Are you bored at work?

A bit of song lyric – from Morrissey – “I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I’m miserable now”.

I don’t know if boredom was his problem but I’m sure it is for a lot of people – I’ve talked to plenty of them!

What a waste in an economy that’s in so much trouble. All that energy and creativity leaking away like water from a burst main that no one’s spotted yet when it could and should be being channelled into productive activity.

Picture a world in which everyone works at something that inspires and engages them. Where could we all be if everyone was focusing all their attention and talent on their work?

[Of course that would also require employers to “harvest” all this potential. I’m continually surprised and depressed by the number of firms who implement new or revamped systems without consulting the people who actually worked with the old ones. So often this just throws up a whole new set of problems and costs money instead of saving it.]

Back to boredom though: why are you bored?

Did you somehow fall into a job that you now realise isn’t “you”?

Has a previously satisfactory job morphed into something you wouldn’t have signed up for?

Is it a job you’re over-qualified for but you accepted it for lack of anything better?

Whatever the reason, don’t let yourself be dulled into putting up with it.
Journalist Katherine Whitehorn’s careers advice was “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.”

What do you love doing? How can you arrange it so that someone pays you to do it?

Tip: Don’t know what you’d really love to do? Start by asking yourself what you’d do if you knew nothing could go wrong.

Dos and don’ts of reinventing your career.

Do ignore the naysayers who’d have you believe that going for your dream job is unrealistic: they’re very keen for you to be “sensible” and “pragmatic”.

But if this is what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life, you need to go after the biggest and the best that you can possibly get – settling for something “sensible” will leave you bored and frustrated.

Do take the time and make the effort to explore the critical factors that will help you find the work that fits you like a pair of handmade shoes.

You need to be very clear about what values are important to you, what your preferences are in terms of interests, locations, colleagues etc and what resources you have or need to acquire.

Do make the process of clarifying the critical factors as fun and creative as you can: use MindMaps with lots of colour and pictures. Create a mood board with pictures from magazines to illustrate what you’re aiming for so that you have concrete evidence of your goals to inspire you.

Do find yourself a buddy who can give you support and cheer you on: maybe someone who wants to change their life for the better, too, so you can help each other out. A word of warning, though – choose carefully! You need someone who can be objective and won’t just use the opportunity to tell you all about their experiences.

Do consider investing in professional help – then you know you’ll get the objectivity and support you need for as long as you need it.

Don’t assume that you’ve failed if you don’t get what you’re aiming for exactly as you want it or immediately. Put the idea of failure out of your mind – you’ve only “failed” if you’ve given up trying!

Don’t let other people put you off. If you’ve done your research and preparation carefully and thoroughly and you know it’s what you want, go for it.

Don’t forget the benefits of your success for other people – seeing someone else achieving their dream career is very inspiring and motivating for the people around you.

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