So you’re well into your web working career (hopefully thanks, in part, to the posts featured in our just-released free “Web Work 101″ e-book), and you’ve gotten off to a great start, but after a certain amount of time (it will differ from person to person), things start to lose their zest. The honeymoon is over, so to speak, and it’s time to dig in and build a solid foundation upon which a long lasting career can be built.
To continue the relationship analogy, having a successful and rewarding long-lasting career depends upon more than just initial excitement and chemistry. You have to put work in, think about your goals and make conscious decisions that lead to continuous improvement. Here are some areas to concentrate on.
If you are starting to feel a little ennui with your decision to do your work remotely, take a look at what you’re doing and make sure the cause is, in fact, the method, and not the nature of the work you’re doing. You might be bored with your focus, not with working online.
You have a couple of options to gauge which is the case, and to find out if you can’t give your web working life a much-needed shot in the arm. First, you could try adding additional work to your existing load that isn’t something you’d normally pursue, but think you might enjoy. Introducing small work packets along with your usual things shouldn’t cause too much strain, and will allow you an exit strategy should you require it.
The other option is to stop doing your existing type of work entirely, and throw yourself fully into something new. This has the disadvantage of being risky, and also of possibly seeming like it fixed the problem when in fact it hasn’t, since you’re just experiencing the thrill of the novel once again.
Another reason your web working career might be losing its luster is that you’re not sure what it is that’s driving you to continue. One of the benefits of working for a large company at an office is that HR departments take on motivation as part of their responsibility, and, at good workplaces, take the pulse of their employees and create incentive programs accordingly.
Motivation can be the biggest challenge facing a web worker. Working for bonuses isn’t always an option, nor is working for advancement, in the traditional sense. The best way to get yourself in gear is to identify what it was that drove you to pursue working online to begin with, and see if you can’t find ways to amplify that incentive, or to set goals for furthering it down the road.
Finally, you may be experiencing frustration with your web working career because your results aren’t living up to your expectations. Maybe you aren’t making as much as you anticipated, or maybe you aren’t finding that you have as much free time as you thought you would as a result of working remotely.
If so, regaining your passion for your career might be as simple (or as difficult) as reassessing your situation and changing your expectations in order to bring them more in line with the reality you’re experiencing. Any new endeavor will probably seem much more lucrative than it turns out to be, and even when you know your starting salary at a more traditional job, you often don’t take into account taxes, pension, and other deductions. Try to focus more on the positive results you are seeing than on the ones you thought you’d see.
If you’ve hit a wall in your web working career, don’t panic; it’s a good sign. It means you got off on the right foot, and managed to hang in there long enough to become more or less established. As with a successful long term relationship, it’s only natural to get cold feet. Step back, take a breather, reevaluate your situation and continue on. You won’t regret it.
Is your web working honeymoon over? What are you doing to get the spark back?
Photo credit: Neil T