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Bored With Your Career? Here’s What to Do

The author of 'Best Job Ever!' offers tips to bash career boredom

Featured Expert
Featured Expert

(This article is excerpted from Best Job Ever! Rethink Your Career, Redefine Rich, Revolutionize Your Life with permission of the publisher, Wiley, by Dr. C.K. Bray. Copyright © 2016 by CK Bray. All rights reserved. This book is available at all booksellers.)

Career boredom doesn’t stem from never-ending, pointless meetings, to-do lists that will never get completed or from fellow employees who have the personality of a British security guard. As a career development expert, I’ve found that it originates from a lack of personal purpose, meaning and motivation about your career.

Symptoms include: discontent, lack of interest, sadness, numbness, weight gain, feelings of unrest or anxiety or getting mad over minor things at work. Your health may be declining. You may not sleep well at night. You may experience depression or find yourself spacing off during the day. No wonder people who experience career boredom are more likely to fall into addictive and destructive behaviors.

When you experience career boredom at work, the first thing to do is enrich the working environment with new levels of complexity and challenge.

But if you’re bored with your career, there are things you can do about it to make yourself happier and more fulfilled. Here are my four Bash Career Boredom Tips:

Bash Boredom Tip No. 1: Take on a challenge or learn something new. When you experience career boredom at work, the very first thing you need to do is enrich the working environment with new levels of complexity and challenge.

Ask yourself if there is anything more you can accomplish or if there are employees who may need your help. Can you learn something new or take on a project that will develop your skills and competencies and push you into different areas?

To increase the level of brain and emotional stimulation and dispel career boredom, you need to find a challenge and learn something new at work. This approach works for about half of my clients, as some only needed a jump-start to get them moving out of the rut and continuing on with the great career they had already created. For the other half that don’t find success, there’s Bash Boredom Tip No. 2…

Bash Boredom Tip No. 2: Find meaning and purpose outside of the work environment. There are numerous areas in your life that can fill the void of career boredom. Look for something outside of work that will provide your life with meaning, purpose and fulfillment.

Join a club, learn a sport, play the piano, grow a garden, volunteer your time, learn how to cook or play cards with your friends. Some of my clients give so much time and hard work to their careers, they never realize the small things that are missing could make all the difference.

Best Job Ever Book EmbedMaking new friendships, having time to pursue a hobby and creating something like art, food or writing is often all that is needed to rejuvenate both your life and your job. Try it! You might be surprised by the effect it has.

Bash Boredom Tip No. 3: You may have outgrown your job: Get promoted or move to another department. “It isn’t me!” you say. “I would never want to be promoted or change departments. I love what I do!” Yet you will sit right next to me and tell me how bored you are and how ready you are for a change and that you don’t know how much longer you can do the same job. You would rather stay miserable in your current situation than make a switch to something different that you might actually like more.

Here are signs you may have outgrown your job:

  • You enjoy your job, but it doesn’t provide nearly the satisfaction that it used to.
  • You find yourself getting antsy at work. You can no longer just do the same job every day. It’s too easy.
  • You find yourself checking the organization’s job postings.
  • You don’t have an excitement for the role and the work like you once did.
  • You are becoming territorial at work. You fight over the little things instead of looking at the big picture.

It is easy to implement the tips to combat this kind of boredom. It only requires some time and investigative work to decide what you want your next step to be. There are three things you need to do:

First, begin to gather information and look at jobs in your organization that would interest you. Match your skill sets and competencies against the job postings’ requirements. Assess what you can bring to the positions and whether it would be a good fit with the culture, the team and manager of that division or department.

Second, you need to begin networking and growing your brand in the organization so other leaders know who you are and will be more open to interviewing you for a position outside of your normal department. It is easy to tell yourself that your excellent work speaks for itself. It does, but only to a point. You need to build relationships with those who are the decision makers.

Third, learn as much as you can about the positions you are interested in. See if you can spend a few hours or half a day with the individual who currently works in that role to see if the role is exactly what you think it is and if you would be a good fit for the position.

Bash Boredom Tip No. 4: Time to move on to something new. You have reached the end of your rope and are burned out. You are ready to claw your eyes out rather than go to work. If this sounds familiar, it may be time for you to move on, begin a new chapter and find a new position.

It can be difficult when you come to the final realization that you no longer just want a change, but actually need one. It is hard to close one chapter of your life and start another, but when done correctly and with the right preparation, it is easier than you think.

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