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Dear Job:'I just don't love you anymore'

It's time to find something new if these tips to regain a passion for work don't work.

Love can't last forever, and your once-perfect job is turning out to be more stressful than originally imagined.
Falling out of love with your job is a common occurence in today's overworked, always-on-the-go work environment. So what's an employee who just wants to be happy at work again to do? Experts say it's about re-evaluating what's important to you and determining how your job affects that.

"Like it or not, you are in a relationship with your job, and if that relationship has turned sour, you can't fix it by complaining to your friends and co-workers or by wishing things would change" explains Ed Muzio, author of "Four Secrets to Liking Your Work: You May Not Need to Quit to Get the Job You Want"(FT Press, $22.99)

"Wishing it would get better or wishing that the last reorganization or the latest reduction in force or the newest problem hadn't happened, is a little like standing in the grocery store wishing you were magically in another city. Your chances of getting what you want by accident, with no effort from you, are pretty small. To succeed you need to do something; take ownership of the problem.

Negative Effect

Losing passion for your job can have several negative outcomes, says Todd Dewett, associate professor of management at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Loss of interest in and enthusiasm for working as an innovative team or department is just one of the detrimental effects.

"You need new stimuli" he says. "Actively seek out new tasks, roles, projects or a completely new job within the firm. A new learning curve may very well wake up and get you positively motivated."

It's important to note that temporarily losing the spark you once had for your job does not mean it's time to pack up your belongings. In fact, a quick "passion check-up" every now and then may allow you to revaluate your feelings about your job.

"Even if you are not able to find new tasks or roles, you should revaluate your feelings about you job.

"Even if you are not able to find new tasks or roles, you should re-evaluate your professional goals," adds Dewett. "You need a challenge, and your are capable of motivating yourself. Moderlately difficult goals are the place to start. For example, consider seeking new specialties or certification relevant to your job."

There's always the risk of things getting a little stale at a longtime job, similar to dating the same person several years. That's why it's important to spice things up once in awhile.

Expert : 'Portfolio career replacing 'the job'

A portfolio career can be a mixture of part-time, temporary, contract, free-lance or consulting jobs, and even self-employment.

By Donns K.H. Walters; Los Angeles Times

William Bridges knows there are doubters, but he is certain: The traditional job, as we know it, is dying.

"The concept of the job itself is a historical artifact from the Industrial Revolution that seems to be coming to an end," says Bridges, author, management consultant and guru to a growing number of career counselors. The end won't come all at once, though. "It's more like a rolling wave or a change of seasons," he said. "It comes gradually and not everywhere at the same time - but before any of us retires, it's going to be gone."

What's replacing the job, he says, is the "portfolio career". That is less a fixed concept than a way of working, a style of employment that puts the individual's skills and talents to work in a variety of settings. A portfolio career can be a mixture of part-time jobs, or a combination of part-time with temporary, contract, free-lance or consulting work, and even self-employment.

The upheaval in the traditional workplace over the past several years, wrought by recession, restructuring and technology, has forced both employers and employees to become more flexible.

Companies find themselves creating new catergories of jobs, perhaps cutting down on full-time permanent positions and adding more temporaries, part-timers, job-sharers and outside contractors. The single-task specialist is being edged out by the multifaceted worker who gets sent to where the work is. For a growing number of workers, especially in the high-unemployment environs of California, a portfolio career has become a necessary accommodation to the realities of the job market.

According to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest job growth in recent years has come in industries that typically use more part-time workers, such as the service and retail trades. And the so-called temporary industy, although representing less than 2 percent of the nations's total employment, was responsible for 11 percent of the increase in employment between February, 1992 and March of this year.

Bridges believes there is so little security in the 9-to-5 jobs of today that we are all temporary workers and "all jobs in today's economy are temporary" he writes in his latest book, "Job Shift: How to Prosper in a Workplace Without Jobs."

"Security today comes form employability, and employability is something in you, not the job," Bridges said in an interview from his Mill Valley, Calif, consulting office. "In that sense, the idea of the portfolio career - having a portfolio of skills and experiences - is a pretty central notion."

Allyne Sitkoff Lewis has a portfolio career by choice. The Los Angeles resident works part itme as a receptionist in a medical office and teaches at a nursery school. She likes the flexibility, she said. "Being able to work with adults and children is nice."

And, unlike the way it was when her own children were growing up and finances were tighter, she now can set her own work pace. When she felt like slowing it down recently, she switched to a substituting at the nursery school.

However, many others are forced into portfolio careers by the paucity of full-time permanent jobs in today's economy, said Patrick Kerwin, a Pasadena career consultant who himself has a portfolio career.

"Some people (who now have portfolio careers) would rather have a full-time job that was supposedly permanent," he said. "But I would say that a portfolio career is more secure."

Kerwin's work life reflects the most common kind of portfolio career - in which the individual builds several jobs around one skill, talent or knowledge base. In addition to private practice in career counseling, Kerwin has a part-time job as career counselor at Santa Monica College; he also teaches career planning there. And he is under contract to develop training materials for counselors in the state community college system.

His work, usually more than 40 hours a week, gives him a comfortable income, he said. With one full-time job comes insecurity, Kerwin said, because "one minus one is zero. But now if I lost a job, if I didn't have Santa Monica College anymore, I'd still have a couple of things left. The risk is spread."

Bridges compares employment to investing. "The really forward-thinking worker needs to plan effectively without a traditiomnal job...Just as investment counselors say it's a mistake to invest all your money in one stock, or just in stocks, so is it a mistake to invest all your emotional security 'money,' or assests, in one job," he said.

Keith Freadhoff, executive director of Career Planning Center in Los Angeles, thinks flexibility is important. Adults who are already well established in jobs or careers will find it harder to make the switch than tomorrow's workers if they are properly prepared, he said.

Freadhoff predicts that 75 percent of high school graduates in 2010 will not go to college, but will enter a work force where "they'll have either a protfolio career or a lot of jobs over a career."

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