After you’ve struggled through mastering the challenges of a new job, boredom often sets in. And that may precede a decline in performance. People crave intellectual stimulation. To work at peak levels, they need to feel vital and energized. Unfortunately, most occupations just can’t keep pace with the desire for new knowledge, so many workers end up going through the motions just to collect a paycheck.
In a perfect world you’d score a promotion or land a new job each time you reached an intellectual plateau, but realistically you’ll probably end up staying in each position for longer than you expected, requiring you to seek new sources of intellectual stimulation. If that sounds familiar, don’t stagnate: Fight boredom with these tactics.
- Stay busy: Even if your tasks and duties remain the same, being busy can help stave off boredom. If you’re constantly watching the clock, you probably don’t have enough to do. Ask your boss for more assignments or volunteer to help co-workers. Varying your routine can help you climb out of a rut or reinvigorate your brain cells by learning a new technology.
- Ask for new responsibilities: Don’t wait until your performance heads south. Take the initiative and ask your team lead for a change in responsibilities. Before you meet, have a specific assignment or project in mind.
- Just do it: You don’t need to be enrolled in a formal mentoring program to take a younger worker under your wing, and you don’t need permission to tackle an assignment that’s being overlooked. Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, so don’t be afraid to take on new responsibilities even when they’re not offered.
- Expand your intellect: Although they may work in the same occupation for years, many people remain energized because they keep growing intellectually. IT professionals can always get another certification, but why not explore something completely unrelated to technology that peaks your interest? Take up photography, go on an archeological dig, research local history, write a book. What’s important is that it stimulates you intellectually.
Are you bored at work? What’s your secret for avoiding boredom?
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman