Boring job – Who’s fault’s that, then
If your job’s not fulfilling, the person with the power to change it is sitting in your place. It’s you. Sure, there are things we don’t have the power to change, but that’s no reason to ignore the things we can change, which have the power to lighten a mood and lift the spirits. Here are a few of them. Hope there’s something here to help you!
They say familiarity breeds contempt. But it would be a crying shame if everyone who’d been in a job long enough to be familiar with it held it in contempt.
There’s always a danger that you could start to slide down the slippery slope of boredom and fall into the pit of contempt; to waking each morning with a sigh at the prospect of more of the ‘same old same old’.
But the power to change it lies squarely with you. You might start by counting your blessings. The alternative to being in work is having no job at all, and without it, how would you pay those bills or put food on the table? There are probably any number of people who would love to be where you are right now.
The unhappy worker who didn’t realise he was well off
Indeed, I’m reminded of the man who, in a day-long training session with colleagues and the company boss returned incessantly to his dislike of the company, about how it was treating him badly, taking the wrong decisions, and had no long-term future. Towards the end of the afternoon the boss said to him: “I don’t want you to be so unhappy. I can arrange to terminate your employment, if that’s what you really want. You could leave this afternoon, and never have to come back again. Shall I do that for you?” Clearly the employee didn’t want that; he was working in one of the best-paid companies in the town, and the offer was followed by several minutes of frantic back-pedalling in the light of a ‘road to Damascus’ moment for the contemptuous worker. As Max Ehrmann wrote in Desiderata in 1927: “Keep interested in your career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”
If you’re as unhappy as the person in that story, perhaps the best option is to move on. Develop yourself in a new role with a new company – or the same one, if an opportunity presents itself.
But wherever it is, that solution isn’t going to come looking for you. You’re going to have to go out and find it for yourself, and it’s going to have to suit your circumstances – perhaps your significant other is happy at work, or perhaps you have children or elderly relatives to consider, as well as yourself.
Ways to change your job – and your perception of it
Manipulate meetings: It’s been said that bad meetings are a reflection of bad leaders. Certainly meetings for their own sake don’t necessarily achieve much. They have a tendency to generate work rather than accomplish it. If you’re drawn into long meetings, do some simple sums. Take the average hourly salary of your industry, and multiply it by the number of people in the room and the time they meet. You’ll have a number of pounds or dollars with which to approach the boss and say: “I can save this company loads of money every year. All we have to do is shorten meetings.” Then explain what weekly sessions involving ten people actually cost… Let him present that as his own idea, scoring brownie points with his boss, and it’s a near certainty that the idea will be adopted.
Enjoy your colleagues: Girls packing chocolates in the UK’s confectionary capital of York frequently sang together. I’m not suggesting you should burst into song, but the principle is sound. In the right sort of workplace you could tell jokes; you could organise a bake sale to raise money for charity, plan a summer barbecue that the company might support, or organise outings. Like it or not, you’re part of a community, and it’s up to you if it’s pleasant or otherwise.
Volunteer: If someone’s sick or on holiday, and you’re so familiar with your own job that you could do it in your sleep, then volunteer to help out with theirs. It will build variety in your day, broaden your skills base and polish up your CV for when you apply for another job, and make colleagues appreciate you more.
Swap jobs: Perhaps there’s someone else in your organisation who’s as bored as you are. Talk to the company; perhaps there’s a way you could do each other’s jobs for a while, perhaps even making both of them part time and injecting some variety into your life.
Make suggestions: Many companies operate employee suggestion schemes with hard cash rewards for good ideas to save the company money and time. When did you last submit an idea? If your company doesn’t have a scheme, then there’s the first suggestion: push to start one!
Plan: Think about what you’re using your salary for. Work out how long you need to work each week to pay the bills, and then think about what you might do with the part of your salary that isn’t wanted by the electricity company the car insurance people, or the supermarket. Don’t think of it as work, think of it as making possible your holiday, the gifts you can buy for loved ones, or even yourself. Change the context of what you’re doing, and match it to pleasurable things.
Build a good personal life: If you find being at home as tedious as being at work, then you need to give yourself a good talking to. What you do out of work is up to you, and can be a fantastic antidote to work that bores you. Keep bees, go cycling, kayaking, or take on voluntary work. The world’s your oyster!
Is it you?: Do you think you’re entitled to more than you’re getting, in both satisfaction and salary? If it is, then work out how you can make a change from the job, or even career that you’ve outgrown or even chosen badly in the first place. Boredom at work starts – and ends – with you.
Picture: Stokkete | Dreamstime.com