Boredom at work is a pressing issue for employers. They’re concerned about turnover, especially in the midst of The Great Resignation. But lack of interest in the work you’re doing is also an issue for the employee. Don’t settle for dissatisfaction, instead, be proactive and ask for interesting and challenging work. Here are some strategies that can help.
Whether it’s labeled boredom, languishing, disinterest, or burnout, you know what it feels like to be underutilized at work. Perhaps:
- You’re not feeling challenged.
- You’re not interested in what you’re asked to do.
- You’re not performing to your full potential.
- You’re thinking of leaving for other opportunities.
- You’re not bringing your best self to work.
In an analysis using data from Robert Half, researchers found that “when people find their jobs uninteresting, they are rarely happy (only 9%).” Yet even when people are “very stressed” 38% still report they are “happy at work” when their work is engaging.
So, stimulating work isn’t just about the employer and employee retention, it also has an impact on your day-to-day happiness. Using these strategies, you can proactively shape your job satisfaction and success.
Managers appreciate people willing to take risks and step up for more responsibilities. If you show initiative on one project, you’re more likely to be included in that next new client pitch or put in a position that challenges you to try something different.
If you see an opportunity that would provide you with more interesting work, ask for it. Set up a meeting with your supervisor and ask for that new challenge with a clear plan about how you would make that new aspect of the job work with what you already do.
Ask for variety
Sure, everyone likes to feel like they are doing their job well. However, you don’t want to risk getting pigeonholed in a particular role. Ask for a variety of things to do. Even if you have to learn new skills to complete the new responsibilities. Mixing up what you do daily will help you to remain engaged and can introduce you to new people and perspectives!
Keeping a positive attitude about what work you are doing now will put you in a better position to ask for something new. If your fellow employees see you as a Debbie Downer, always complaining about the monotony of your current job, they’re not going to invite you to be part of that new client pitch or innovate that industry-shifting product.
Talk about your interests
When you meet with supervisors or other managers, bring up your areas of interest. If you don’t feel challenged in your current role, communicate how your interests can help meet company goals. Or cast it in terms of your professional development. Then, ask what changes might be made to help you reach those objectives.
Work with new groups of people
Diversity is likely to feed your need for new perspectives and challenging ideas. Additionally, interacting with new teams puts you in touch with individuals who have different roles and responsibilities. This can give you fresh options and areas to ask for challenges and a variety of different work.
Improve the work environment
If you can offer ideas to improve processes or the way you and your colleagues do your jobs, you’ll be seen as someone who is creative and a critical thinker. That’s going to impress the people in a position to give you more interesting work.
See if you can get approval to implement the change you’re suggesting. Being able to spearhead that initiative could be just the challenge you’ve been seeking. If not, you’ll at least be demonstrating your follow-through and commitment to bettering the business.
Enhance your skills
The act of learning new skills can be interesting and challenging. Beyond that, broadening your skillset can position you to do different things.
In addition to evaluating where you might have professional gaps, look to see where the organization has some holes to be filled. You might be able to present yourself as a candidate to expand your organization’s reach or industry offerings. This could open you up to professional development opportunities that help you to grow and inspire you in new ways.
Seek a change in scenery
Perhaps what you’re feeling isn’t so much boredom as loneliness if you’ve been working virtually for months. Or maybe you’ve been going to the same desk at the same office for decades now. You need to bust up that routine to get a fresh perspective.
Doing the same old in a new place will at least help you feel differently about doing it. That is until you implement the other strategies in this article and make work exciting all over again.