Today I received the 4765th email from a reader who said they are bored and stuck at work. And, almost all people I know, answer this when I ask how’s work? “Not bad.”
Not bad? You might as well say, “I’m bored. Stuck. And not challenged.”
In today’s economy, job burn-out is not the biggest problem. People are more likely to get bored instead of working so hard that they get a nervous breakdown.
People are also more likely to get an emotional crisis because they are bored out of their minds. Sounds familiar? If this is you, you must be careful if:
- You’re not excited before bedtime to start the next working day.
- You’re glad the workday is over.
- You’re on autopilot.
- You have no perspective, no mission, no vision.
I’m not going to pretend I never feel that way. From time to time, even people who love their job get bored. But there’s always a reason for those things. In fact, there are 2 primary reasons you’re feeling bored.
#1: You Stopped Challenging Yourself
Maybe you hate your boss, co-workers, company culture, or industry. Maybe you’ve tried changing things. That didn’t work out. And now you’re bitter about it. What happens next? You give up.
Anytime you found yourself going through the motions at work, you gave up. That’s what happens when we feel helpless. In science, that’s called Learned Helplessness. It’s a state of mind where you accept unpleasant stimuli.
And what’s more unpleasant than a stale job? Probably nothing in our safe world.
You spend most of your waking hours at work. So from my perspective, having a mentally unchallenging job is a very unpleasant thing.
“But I can’t just find something else!”
That’s the learned helplessness talking. Why not?
Let me ask you again: Why not?
When you stop challenging yourself, you stop growing. The learning curve flattens out. It’s as simple as that. Also, you don’t have to hate your job to stall. I know plenty of people who know their job TOO well. That’s exactly the same: You stop growing.
What can you do to prevent that?
- Always redefine your job
- Take on different tasks (even outside your responsibilities)
- Keep learning more about your job
- Set new goals
#2: You Have No Clear Vision
In 1968, a 28-year-old man called Ralph Lifshitz started a fashion brand. Lifshitz had the vision to create lifestyle products that were inspired by polo. The sport was invented in ancient Persia, somewhere between the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Today, polo is a sport that’s played by the elite.
And Lifshitz, who changed his last name to Lauren, saw an opportunity to bring the privileged lifestyle of polo to his brand: Polo by Ralph Lauren.
His label has come a long way since 1968. Today, it’s a worldwide brand with 7.4 billion dollars in revenue. But it all started with the vision of Ralph Lauren:
“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”
It doesn’t matter whether your vision is to build a big brand, become the best at what you do, or simply raise your children in the best way possible, you need a vision.
If you don’t have a vision, make something up. What do you think? That people are born with a set of dreams and desires? Fuck no. We live in a world that’s made by other people’s imaginations. At least, that’s where it all started.
Also, a vision is not something like: “On February 15, 2023, I will have a business empire.” That kind of statement sounds delusional. Instead, just come up with a sense of direction. What do you want your life, business, or career to look like? That’s the difference between a goal and a vision. The latter is less specific.
For instance, my vision for my career and business is to stay independent — financially and creatively. And for my blog, my vision is to help all my readers to live a purposeful life.
Create a vision and remind yourself of it every day. And if you change along the way, change your vision. No matter what you do, never live without one.
Bored at work? That’s your fault.
It’s time for some real talk. It’s not your boss’s fault your bored. It’s also not the economy or your boring city. It’s YOU.
I say this because I’ve been there many times. And every time I was bored, I was the cause. I stopped growing, let go of my vision, and became lazy.
All those things are what boredom feeds off. Boredom loves it when you give up. It’s up to you to say “no” to boredom. And the only way to do that is by taking action.