If you are counting the hours until lunch or until you can head home, chances are you’re bored in your job.
Boredom can be bad news in a world that values engagement and contribution. Yet it’s a reality for both long-time staffers and newcomers who took a job that they could do in their sleep because something more suitable wasn’t available.
One-fourth of office workers suffer from chronic boredom, and they say it causes them to lose concentration and make mistakes, according to a University of Central Lancashire professor’s survey. Many turn to chocolate, coffee and drinking martinis or beer at the end of their workday to cope, the research found.
1. Ask your boss key questions.
Find out what the big headaches are she’s facing. Where are the big needs and growth opportunities? What new initiatives are barreling down on the department for which she has no time to understand and prepare? You’re looking for clues to your next assignment – a way to reinvent your role right where you sit now.
2. Seek out temporary assignments and cross-training.
Read corporate media releases and in-house newsletters to seek these out. Or stop by human resources to see what kind of opportunities they can help you launch. Sometimes these also can be arranged by joining an inter-departmental team working on employee benefits or charity programs or the like.
3. Take five people to lunch.
Choose a mix of long-time staffers and rising stars and find out what motivates them and what changes they expect at the organization. You’re looking for a spark, a connection and maybe a new project.
4. Find a project that wows you.
Or one that sounds so fun you can’t wait to get going. Volunteer to arrange the company picnic. Or suggest that your team start a monthly creativity field trip and offer to set up the first two of them. If you can’t pick up a fun or fabulous project on your job, then find one in your volunteer work or at your children’s school. Or in the start-up of a social enterprise. When you’re jazzed up in one area, it can spread to the 9 to 5.
5. Ask for more work.
Your mentor may be able to show you ways to diversify your tasks, and your boss will be glad you’re honest when you say you need more assignments to fill your day. Those suggestions come from a blog post on CareerRookie.
If none of these work for you, take a long weekend. Leave everything about work behind for three days. Give yourself over to creativity, refreshment and joy. Sometimes that time hiking the foothills or wandering through art galleries or seeing back-to-back baseball games can give you the charge needed to toil for another three months in a yawner of a job. When you return, carve out time and energy to start planning your move to a job that will make you brag, not bored.