5 Reasons You’re Bored With Your Job & How to Fix it

5 Reasons You’re Bored With Your Job & How to Fix it

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How to know when to step up, mix it up, or move on

According to a recent Gallup survey, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. If you’re one of the other 87% looking to find a job that you enjoy, at an organization where you can make a meaningful contribution, then this post (and “cheat sheet” infographic) will help you on your way.



Scenario 1: You basically enjoy your job (or have been at it for fewer than 6 months), but the initial challenge has worn off and you’re beginning to feel restless…


What to Do:

✓ Talk with your supervisor about taking on additional responsibilities and projects within your role.

✓ Proactively identify tasks that you can do.

✓ Ask for feedback about what you do well and also how you could grow and improve.

Helpful Tips:

Consider taking on projects that will help you to advance to your next desired role and ask your supervisor for suggestions; however, if you’ve been in your current role for fewer than 6 months, be mindful to frame it

in terms of the benefits to the organization rather than your personal desire to advance your career. It’s a subtle distinction,

but it makes a huge difference in how others react to your ambition. (Research shows that this is especially true for women, unfortunately.)


Scenario 2: You like the organization that you work for, but you want to try something new (e.g., move from a software engineering role to a design role).


What to Do:

The feasibility of this option depends on how extreme the transition is (e.g., software engineering to design v. accounting to design) as well as your knowledge and skills related to the new role. Make a list of the competencies and training that you have in the target area and have an honest conversation with your supervisor about your desire to change roles; ask her whether this is a possibility and what actions you’d need to take to make it happen.

Helpful Tips:

✓ It’s important to be proactive here; if your supervisor is supportive, take the initiative to come up with a plan, training goals, and timelines.

✓ Explore taking on small projects in the target area while you’re in your current role.

✓ If your supervisor isn’t supportive, it may be time to look for additional opportunities elsewhere and/or build experience by doing external consulting in the target area.


Scenario 3: You like the organization you work for, but are ready to jump to the next level in your career trajectory.


What to Do:

✓ Review the job description for the role that you’re aiming for and think about steps that you can take to show that you’re ready for it.

✓ Talk with your supervisor about your advancement goals and take the initiative to develop a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. Even if your supervisor is hesitant, you should be focusing on creating a plan to further develop relevant skills.

Helpful Tips:

✓If you can’t easily access the job description for your desired role, research similar titles/descriptions online.

✓Consider whether there’s a need for a role that doesn’t yet exist at your company.

✓If your supervisor isn’t supportive, this could indicate that you lack one or more of the skills required for the next role, or that it’s time to move on. Think carefully and honestly about which is more likely and proceed accordingly.


Scenario 4: You are at the right organization in the right role, but you work for an incompetent, unethical, or abusive boss and are starting to “check out.”


What to Do:

Ask yourself the following questions:

✓ Is there someone at work who you trust and can talk with about this? Do you feel comfortable formally reporting it?

✓ Can you work for another supervisor at the same organization?

✓ Can you find a way to work with this supervisor without being spiritually broken in the process?

✓ Is it time to plan your exit strategy?

Helpful Tips:

Be realistic: is your boss just difficult or is s/he actually incompetent, unethical, or abusive? If it’s one or more of the latter, don’t be afraid to report the bad behavior. If you’re experiencing it, others may be as well. Just be sure to carefully document everything (dates, what happened, any follow up, etc.). Also, be aware that retaliation on the part of your boss or the organization, for any complaints that you file, is illegal.


Scenario 5: You’re on the wrong career path all together, which is leading to low motivation and interest.


What to Do:

✓ Take some time to explore and identify your values, strengths, skills, interests and passions, as well as how you like to work. This article can help.

✓ On your own or with a coach, identify career options that would be the “best fit,” given #1.

✓ Research options, talk with people, network.

✓ When you’re ready, make the leap!

Helpful Tips:

Don’t give up hope, and remember:

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~E.E. Cummings


Awesome readers–do you have advice to add, questions to ask, or related ideas? Please leave them in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed this article, sign up for our newsletter and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks and have a great day!

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Danielle Harlan is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential (www.leadershipandhumanpotential.com) and author of the leadership book, The New Alpha (amzn.to/29C0V6j). She earned her doctorate in political science and M.A. in education from Stanford University, where she was a Jacob K. Javits National Fellow and received a Centennial Teaching Award for excellence in instruction. Prior to launching the Center, she was the Chief of Operations for the Carnegie Foundation, where she worked to harness the power of networks and quality improvement strategies in order to solve important educational problems. Named one of Silicon Valley's "40 Under 40," Danielle has also been a speaker for TEDx and worked as an instructor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and U.C. Berkeley Extension's Corporate and Professional Development Program. In addition, she has given guest lectures at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the “d.school”) and the Career Development Center at Stanford, and has been featured in leading publications such as Fast Company, Forbes, and Women's Health. Danielle started her career as a Teach For America corps member and later served as a mentor and advisor for Global Leadership Adventures, an international leadership development and service program. In addition to teaching in the U.S., she has taught in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, and South Africa. She is a member of the International Leadership Association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, and the National Association for Female Executives.