging or boring task and ticking it off your to-do list first will give you a sense of fulfilment to attack the rest.
Finally, learn to switch off. When you finish for the day, leave your work worries in the office.
If you’ve taken stock and can’t see any hope of improving your current role, then January may indeed be an ideal time to make the change. The New Year provides the perfect opportunity to re-assess your goals for the coming year. Decide what it is you want out of a new position and use your renewed focus to drive your job search. Don’t rule out a contract or interim role if you’re not sure what path you want to take, it could be the perfect opportunity to take that leap.
With employers renewing their recruitment budgets for 2014 and a more positive outlook for the economy as a whole, a new job for a new year could be the boost you need.
Jodie Finn, Venn Group