Going into a boring job every day is a recipe for stress, stagnation, and burnout. Instead, a job should be enjoyable, rewarding, and lead to your growth. If your job does not engage you, that is a problem, not just for you but also for your organization.
A lack of engagement accounts for about $500 billion loss of productivity every year in the US. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both management and employees that they are engaged in their work.
A lot of content around dealing with a boring job focuses on what you can do about it. Everyone wants to offer their two cents without trying to figure out the cause of the problem. Therefore, we are going to start with the potential causes for your job being dull. Taking this approach will make it easier to figure out solutions that work for YOU instead of cookie-cutter solutions that do nothing. Therefore, here are ten reasons why your job is tedious.
If you struggle with burnout, here is a quiz that can help you recognize what your type of burnout is.
1. Your job doesn't challenge you.
One of the most important aspects of a job is that it challenges you. If your work is monotonous, constant, and too predictable, then that can become boring very quickly. Organizations seek to implement more predictability in their employees because that reduces the chance of errors. However, if employees feel that they are stagnating, their work quality will naturally start to decline. Therefore, too much predictability is neither good for the organization nor the employee.
Moreover, it is the employer's responsibility to make sure that their employees have an adequate level of challenge so that they grow from a career perspective. An employer who does not take an interest in the growth of their employees is doing them an injustice.
2. Your workplace's mission does not resonate with you.
An often underlooked part of a job search is about determining whether you are working at a place whose mission resonates with you. Finding a company that you resonate with can be difficult, especially when you are just starting. Your priority might be to look for a job that pays the bills. That is completely fine. As you spend more time in your job, your priorities might change. You may want to look for something more.
However, if you happen to find a job whose mission matters to you, you should strongly consider grabbing that opportunity. The mission doesn't have to be grand, but if it is something that you resonate with, then you will naturally be motivated to do a good job. That will show in your performance and will hopefully grab the attention of your employer.
The prerequisite to this step is to know what you care about. Here is an exercise that you can do to figure that out: list out 10-15 things that you think are wrong with the world. There are no right or wrong answers, just your thoughts, and opinions. While listing these, you will likely not be surprised by the first five, but the rest might feel novel to you as they arise to the top of your mind. Pay particular attention to these, and if you want, write a few paragraphs elaborating on them. This exercise will help you learn about your value system.
3. You are not assigned enough work.
The typical 9-5 grind spans 8 hours of work, but very few salaried employees work that much. The average salaried employee works about 5-6 hours a day, which results in wastage of about 3 hours every day. Some employers choose to call these employees lazy, but that is not necessarily true. "Lazy" is a blanket diagnosis for an underlying problem. One of the reasons someone can be seen as lazy is because they don't have enough work, which leads to procrastination.
If an employee is not being given enough engaging work, that needs to be addressed with their supervisor. A lack of engaging work hampers their growth at the company and makes their job boring. Over time, this can lead to a decline in the quality of work.
At the same time, it's important to remember that overworking an employee also leads to burnout, so a balance of an adequate amount of engaging work needs to be maintained.
4. Your day-to-day work is not interesting.
Another reason your job feels boring might be that your everyday work is not interesting to you. For example, do you feel that you are overqualified for the things you do every day? Do you feel that you have to do a lot of grunt work? Feelings like these can make your job appear boring as well.
Try to distinguish between the feelings of being overqualified and the reality of being overqualified. Sometimes, when we feel that we are not doing a great job at work, our minds try to protect us from those feelings of inadequacy by constructing the feeling that we are overqualified. That is the function of the ego.
Therefore, try to be aware of whether your mind is doing that or not. If you conclude that you are overqualified, then it may be time to have a conversation with your supervisor about your future in the company or even look for a job that you are more appropriately qualified for.
5. You are not rewarded for your efforts.
Many employees feel that they are not rewarded enough for their work. If you are very motivated and put in a lot of effort into your work and don't get appreciated or rewarded enough, that can lead to burnout. One of the most common reasons for burnout is a lack of appreciation for employees who are "go-getters".
It might be helpful to have a conversation with your employer if you feel this way. It can look something like, "Hey, I am very motivated to work at this company. I really like the work that I do. At the same time, sometimes I feel that I am not given the appropriate incentives for the amount of work that I do. What do you think?" End it with an open-ended question.
It would also help bring up some instances where you did extra work outside your responsibility and job description. Demonstrate a history of going above and beyond for your organization. Additionally, if you are looking for a pay raise, it is better to look for a title upgrade than a flat pay raise. That shows that you want to take more responsibility for more compensation, as opposed to more compensation for doing the work you already agreed to do.
6. You don't think that your work is impactful in your company.
Often, it is difficult to tell if your work is impactful in your company. You might feel that if you were to leave, then not much would change. You may feel easily replaceable. If that is the case, then that can make your motivation for your job decline. After all, if there is no point to your work, then why do it?
However, this kind of thinking may arise from low self-esteem and low self-worth. An employee is hired in a company because their services are needed. It takes resources to find a good fit for the job, and if you've been hired, that means management picked you for the role. Not every job needs to be grand to be valuable - every cog in the wheel is required for the machinery to run smoothly. However, not everyone's work manifests on the top-level significantly, which does not mean that it does not have value.
7. You are not growing in your career.
You may feel like you are stagnating in your job. That can be due to multiple reasons: perhaps you aren't being challenged enough, you aren't getting enough work, or you aren't resonating with your company's mission, due to which you aren't motivated. Each of these challenges has its solutions. However, all of them start with a conversation: either with yourself or your manager.
You could talk to your manager about not being challenged or not having enough work. You could do some introspection to figure out why you don't resonate with your company's mission. We have discussed these previously in this article.
There might be influences from your personal life that are hampering your work. Perhaps you are going through relationship or familial problems. Maybe you are depressed or suffer from anxiety. These things can creep into your work life and start to cause problems, hampering your growth. As a result, you may start to feel stagnant. In such situations, it is best to address the root cause. If there are issues in your personal life, you may want to take time off to address those. If you feel depressed or anxious, it would be worth getting an evaluation from a mental health professional or even consider getting a Healthy Gamer Coach if it is a non-clinical concern.
8. You are not a good fit for your work.
If you are challenged enough, have enough work, and generally don't have issues with management, then you may not be a good fit for your job. Your workplace might not suit you, and you may not like the culture. Perhaps the hours aren't what you want, the work is too inconsistent (or too consistent), or the employee culture too different from what you are comfortable with.
Sometimes, an inappropriate fit gets misdiagnosed as a boring job. However, if all the other boxes are checked, and you are still bored in your job, it may be an issue of fit.
If that is the case, then you may want to consider switching jobs. It may also be worth having a conversation with someone close to you about your feelings. Perhaps the diagnosis of "inappropriate fit" is incorrect, and there are other issues behind you finding your job boring.
If you absolutely hate your job, then this blog post might help you determine why and what you can do about it.
9. You don't have a work-life balance.
Many people cannot disconnect from their work and stay plugged in long after their work hours are over. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem since a lot more people have started to work from home. The boundaries between work and relaxation have blurred since work is so easily accessible from our laptops.
Continuous exposure to work can also make it boring. If your mind is exposed to the same stimulus every day, the stimulus can start to feel monotonous. As a result, you may subconsciously (or consciously) tune it out. The lack of work-life balance can lead to severe burnout, so you may want to address it in its early stages.
Put measures in place to create a separation between work and relaxation. Create separate profiles on your electronic devices: one for work and one for home. Separate your work and personal email inboxes, and let your colleagues know that you will not be available after a particular time. Try not to attend to work-related calls after your workday.
10. Your temperament does not allow you to stick to just one job.
We have this idea that everyone has to do one job for 40 hours a week. We think that it is the only way to have a successful career. However, that is not necessarily true. Not everyone's mind is designed to focus on one thing for long periods. So, if you find yourself getting bored of your job, switching to another job may not be the only answer. Perhaps you need to juggle more than one job at the same time.
A change can be as beneficial as a rest. For example, if you have gotten bored of your job but want to stay because it pays well, perhaps the solution is to start a side hustle. Alternatively, you could look for another part-time job that is quite different from your day job. The change might allow you to come back to your day job with fresh eyes and may even boost your performance.