Maybe You’re the Reason Your Job Is Boring
4:20 PM Thursday January 7, 2010
If you are finding your job a little boring, you aren’t alone. There are many who feel trapped in their current jobs since the economy has removed a few of the seats in the corporate game of musical chairs. But I challenge you to see that it’s actually you, not the job, that’s boring. First, see if you recognize any of these hard truths:
You’re on autopilot.
When bored, our brains shift into autopilot. This isn’t a good thing for you or your company. Unfortunately, shifting into autopilot is what our brains do best. Our past experiences create the neural pathways upon which our survival depends. The brain interprets current reality and responds to similar situations using behaviors that have served us well in the past. These shortcuts help us save time, but can also sap our interest.
Your energy level is less than impressive.
When we are bored, our energy level dissipates and we lose the focus and purpose so necessary to excel at the job at hand. Our brains no longer work for us and actually start working against us.
You’ve become a conformist.
It’s not unusual for leaders to start sleeping on the job once they hit year three or four. At this point, they have molded the organization in their own image. They know their people, processes, and technology aren’t perfect, but have adjusted to their imperfections and lose sight of the opportunities for improvement. Every day brings the same set of problems and the same responses. From a performance perspective, the sharp “blacks” and “whites” so obvious on Day 1 become indistinguishable shades of gray. “I can’t believe what’s going on here!” slowly but surely becomes “I can’t believe how tired I am!”
So what’s the solution?
Wake yourself up by renewing your leadership agenda.Re-engage by mentally firing yourself and spending the next few weeks acting as if you just joined the company. This entails assessing the current situation anew with the help of key stakeholders. Make it a disciplined process.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Although you are bored, you are also extremely busy. Your only choice is to extract yourself from day-to-day operations while you redefine your organization’s future. It’s time to delegate or defer and make sure that the “First 90 Days” activities take priority in your calendar. Activities such as clarifying strengths and opportunities, confirming the mandate for change, and determining how to better allocate existing resources.
This approach is uncomfortable and definitely not boring. Take heart that your organization can operate just fine (for a while) without you and it’s far better to fire yourself mentally today rather than wait for your organization to do so — for real.