From ‘Ho-Hum’ To More Fun

Here are five ways to make a boring job better

Ticktock, ticktock: time to type the labels. Ticktock, ticktock: time to schedule next week’s lunch appointments. Ticktock, ticktock: time to fax out the budget proposals. Ticktock, ticktock: time to go home.

“At some point on the job, everyone gets bored. But continual boredom can be costly,” says Irene Stemler, president of Creating Spirit, a Chicago-based firm dedicated to helping companies help their employees achieve more fulfilling work lives. “It can cost a company via low productivity, diminished employee morale and heightened employee turnover. But, more important, boredom can cost an employee his or her sense of satisfaction and self-worth.”

Just because you find yourself growing apathetic about your daily work doesn’t mean your first impulse should be to quit. “It’s easy to make the mistake of quitting, only to end up doing the same work in a new place,” says Stemler. Instead, she recommends taking the time to evaluate your situation, pinpoint the cause of your doldrums and consider whether you can breathe new life into your position. This will likely necessitate your reassessing your talents and skills and determining what more you can bring to your job.

“Improving the current position will require an adjustment of attitude and expectations,” advises Stemler. For example, you may think that the restructuring of your position should be brought about by a promotion when, in fact, it might need to be brought about by an expectation of challenges, purpose and personal satisfaction levels. “Whatever the case may be, employees should always ask themselves, ‘What can I do to make this job better?’”

Stemler offers five tips to help bring your job back to life:

  • Enjoy your office environment. Make your office or cubicle your home away from home. That is to say, the more comfortable and personalized it is, the more you will enjoy the work that goes on in it. Decorate your space with some of your favorite items, such as pictures or poems, flowers or potpourri. Stash snacks in your drawer to nibble on, and if you’re allowed, play your favorite music at a low volume while you work.
  • Generate excitement. “The employee has to take responsibility to create what it is that’s desired,” says Stemler. Look for ways to have fun while doing your work. Diversify your tasks by taking on new duties, volunteering for other projects that capture your interest or creating a whole new job description with your boss. Concentrate on choosing those duties that lie in areas that give you the most satisfaction.
  • Find and pursue your purpose. Reflect on why you chose the position you currently have. Look for meaning in your work by reminding yourself of the connection between your job and your core values, beliefs and aspirations. “Look to fulfill at least some of your dreams and goals through the work you do,” she says. Consider how your position “fits into the big picture” of the company. Assess the impact your job has on the other departments and look for ways to heighten your productivity and improve the general outcome
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