Waking up in the morning has become a major effort. And instead of focusing on your work, all you do is watch the clock, waiting for time to pass so you can head home.

You have no idea why you feel the way you do, but your job is starting to seem like a joke. You remember when you used to love what you did, and work was not a four-letter word. Now you’re bored and uninspired.

For whatever reason, you don’t want to switch careers or resign to go to another company. Perhaps you have a fear of the unknown, or maybe you’re complacent. Or it could be that you just don’t want to learn new skills in order to move to another industry. But you know you need to get out of your job rut, and soon.

We asked professional certified coach Denise Pang and professional counsellor Cheng Chee Seng to share a three-step strategy to get over those feelings of dread; so you can start loving what you do again.

1. IDENTIFY WHAT YOU FEEL
Do you hate your job or do you hate what you are doing in your job? It’s important to make this distinction, advises Chee Seng.

He uses this example: Perhaps you chose to become a teacher because you love imparting knowledge to others.

After 12 years, you were promoted to vice-principal, and now, people management instead of teaching is your key performance indicator.

You don’t hate the teaching profession; you just hate having to manage staff now.

2. ASK WHERE THESE FEELINGS ARE FROM
How did you get to this point in your job? Ask yourself: Why am I working? What type of work best meets that purpose?

Denise believes that people start to dislike what they do because along the way, they’ve said “yes” to their superiors when they really wanted to say “no”.

When this happens often enough, she says: “They start to realise how misaligned they have become in relation to what they had initially chosen and what they are currently doing at work.”

She points out that “what you’re struggling with is the effort required to convince yourself to live with the status quo – when you’ve already made up your mind to do something about your job”.

3. TAKE ACTION
It’s important to take that first step to changing your situation. Otherwise it’ll become a downward spiral when feelings of haplessness and bitterness set in, says Chee Seng.

Denise adds that the restlessness you’re feeling is an incredibly powerful impetus for change. Allow yourself the freedom to explore all the changes you want to make with your current job situation. Identify the barriers to change (real and perceived, eg insecurity, capabilities, etc).

The real question is what outcome you want and what needs to happen for you to realise it. Whether you decide to stay in the same company or move to another, change is inevitable.

4. IF YOU CHOOSE TO STAY …
Keep a positive attitude. Chee Seng says that you should look away from the dreary work tasks and the difficult colleagues.

Make a list of the good, bad, changeable and unchangeable components in your job; concentrate on your contributions, professional growth and the good that you’re doing – even if they may appear insignificant or irrelevant. The point here is: You did it.

Stop blaming the system and others in it, and look within yourself. Introduce a little variety and excitement to your workspace, by way of new plants, colourful picture frames or even, a work wardrobe revamp.

If you still find your job unfulfilling and stifling, tell yourself that it’s just a job, and that you have a life outside of it. It might also help to take a break from work too, to recharge and refresh your spirit. Image: Corbis

Denise Pang is a professional certified coach from Terrific Mentors, a business, leadership, career and relationship mentoring company. Visit www.terrificmentors.com for more information on the coaching group.

Cheng Chee Seng is a professional counsellor from Life Transitions Pte Ltd. The counselling services company specialises in the management of life transitions. Located at 391B Orchard Road #23-01, Tower B, (S) 238874; Tel: 6832 8022, email: cheeseng@lifetransitions.com.sg. Go to www.lifetransitions.com.sg for more information on the services provided by Life Transitions.

This article was originally published in SimplyHer May 2011