Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

How To Stay Motivated At Work When You're Job Hunting

Leaving your job on a good note means ensuring your last few weeks or months portray you at your best.

[Photo: Jacob Lund Via Shutterstock]

You’ve decided your current job isn’t for you anymore and you’ve set your sights on greener pastures. But until you land that great gig, you still have to slog away at the job you have. "Looking for another job takes your energy away from what you’re currently doing," says Nancy Harris, an executive coach and founder of Restart Consulting. While it can be tempting to wash your hands of your current position while you search for greener pastures, doing so will likely only leave a sour taste in your current company’s mouth. "Until you actually have the job offer in hand, you need to commit to the job that you have," says Harris.

Follow these six tips to keep your motivation while job hunting:

Keep A Positive Attitude.

Find one thing in your current job that you still enjoy and try to spend as much time as you can doing that until the next big opportunity comes along. A positive outlook may come from the great people you work with. "Maybe the work is terrible but there are two or three colleagues that you’ll remain friends with," says Harris. Focusing on the positive aspects of your job rather than how horrible your boss is or how much you hate attending daily morning meetings will help you to retain a positive attitude while in your current job.

Be Selective.

If you have the luxury to be selective in the tasks you take on, say no to the things that will bring your attitude down and say yes to projects that excite you. While you still need to ensure you’re doing the job you were hired to do, asking to spend more time on a project that’s interesting to you or asking to take a course in something that will boost your skills in a particular area that will help you be successful in the future can be a good way to ensure your last moments on the job are fulfilling ones.

Live In The Moment

When doing tasks that you hate, say to yourself "this is the last time I’m going to have to do ‘x’". Telling yourself it’s the last time can help you to appreciate the task rather than simply rushing through it to get it over with as quickly as possible. Knowing that you’ll be moving on soon can help you to be more mindful of the work you’re doing and motivate you to do them well so that you leave on a high note.

Show Your Work Ethic

Your boss and coworkers will remember your last moments on the job. You don’t want those to be of you on your worst behavior – unmotivated, missing deadlines, producing sloppy work and disengaged. Harris says some of the best workers who leave on a positive note surprise everyone around them when they say they’re moving on because they’ve held true to the values of a good work ethic right up to the end. "People will remember the most recent thing," says Harris. Think about the impression you want people to be left with when you leave the organization and perform to that standard, even when your mind may be elsewhere.

Pack Up Early

To ensure you leave your job on a high note, you may want to consider packing up early if you simply aren’t able to perform to the standard that you were earlier in your career at the company. "If you can’t commit to the job in the way it needs to be done; if you can barely take your pajamas off and put your work clothes on, you’re better off packing up and leaving even before you find the next job, if you can afford it," says Harris. The last thing you want is to be asked to leave before you’re ready!

Make A Transition Plan

Thinking about how your responsibilities will be divided up once you leave and putting together a plan to present to your manager once you hand in your resignation will help you to leave on a good note and shows you still care about the company and your coworkers even though you’re no longer going to be working there.

Related: Ready To Leave Your Job?