When Your Exciting New Job Becomes Old Hat

When does the honeymoon end with a new job? For some, it happens on the first day – but most employees are happiest in their first year on the job, a new study from staffing firm Robert Half and Happiness Works finds.

The study shows that professionals with between one and two years on the job are less happy, less interested in their work and more stressed than those still in their first year.

After three years or more on the job, happiness levels edge back up and interest levels increase. In fact, those with the greatest tenure (21 years or more) showed the highest level of interest in their jobs.

“Once they get past year one, the honeymoon appears to be over for many professionals,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “After 12 months on the job, employees are expected to work more autonomously and take on added responsibility. At the same time, aspects of the job that at first seemed novel and interesting may lose their luster.”

McDonald points out that managers need to be aware of this second-year slowdown and take proactive measures to keep employees engaged.

This includes providing stretch assignments and ensuring that workloads are manageable. By keeping an eye on it, companies can help minimize the risk of losing productive staff members who have already been through a learning curve, he said.

For employees who want to keep the flame going, Robert Half is offering these tips:

  1. Find your passion. Think about your company’s higher purpose: How is it making the world a better place? For example, if you work at a CPA firm, you aren’t only performing accounting functions – you are helping client businesses grow and thrive.
  2. Deepen your connections. Having friends at work makes every day more fun. Go out of your way to socialize and build camaraderie with those around you.
  3. Mix it up. Don’t wait for your manager to offer you new projects. Be proactive – talk to your boss about new assignments to broaden your skill set and contribution to the firm. This not only increases your engagement level but also your earning potential.
  4. Show gratitude. Take the time to thank coworkers for their help and compliment others for a job well done. This will brighten their day while also giving your spirits a boost.
  5. Sweeten the pot. Keep up with compensation trends and ask for a raise, if warranted, as you take on more responsibility.

Keep it fresh, and keep it real.

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