While having a boring job can give you the opportunity to pursue your passions outside of work, the reality is that spending the bulk of your day with no passion or motivation can take its toll. If you’ve finally reached your limit with the smell of stale coffee and microwaved burritos, fluorescent lights buzzing, and a computer screen that displays the same information day after day, it may be time to find a new job. But how can you ensure your next role doesn’t land you in the same boring position?
Signs you’re genuinely bored at work
You might often catch yourself daydreaming, your mind wandering to the next weekend getaway, or the dinner plans you’ve made for the evening. The fact is, it’s natural to occasionally drift off during work hours. But when this becomes a daily routine, it’s an undeniable sign of chronic workplace boredom.
TikTok content creator Kelsea Warren, who shares videos about well-being at work, says being bored at work can start off with a simple scroll online and turn into feeling completely lost. “When you’re at work, you’re going to feel safer if you feel like you’re being engaged, that you’re serving a purpose, you’re getting rewarded for the work that you’re doing,” Warren, who is a workplace wellness coach specializing in career fulfillment, shares in a video.
However, she explains that when you’re bored, you may find it hard to feel a deeper connection to the work that you’re doing. She explains that this forces your brain into bored mode, which is very hard to get out of. “You have constant thoughts popping up about exploration, [like] ‘Should I move to a new role? Should I find a new job?’” which she says removes you from the present moment.
Feeling disengaged and disinterested
Remember when you first started this job, full of zest and optimism? Now, the highlight of your day might be a coffee break or a quick chat by the water cooler. That spark, that motivation to excel and contribute meaningfully, seems to have dimmed. When the tasks that once seemed intriguing now feel like a drag, it’s a clear indication that you’re disengaged and your heart isn’t in your job anymore. Keep in mind that a loss of engagement is not a personal failing, but often a mismatch between individual goals and organizational dynamics
In January 2023, Gallup released a report on employee engagement, revealing that a whopping 18% of the full and part-time employees surveyed are “actively disengaged” in their work. This figure has slowly been rising since 2019. The specific elements that have been driving such prominent disengagement found by the report include things like clarity of expectations, connection to the mission or purpose of the company, and opportunities to learn and grow.
Counting down the minutes until quitting time: You find yourself glancing at the clock every few minutes, hoping that the hands have moved more than they actually have. Lunchtime can’t come soon enough, and you’ve probably mentally checked out hours before the official end of your workday. If your primary work activity has become a countdown to freedom, your boredom levels have hit a new peak.
Besides further fueling your boredom, constant clock-watching can also impact your overall productivity and creativity. The time spent with your chin in your hand and your eyes searing into the countdown could be used to start planning your new job strategy!
No longer feeling challenged or stimulated
There’s a rhythm to work, a balance between challenge and monotony. However, if you feel like you’re running on an endless treadmill, doing the same tasks day in and day out with no variation or increase in complexity, it becomes a problem. The absence of challenges and the lack of mental stimulation can make even the most patient of us scream, “My job is boring!”
In fact, a 2018 Korn Ferry report found that 33% of people changing jobs do so because their job is boring and they need a new challenge. The sustained boredom stemming from lack of challenge or stimulation can lead to further, more serious problems, including depression or burnout.
So, if you’re nodding in agreement to these signs, it might be time to address the elephant in the room and acknowledge that your current role is not sparking joy or excitement in you.
Understanding why your job is boring
Every job has its routine; but when that routine saps your energy, it’s time to investigate. Before you throw in the towel and seek greener pastures, pinpointing what’s causing your dissatisfaction and understanding the root of your boredom can help you better target a new job.
Is it the job, or is it you?
Reflecting on personal feelings and motivations is key. Sometimes, external factors aren’t the culprits. It might be a personal phase or an internal sentiment that’s making you feel disconnected. Maybe you’re going through a significant change in your personal life, or perhaps your initial passion for the industry has waned over time. Whatever it is, introspection will allow you to decipher whether it’s the job that’s boring or if you’re experiencing a temporary phase of demotivation.
Lack of growth opportunities
There’s nothing like the feeling of being stuck in a rut, seeing no upward or lateral mobility, or avenues for professional development and learning. If promotions and internal moves are scarce, and learning opportunities are limited, it’s natural to feel stagnant and unfulfilled. No one wants to be in a job where their skills and potentials are underutilized or where they can predict their professional trajectory for the next decade down to the T.
Repetitive tasks and lack of variety
Day in, day out—if you’re doing the exact same thing with little to no variation, it’s bound to wear you down. Humans thrive on challenges and novelty. If your tasks feel like you’re on a never-ending loop with no diversification in sight, it’s no wonder you find your job boring.
If you can take the time to figure out the underlying reasons for your boredom at work, it’ll be a lot easier to decide on your next steps. Whether that’s addressing the issues head-on with your employer or seeking a role better suited to your needs and aspirations, understanding the “why” is the first step to reclaiming your professional joy.
7 steps to find a more fulfilling job
If you’re sick of being bored at work and have decided it’s time to step away from the doom and gloom of your boring job, we’ve got you covered! Finding a job that’s truly fulfilling will help you trade tedious tasks for passion projects. Here’s how to do it in seven steps:
1. Self-reflection and assessment: This isn’t a mere sit-and-think exercise; it’s about diving deep into your psyche. What makes you tick? What projects or tasks have made you lose track of time in the past? It’s like job dating—you’ve got to know yourself first before you find the perfect match. So, grab a journal, and note down your passions, skills, and interests. The intersection of these three might just hint at your ideal job.
2. Utilize career assessment tools: Remember those career tests you took back in school? They’ve grown up and become far more sophisticated. Use modern assessment tools to align your passions (using tests like the Motivational Assessment of Personal Potential) and skills (using tests like The Career Test) with potential professions. They might introduce you to careers you never even knew existed!
3. Networking: Start mingling, both online and offline. Engage with professionals in fields you’re curious about. LinkedIn, industry seminars, or even a casual coffee chat can offer insights that you won’t find in any job description. Career coach and TikTok content creator Janel Abrahami says strategic networking can be a job-hunting lifesaver. “That’s how you fall into opportunities that are really meant for you and are never at the mercy of a passive job application process ever again,” she shares in a video.
4. Attend workshops, seminars, and job fairs: These events are goldmines of information. Not only do you get a sneak peek into the latest industry trends, but you also get to see which companies are on the lookout for talent. Plus, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. You can find local events on sites like Eventbrite and Meetup.
5. Expanding your skill set: Interested in a field but don’t have the necessary skills yet? No worries! Enroll in a course, get that certification, or even just start with some online tutorials. With so many resources available online, there’s a wealth of knowledge just a click away.
6. Researching companies: A fulfilling role isn’t just about the job description; it’s about the company culture too. Do your homework. Which businesses are known for innovative projects, employee growth, or even a fun work environment? Aligning your values with your workplace can make a world of difference.
7. Crafting a passionate cover letter and resume: This is your time to shine. Craft the perfect cover letter by going beyond the typical “roles and responsibilities.” Highlight experiences that shaped you, projects that challenged you, and aspirations that drive you. Let potential employers see not just your past, but your potential. Don’t forget to tailor each application to fit the job and company you’re applying to.
The importance of seeking fulfilling work
Finding fulfillment in your professional life goes beyond chasing an attractive paycheck. Going after passion, purpose, and those little moments of workplace joy that make the grind worthwhile can save you from falling into boring job after boring job.
If you’re sick of the boredom of your current role, revamp your resume and reconnect with what drives you. You deserve a job that makes Monday mornings feel less like a chore and more like an opportunity, and you shouldn’t have to settle for stale coffee and monotonous tasks! When the majority of our waking hours are spent at work, shouldn’t those hours be vibrant, challenging, and, maybe even fun? Having a boring job doesn’t need to define your career—there’s a role filled with passion and excitement waiting for you. Now, go find it!
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