Written by: Daniel Goodson // Mar 2, 2021
Last updated: Jan 17, 2023
Does the thought of clocking in for work stir up about as much excitement as a trip to the DMV? Figuring out what to do when you’re bored with your job can be difficult, particularly when you’ve spent years working to get to your current position. During a time when so many people have lost their jobs, you may feel additional pressure to stay in a role you’ve come to despise.
Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to quit your current role to escape the workplace boredom. There are several steps you can take to reinvigorate your interest at work before deciding to hand in your two-weeks’ notice, and most are easier than you think.
Figure Out if You’re Bored With Your Job or Just an Assignment
A great first step to diagnosing your office boredom is deciding if you’re truly tired of your job or you’re just fed up with your current assignment. Particularly for big projects that can drag on for weeks, months, and longer, it’s not uncommon to find yourself dreaming of a day when it’s behind you. Often, that day seems so distant, you have to imagine yourself in a totally different workplace.
If you’re feeling bored to death in your current role, try to think back to when your dissatisfaction began. If it started with your current assignment, or a similar one, your struggle may be temporary. Take some time to recall those assignments that excited you. Remember how they made you feel about your position and coming in to work each day. If you know for a fact that you have more of that rewarding work coming up again, great. You’ve just hit a dull spot in your role that will self-correct. Take the steps you need to get through the current assignment and make it back to the work you love. This is also a good time to clarify with your supervisor whether your current assignment was an anomaly or the new direction of your position.
Remind Yourself of the Deeper Impact of Your Work
In the monotony of the work week, it’s easy to lose sight of the greater impact of your work. If you’re feeling ambivalent about your job, it may be because you’ve forgotten the lives you’re changing. When you’re not out on the front lines directly working with your customers, you can feel cut off from the final results of your efforts, which can quickly become demotivating.
Fortunately, it may be relatively easy for you to become reacquainted with those who are supported by your work. Whether it’s your coworkers who rely on you or the end users of your product or service, look for opportunities to reconnect and hear from them firsthand. You can also ask for more feedback and workplace updates. Chances are you’ll feel much more invested in your work and the overall company mission once you take some time to see how you contribute to the end product.
Challenge Yourself With New Responsibilities
Are you fighting a sense of stagnation that is leading to feelings of disinterest at work? Letting those feelings linger without addressing the cause can create significant mental, emotional, and physical problems that bleed into the rest of your life. Plus, that boredom can quickly turn toxic and contribute to an overall negative work environment. If you feel like you’re dying on the vine by working on the same old assignments every single day, it may be time to introduce some new projects that challenge you to grow and learn:
- Set up a meeting with your direct supervisor to ask for more challenging assignments.
- After completing your regular assignments, move on to some tasks that fall outside your typical scope.
- Identify and fix nagging workplace inefficiencies and logjams that continue to hurt office productivity.
- Cross-train with your colleagues to learn what they do and offer support in your downtime.
Gain the Skills to Take on a New Position
Fortunately, you probably don’t have to return to college for a new degree if you want to transition to another role. Today, there are many continuing education options for you to earn a respected credential and acquire new skills that qualify you for a new role. Best of all, many of these programs can be completed in just weeks from the comfort of home.
Besides your current state of office ennui, there are some other reasons now might be a great time for you to upskill or reskill for a new role:
- The global pandemic that has created unprecedented disruption.
- Megatrends impacting wide swaths of society, from the economy to the environment.
- Exponential change brought on by ever-developing technology.
Invest Some Time and Effort in Self-Care
This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the secrets to filling a perceived void at work could be outside your 9-5. You may be unfairly attributing a sense of discontent to your professional life when it’s your personal life that needs repair. The Mayo Clinic suggests some basic self-care behaviors that can translate to greater workplace satisfaction:
- Exercise regularly.
- Improve your diet and nutrition.
- Use stress-management techniques.
- Ensure you get enough sleep.
Positive self-care can dramatically improve your workplace performance and outlook, not just fight the overwhelming feelings of boredom. This includes increased productivity and performance, higher levels of creativity, and better mental fortitude to handle challenges that get thrown your way during the work week.
Discover Opportunities Beyond Your Desk
According to recent Gallup study results, about half of all U.S. employees are considered “not engaged.” These employees “are psychologically unattached to their work and company,” and they’re ready to jump ship at the next opportunity that is even marginally better. If you’re among the 50 percent of American workers who feel trapped in an uninspiring job, the worst thing you can do is tough it out for the paycheck. Sticking around in a job you hate doesn’t just hurt you. It hurts your company, too. Disengaged employees cost businesses massive sums of money each year in lost productivity, careless errors, and poor performance.
If you’re feeling stuck in a mind-numbingly boring role, one of the best things you can do is talk to your supervisor about other opportunities. Whether this includes an expanded role with new responsibilities or an entirely new position in the company, a dramatic change can completely energize you and transform your workplace outlook. Need additional training to pivot in your career? Remember that there are numerous certification and professional training programs available on a surprising array of topics.
Ready to see how you can take the first step into a new role that inspires you? Discover the professional development and corporate training opportunities available at the University of South Florida.