How do you gain work experience when you’re bored stiff? Jobs are one of two things when it comes to mental stimulation: overly exciting (stressful) or a little lack luster. Some days, or weeks, are nice and right in the middle of both variants, but most of the time, we’re teetering on either bored stiff feeling like we’re going nowhere, or we can’t keep up with the madness. Let’s talk about dealing with boredom and lack of growth opportunities at work.
First, if you’re feeling bored or stagnant and are worried that you’re not adding anything to your skills repertoire, you’re not alone. All of us feel like this at one point or another, and there are several reasons for it. The first might be that you’ve been doing your job for a while and you’ve successfully mastered every portion of your role – from executing consistently to thinking proactively, you’ve got it covered. This is an excellent spot to be in! Not only are you kicking butt, but you’ve successfully been able to take over a whole section of your company without anyone else having to lend a hand. Of course, mastering everything is not as exciting as it may seem. Once you’ve found a good rhythm, you’re no longer stimulated or feel like you’re contributing new value to the team. You might feel a little concerned about losing skill sets or missing out on new things, but there are several things you can do about it.
The first thing you must do is assess whether or not you’re really doing everything you possibly can to exceed in your job. Yes, you might be meeting all of the listed requirements, but are you going above and beyond as often as you can? Are you looking for new ways to create value with your existing responsibilities? There are often ways that you can expand upon your role within your existing job, even if you want to expand beyond your speciality. The tiniest things, like drafting announcement emails about new partnerships that include statistics, could make a huge difference in your skill set and in the way that your coworkers view you. You might even find that having lunch with people outside your immediate group can help expand your knowledge of other things happening within the company and widen your view on what you can do with your role. It goes without saying, but I think it’s a good reminder, you should always make absolute certain that you are really fulfilling all of your job responsibilities before searching for new ones. Take the time to reassess your work, talk with your boss, and ask coworkers for suggestions on how to improve. Be the best at being you and there won’t be anything to worry about.
The next thing you should do is find new ways to integrate your skills within your wider team. Do you work on the Operations side, but think your work might be helpful to the Marketing team? Think about who you can talk to about surfacing your work for others to benefit from, or talk to your boss about where she thinks the other team members can benefit from your work. Working with other portions of a wider team builds valuable skills, creates new opportunities, and makes your seemingly boring job a lot more fun. Working with other team members cross functionally challenges you in new ways and opens you up to new ways of thinking, usually in a way that will benefit your skill set in the long run. Once you’ve got your first cross functional project under your belt, start recording your successes and the details behind them. Write down the names of the team mates you worked with and the information on how your project positively impacted the team. Having this track record not only makes you feel more accomplished, but can serve as the proving ground when you’re going up for promotion.
Lastly, if you’re already going way above and beyond in your current role and you’ve explored ways to improve it, you can simply open your mind to new opportunities. Rushing into something is never the best idea, so really take the time to assess what matters most to you, what makes you happy, and what you’re good at. Then, when the time is right, go after the open doors that seem interesting. New opportunities often happen without so much as the blink of an eye, which is why most of us miss them. Be on the lookout for group emails discussing a new project, swamped coworkers, or last minute needs – all three of these things could benefit you greatly by giving you new opportunities.
Any job can get boring after a while, but there’s so much you can do to make things more interesting and exciting, while building up growth opportunities and gaining new skills. Force yourself to think in new ways, be kind to coworkers and help them out when they need it, you will find a new set of skills that you never even considered when you start to look at your job and environment in new ways.