There's been a point in most of our careers where we suffer some form of burnout (if it hasn't happened to you, count yourself as lucky!).
Though this productivity slump is often the fault of one of the usual suspects--like working one too many weekends in a row; a schedule that has us eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at our desks; or eons in between actual vacation time--there may be a sneakier cause at play: being under-challenged creatively.
When was last time you worked on something that required you to develop a new product or program, collaborate with a team to find an innovative solution, or gave you the opportunity to dabble in design? If you answered "never' or "I can't think of the last time," it may be time for a constructive conversation with your boss--or even a professional change of pace.
To discover whether you need to head in a new direction with your career, ask yourself how many of these creative hallmarks apply to you.
- You don't find rejection or failure to be all that scary. In fact, you take every failure as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
- You might have trouble getting focused, but once you are focused you enter a really intense zone. If someone tries to get your attention when your headphones are in, there is hell to pay.
- You're highly observant. After all, inspiration is all around if you take the time to look for it.
- Even if you're not an artist in the traditional sense, you're a master of problem solving. Creative and artistic are not one and the same.
- It's not that you have a problem with authority...unless said authority doesn't know what they're talking about.
- If your life were an Instagram post, it would be described as #NoFilter. You have an opinion and you're not afraid to voice it.
- You cherish alone time, and get some of your best work done after uninterrupted daydreaming.
- Traditional work hours are tough for you. You can't turn your creativity on just because you're at your desk, and you won't turn it off just because the workday is over.
- Speaking of can't turn your creativity off: Sometimes your racing mind keeps you up at night. The first thing you do when your alarm goes off is try to interpret your middle-of-the-night scribbles in your bedside notebook.
- You ask a lot of questions and tap into the creativity of others. Being creative doesn't have to be a lonely pursuit.
- Put you in front of a stack of paperwork, and you get bored easily. Put you in a brainstorm and you come alive.
- You take your work seriously, because it reflects your taste.
- Coworkers, friends, and family come to you often to "pick your brain."
- You are your own harshest critic, because there are always areas for improvement.
- No one has ever described you as a creature of habit in the workplace. You are drawn to a challenge, even if it's not one of your assigned responsibilities.
- When you deliver a presentation or hand in an assignment, you're often met with the response, "I never thought of it that way."
- You're drawn to other creative people, because ingenuity loves company.