Being bored in a job is no fun. It makes getting up in the morning a whole lot harder and when you finally do get to work, the days may feel endless as you watch the digital clock on your computer seemingly freeze in time. Whether it’s not having enough to do, or working in a position that underutilizes your skill set, there are things you can do to remedy the situation.
Ask to Job Shadow
If you generally enjoy the company you’re working for and are simply in a position that’s the wrong fit, see if you can invest some time in other departments. Who do you know in other areas? What else interests you?
Ask someone in a role that intrigues you if you can ‘shadow’ them for a day to learn more about their area of expertise. It will expose you to new perspectives and you may even build a relationship that can ultimately lead to new opportunities. Or it may simply afford you a break from your regular routine.
Volunteer to Help Someone Else
Chances are SOMEONE in your area or on your team is overwhelmed with their workload. Is there a way you can take on some short-term extra tasks to support them?
Talk to your boss first – you may be needed on your own team or may not be aware of projects coming your way shortly. (One word of caution though, letting the boss know you’re “bored” can be a career limiting move!
One way to phrase it is, “I’d love to expand my skill set and learn more about the organization – I noticed that XYZ department is really busy right now – might I have a chance to pitch in and assist?” Not only will you get a chance to learn new skills (always a resume boost) but you’ll be investing in good career karma too, and that’s priceless.
Expand Your Life Outside of Work
If you’ve tried the two tactics above and come up short, it may be time to look outside of your workplace for fulfillment. Many people these days would “pay” to be bored at work, simply for the extra brain space it frees up!
If you’ve always wanted to take a cooking class or join a sports league, now is your chance. Take some time to cultivate curiosity and explore those creative outlets you’ve always wanted to try. Work doesn’t have to be the end all be all in your life, and you may just find a different kind of satisfaction branching out into new areas.
The brain likes to learn new things, give it some new material!
Start a Side Job
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re bored because you’re in the wrong job or industry, now is the time to start something else. Explore side jobs to see if changing careers is right for you. Can you provide consulting expertise? Have you always wanted to write a book? In what way can you bring in alternate sources of income while preparing yourself for a new avenue? It could be something smaller too like working construction or retail on the weekends. Whatever it is, dive in and shift some of your energy in a new direction. You will appreciate the “boredom” of your regular job and may be able to make a change sooner than you think.
Being bored at work is uniquely frustrating and surprisingly draining. Try the tactics above to maintain your sanity, uphold your professional reputation and deepen your skill set. You may be surprised at what you learn and will undoubtedly find yourself on a new path in no time.