Part of the reason 2/3 of people aren’t enthusiastically engaged in their jobs is boredom. But underlying boredom are some contributing factors that can be fixed… if you have the courage to speak up.
- You find yourself conforming.
It’s not unusual for people to start “sleeping on the job” once they hit year 3 or 4. At this point, they know their coworkers, processes and technology aren’t perfect but have adjusted to inherent limitations. Interest in opportunities for improvement begins to wane.
Each day brings the same set of problems and responses. From a performance perspective, the sharp “blacks” and “whites” so obvious on Day 1 become indistinguishable shades of gray. At one point, you may have been saying, “I can’t believe what’s going on here!” You now find yourself saying, “I can’t believe how tired I am!”
Can you do something about this apathy that sets in out of habit? Yes. Start asking questions again. Get a mentor or a coach to help you see your way out of the forest of habitual conformism.
- You’re underwhelmed.
You may not be challenged enough by your current responsibilities. Either you’ve become too efficient and quick at completing your tasks, or you haven’t been given demanding assignments.
It’s your responsibility to speak up so change can occur. Your manager may not know you’re ready for more. Don’t be afraid of having too much work to do.
Before your boss notices that you’re sluggish and bored, ask for new assignments. Better yet, put on your innovation hat and make suggestions for your own job-enrichment program.
- You’re overwhelmed.
We sometimes withdraw from everything in an attempt to control chaos and stress. What looks like lack of commitment and disengagement is actually an effort to distance ourselves from feeling overwhelmed. Information overload is a big contributor in today’s 24/7 connected work environments.
If you cannot manage your responsibilities, figure out which areas are keeping you “stuck.” Ask for help. Your peers, colleagues and boss can often provide assistance. Talking with them may yield new insights and tips.
In my years of experience working with people, it’s rarely boredom that’s the true cause of inertia. But without a trusted peer, mentor or coach to explore the issues, things can continue on for years until it gets so bad it gets you fired. I hope not, but I’ve seen it happen.
Inertia and apathy are like gum on a shoe. It’s hard to be light on your feet when you’re stuck. Get yourself some “Goo-be-gone,” get some coaching!