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Career Tips

Reenergize your career

by Brought to you by ACS Careers
April 4, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 11


An illustrated person holds an electronic device while running to the right. The device has a long cable that is unplugged.
Credit: Shutterstock

It’s almost Chemists Celebrate Earth Week, April 21–27, and this year’s theme is “Get a Charge Out of Chemistry.” While batteries can be used to power all kinds of things, sometimes they do need to be recharged—just like careers. Occasionally, you might feel bored with your career and need to reenergize yourself. The following are a few tips for ways to inject some energy into your career and get yourself excited about your profession again.

Try something new. Take on a new project that lets you learn a new skill. Maybe you’re the resident expert at writing manuscripts, but you’ve never created a poster presentation. Maybe you have conducted dozens of chemical syntheses, but have always let someone else do the nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the final product. Is there a way you can stretch your existing skills in a new direction and try something you haven’t tried before?

Try somewhere new. In addition to growing your skills, growing your knowledge is a great way to get unstuck. Maybe you know everything about primary batteries, but you’ve never really explored rechargeable batteries. Can you bring your knowledge and expertise from one field and apply it to another field? Learning the subtleties of a new subject area can be energizing, and it might even make you think about old subjects in new ways.

Try somehow new. Take a step back and figure out a new way to do something. Is there a task, or series of tasks, that has always been done a certain way and is now so routine that you don’t even think about it? Maybe it’s time to change that. There could be a new tool that would make it easier—or even trivial. Maybe some of the constraints that existed when that process was developed no longer apply. Reevaluating and redesigning from scratch can identify efficiencies as well as break you out of a rut, especially for tasks that take up a significant amount of time.

Try someone new. Can you bring a new member with fresh ideas onto your team? Or maybe take on a new client or customer whose needs and priorities are slightly different from your current clients? Working with a wide variety of people with different backgrounds can help you look at things in a new way. When someone asks why you do something a certain way, it forces you to really think about the rationale for doing what you do.

Try someplace new. If you’re slightly bored by working in the same office every day, changing locations and working from a different site, or even a coffee shop, can perk things up. But if your introspection leads you to the conclusion that you are truly bored with everything you are doing, and there’s no way to change that within your current organization, it just might be time to think about moving to a new organization.

No matter which tactic you choose to recharge your career, make sure there is a way you can contribute while also learning something new. Only when you balance both will you have a career path that is rewarding and successful, and one that continues to grow.

Get involved in the discussion. The ACS Career Tips column is published monthly in C&EN. Send your comments and ideas for topics for future columns to


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