Being a chamber pro is difficult. It wears on you the same way running a household does. There are a lot of expectations, long hours, and responsibilities, but ultimately it is very rewarding. However, just like any relationship, there will be days you love your chamber of commerce job…and days you wish it belonged to someone else.
When you have more regret and frustration than love, it’s time to decide what it is you want. Will you move on or try to reinvigorate the relationship? That’s up to you. But if you want to give your love for the job a second chance, you can try jumpstarting it through these ideas.
8 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Chamber Job All Over Again
First, your work is incredibly important but not at the risk of your physical or mental health. And if you find it’s time to move on, that doesn’t mean you have to leave the chamber industry. Maybe your current position isn’t a good fit, but other positions still could be.
However, if you still have work you want to do it’s not too late to reignite the spark you once had for the job. Here’s how:
Rediscover Your Why
Think about what drew you to the position to begin with. What do you–or did you–like about it? Why is assisting businesses to thrive important to you? Why does what you do for the chamber and the community matter to you?
Repeat Your Why
Create a mantra based on your answers to the questions above. Make it short and easy to remember and start your day off repeating it as you drive to work or get ready in the morning. Something like “Each day I am helping my community grow and thrive.” Show yourself some appreciation even when others aren’t. You might be surprised how this simple affirmation makes you feel.
Determine If It’s the Job or Something Else
According to a 2021 Pew Research study, 63% of employees left their jobs due to low pay. Other reasons included no opportunities to advance and feeling disrespected.
Are you shaking your head as you read this? Some issues can be overcome, while others are just the nature of the position.
Ask yourself why “you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling” when it comes to the work you do. What’s the main reason? Did the board give you a difficult way to go on your last event, meaning it was one bad situation or is it a continual dissatisfaction? Is it something you can wait out or make better or is it as permanent as no room for advancement? Are you feeling like you’re always doing the same thing, the same old way and you feel stuck?
If you’re not sure, try switching something up or planning on how you can alter things enough to isolate what’s bothering you. For instance, if you think your problems may be with the board, limit your interaction with them for a day and see if it improves your mood. If so, your negative feelings about your job may be board related. Adjusting the board composition could help rekindle your love of your chamber role.
Think About What You Loved About the Job and Do More of It
Why did you take a chamber of commerce job in the first place? What sparks you as a chamber professional? If you were writing your good-bye letter to your chamber, what would you include? Would you, like Kelly Brough when she left the Denver Metro Chamber, think of the people you worked with, the legacy you left or something else?
Answering these questions can help bring more of the magic back to your current role if you re-introduce more of that back in your day.
For instance, if it was member interactions that excited you and you’re finding yourself doing more administrative work, try to do more to reconnect with members. Set aside time just for member interaction. Schedule it as if each member personally requested to meet with you. Don’t brush it off if you get busy. Give yourself an hour or two each day or as much as you can spare for getting back to what you love most.
Communicate Your Needs
If a job is an important relationship in your life, it only stands to reason that like a relationship, if your needs aren’t being met that you need to communicate that. Who you communicate that to largely depends on what the need is. But telling your spouse doesn’t count. Express your needs clearly and concisely and with the person or people who can most affect change in the job situation.
If they choose not to help, or don’t see the concern behind what you are expressing, you will know where you stand with them.
Keep Track of What You’re Accomplishing
Many professionals only worry about tracking their goals in the weeks leading up to their review. It’s not that they don’t know their goals. They have the big picture accomplishment in mind, but it’s all the little accomplishments that get overlooked. It’s easy to forget everything you’ve done.
Instead, keep track of every change you’ve made, every accomplishment you’ve achieved, and all progress toward your larger goals. Review these milestones when you’re feeling down and you’ll be reminded how critical your chamber of commerce job is and all the wonderful work you’ve done. Speaking of…
Keep a “Smile File”
Another great pick me up is reading your testimonials or the compliments you’ve received in your position. Keep the personal ones about the great job you’re doing as well as the professional ones about the success of things you’ve worked on like your events.
Keeping a file of thank you cards, letters, and even social media posts or comments not only comes in handy during your review but it can also make you feel good when you’re struggling with the idea that you’re the only one committed to the result.
Just one good letter to the editor, like this one in the Cannon Beach Gazette (Oregon) would go a long way on a bad day.
A “smile file” isn’t ego driven. It’s about reminding yourself of the legacy you’re leaving in your community and keeping your head up and morale high while you do it.
Get Rid of What’s Bringing You Down
If you know what you dread most about your chamber of commerce job, ask yourself how you can change it. For instance, if too many meetings are bringing you down, how can you alter that part of your role? Can you cut back on them? Make them shorter? Encourage people to be more prepared so the meetings are more productive?
If you can’t get rid of them altogether, what is it about them that you don’t like? What aspect could you change about them to make them more appealing? For instance, perhaps creating a walking meeting would be more appealing than hours spent in a conference room, or instead of meeting with people in your office, you can come to them or vice versa.
Finally, if these things don’t work, you may be feeling burned out and it might be time for a new challenge. If you’re still staying in the chamber world, you can find chamber executive job listings here.
Change can be good. You’ll just need to decide whether you need to change industries or just the community you’re working in.