A common theme I’ve found speaking to people over the last few months is that there is no such thing as a perfect job. While this may seem like common sense, it’s still a notion that people bring up when looking for the next step in their career; the illustrious “Perfect Job”. In reality, all jobs will have tasks that aren’t the most enjoyable, weeks that aren’t as exciting as other weeks, and that it’s normal to feel like you are in a slump or a rut every now and again.

This transcends career stage and is the same for graduates as it is for well experienced workers. Not too long ago, my boss explained that graduates for example, will typically follow a similar trend in their first role out of university which looks something like this:

The first few months are similar to a honeymoon period. There’s a natural high after leaving uni and finally working, even somewhat of an ego and feeling a bit of validation for landing that first job. The next few months consist of properly getting to know the role and the industry, building knowledge and branding of who you are as an employee. Coming up to the 12-18 month mark is where satisfaction can dip and frustration can rise. This also coincides where a lot of graduates will leave their first role. However, anywhere around this mark things can start to click, and efforts start to pay off. That dip in satisfaction can either lead to an employee leaving a role or pushing through the slump and see hard work paying off and results being achieved.  

This slump isn’t restricted to just graduates, and many roles at all stages of a career often follow this same pattern. So how do you push through this period and find new motivation and inspiration? You can’t expect better results if behaviour doesn’t change, so what ways can you overcome this?

The Unlikely Mentor

Something that worked well for me lately, is taking inspiration and learning from someone I wouldn’t typically work with. One of our Group Managers here at Optimum works in a completely different area to what I do, however over the past couple of months, we started working more closely which opened me up to a completely different style of work. For me, this different work style worked, and helped me not only see things in a different light but get results which before seemed tough to achieve.

Doing something different while still being in the realm of what your role is, can not only open you up to new experiences in the job, but also open your eyes to the wider possibilities of work that is often narrowed while in a slump.

Widening Your Interactions

This somewhat leads into my next point. I’m very fortunate that in my consulting role I’m consistently meeting people from all walks of life and all types of industries. This makes the job interesting, that I’m constantly hearing the major challenges and successes of different areas, and I’m learning more about different sectors which I haven’t been exposed to before. Often people can become siloed in their roles, but by speaking to other like-minded people in similar roles, you soon realise that a lot of challenges are common across different areas. Working and speaking with like-minded people can really give a fresh light and perspective on challenging situations.

Persistence and Resilience

Despite hard work and displaying the behaviours needed for success, sometimes results feel like they just won’t come. In this situation it can be a case of being persistent and resilient and understanding that sometimes things take time. One thing I was taught very quickly in this job, is that quality behaviours equals quality results. While motivation can go up and down, one thing that can remain steady is determination. Remaining persistent in situations where motivation can fluctuate, can help achieve key results that can lift you out of a slump.

What works for you when you are feeling in a slump?

About the Author

Daniel Cosgrove

Daniel is a consultant at Optimum Consulting. He recently graduated from The University of Queensland with a bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours, Class I). During his time at university, Daniel maintained a strong focus in organisational and business psychology, human resources, data measurement and interpretation, and consulting.