Bored at work? Read this.
A third of all U.S. workers struggle with 'boreout.' But there are remedies.
(Page 2 of 2)
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She observes that boredom often produces feelings of resignation. "People think, 'There's nothing I can do.' Maybe there is something you can do. If your company pays for continuing education, sometimes getting involved in a class outside can show your supervisor what else you're willing to take on in your work."
Werder advises employees struggling with boreout to ask, Is this really what I want to do? "Some people are in the wrong job, though not the wrong company," he says. A worker can also ask: Do my bosses know about my ability? Do they know I don't have enough to do? Do I communicate what I want to do?
Sometimes businesses simply have too many employees for the work available. Ms. Swan offers another reason for underemployment. "A lot of people take shadow positions to what they'd really like," she says. "They love to play music, but they work for a music distributor." The task is to see if they can increase the music in another area of their life.
Other times, she adds, "Maybe the boredom is a real message that you need to make a change."
Over the years he has developed outside interests as a volunteer with nonprofit organizations. Now he would like to work for a nonprofit.
"I started my own company that does fundraising and event management for nonprofits, but that has not taken off because of my lack of after-work time to commit to it," Mr. Newberry says. "I'm constantly thinking of new jobs or new events that will hit big so I can quit my unchallenging job. I end up surfing networking sites while at work, hoping to find a lead on something."
Haase thinks about her dream job, too. "It would be wonderful if someone would hire me as a sportswriter," she says. "But the older I get, the less likely it is that I can start out at $18,000 a year in Podunk, Idaho. The job market isn't the easiest to break into. I've been looking, but money is always the biggest concern, so I have to stick with what's steady though boring, so I can pay my bills."
For those eager for greater challenges, Steve Bohler, director of the Oxford Program for Career Change in Cooperstown, N.Y., suggests a first step. "Daydream," he says. "Mentally get yourself out of your job. It's a good chance to envision what your best possible solutions are."
For employers concerned about boredom on the job, J.B. Bryant, a business consultant in Orrville, Ohio, offers this reminder: "People don't want to be bored. Given the opportunity, they'll be productive to their fullest ability."