You used to love your job, but now you're bored. You have to drag yourself to the office each day, and while you’re there, you’re not even working, just refreshing Facebook every five minutes.
If you’re being honest, you’ve outgrown your role, but you’re not ready to throw in the towel and move on just yet.
Job searches take a lot of time and effort, and—especially if you once loved your position or have close relationships with your team—you may be torn as far as whether you should try to make it work or look elsewhere.
Well, the answer depends on what’s causing your boredom, because once you know where it stems from, you’ll also be able to clearly see what your next move is. Here’s what I mean:
Stay if: You're Coasting
The truth is, you could do your work in half the time—and with your eyes closed.
If the assignments that used to challenge you now seem like rote errands, then you’re sleep-working. Sure, you can do your job really well (maybe because you’ve been in it long enough to develop superb expertise) but you dread the idea of doing the same things over and over.
Remember how you struggled to learn new skills when you started? That’s because work isn’t meant to be too easy. It’s supposed to stretch your abilities.
The good news? You can still be happy at your job. What needs to change is the kinds of projects you’re working on—and that’s something you can talk to your boss (and co-workers!) about.
Set up a meeting with your manager to explore how you can take on challenging new projects. Say, “I’d love to pursue opportunities for growth within my role. I’m only a beginner at [skill] and becoming more proficient would help me with [aspect of your job]. So, I like to work on projects that require me to practice it, such as…”
If you come with concrete ideas, you’re making it easier for your supervisor to say yes.
Another way to find out career-boosting opportunities in your day is to offer to help your co-workers. Tell them how much flexibility you have in your schedule and your interest in joining new teams.
Go if: You're Out of Sync
Once upon a time, you were bubbling with ideas. You were able to excite people around you and ultimately get results.
Now—not so much.
You’re not excited about going to the office because your ideas are constantly shut down, your suggestions are never taken, and you’re frequently asked to redo things. It’s just not clicking—but that doesn’t mean your only option is to get comfortable coping with feeling frustrated each day.
Priorities may’ve shifted for your manager, team, department, organization, or industry, and you may no longer be the right fit (or your role may no longer be right for the company). If you and your team are on different pages, it can be best for everyone involved for you to seek out an opportunity that’s more suitable for you in this stage.
While everyone has some small things they may not like about their job, successful people know better than staying in a role or at a company that’s no longer good for them.
When you accepted your current job, you felt you were making a smart decision. In that moment, you clearly saw how the position could elevate your career. Now you see something else: a new path.
Your best bet once you've come to this realization is to start actively looking for a new opportunity. To make sure you don’t end up in the same situation again, don’t apply only to roles you’re qualified for. Consider those that’ll take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to master new things.
No one wants to be bored at work every day—and no one should have to be. Do what you can to make your job grow with you, but if that isn’t possible, don’t feel bad about looking for a job that excites you.
Photo of person bored at work courtesy of Eugenio Marongiu/Getty Images.
Vadim Liberman is a talent strategist, pundit, and advocate—a chief renegade officer advancing how we think, work, and live. With an expansive background in employee engagement, internal communications, and business journalism, Vadim mixes skepticism and hope to challenge conventions and create better workplaces. Check out his blog and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.More from this Author