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How to Use Workplace ‘Blues’ to Create a More Powerful Future

An interesting article on gogovernment.com lists the pros and cons of working in government and highlights the opportunities and challenges we can face as federal employees.

From the chance to make a difference to a revolving door of leadership, it’s a comprehensive list of items that speaks to our ability to grow and contribute in the public sector arena. There are great pros, surely. However, as the list points out, there are cons that can contribute to workplace “blues.”

These workplace blues can be anxiety, stress and just being “blah” about your work. This often occurs when we’re stuck in routine projects, tasks or what feels like endless days of meetings. It can also show up when there is a pause for new leadership to get its footing; we’re unsure of the organizational direction and what’s next, so why start something new?

If you’re someone who craves variety, growth and stimulation in your work, these “blue” periods can wreak havoc with your energy and motivation. But what if these periods were the fertile soil in which to plant the seeds for future success?

Here are three creative strategies designed to turn the blues into a more powerful and energized future.

Express yourself

Whether you’re comfortable with the pros or struggling with the cons, it’s enormously helpful to express any fears, hopes and desires you have for the future of your work in government. There are some creative ways to give your expression “airtime.”

  • Create a free blog and talk about it. You’ll help others who may face the same “blue” period, and that will help you feel good.
  • Create a vision board. You can purchase a sheet of poster board at a craft store and place pictures, words or symbols on it that reflect your thoughts and desires. Giving your thoughts freedom of expression is highly motivating and energizing.

Explore possibilities

What long-kept secret career desire do you have? Today, you may be doing what you’ve been trained or told to do based on the advice you received from your parents, friends, family, boss, etc.

  • Use this time to explore the possibilities of pursing that hidden desire within and see where it leads. This means talking with those who currently do what you want to do and asking for their secrets to success. Whenever I join a new organization, I find the senior people, schedule a 15-minute discussion with each of them and ask one question: “What does it take to be successful here?” Then, I simply listen and take notes. People love to talk about what they do, and you’ll learn so much from this approach.

Enlarge your network

One of the most overlooked steps you can take, when faced with a “pause” in the action, is to connect with others outside of your current organization or agency.

  • Use social networks, such as GovLoopLinkedIn, etc. to expand your network. These online networks are ripe for collaboration, job-hunting, expressing yourself, sharing tips and techniques, and just staying “connected.”
  • Offline networking will resume in our future! Many networking groups are formed based on common interests and desires, so keep your eyes peeled for their return. Networking opens the door to exploring undercover opportunities and creating valued connections for your career and life. Invest in you, by putting together an online and offline networking strategy and get ready to expand your personal rolodex.

By implementing even one of these strategies, you’ll make a valuable investment in “you” that serves your career in unimaginable ways. From sharing your hopes and desires, to staying open to opportunities not yet imagined, to creating a vast network that you can tap into for insights and connections, each can help you create the future that you want and banish the workplace “blues.”

Interested in becoming a Featured Contributor? Email topics you’re interested in covering for GovLoop to [email protected]. And to read more from our Spring 2021 Cohort, here is a full list of every Featured Contributor during this cohort.

Christine “Chris” Makell has worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for over four years, having held positions of increasing challenges and responsibility in that short time. She is currently a Program Analyst in the Knowledge Management & Transfer office. She joins federal service after a 28-year career in the private sector and six years as the owner of Chris Makell Consulting/Coaching working with individuals and sales teams to achieve greater success.

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Sanaa' Taylor

I enjoyed this article. It concisely shares three ways to rid oneself of the career blues. And having been on the receiving end of Chris’ “what does it take to be successful here” question and seen what she’s done with information only adds to the article’s believability.