How to counter boredom on the job

It’s easy to ponder the possibilities with other employers when you’re bored with your job. So how do you beat back boredom and find contentment at work?

That’s what one reader asked recently on the Admin Pro Forum:

“I tend to move on from a job every two or three years because I get bored with seeing the same building, the same people, making the same commute day in and day out. … I tend to do well and my bosses always come up with new challenges for me, but it’s hard for me not to daydream about what else might be out there that’s simply different. I worry that as I get older, this attitude might begin to really cost me a good career. If I feel at my core that my working life should be a constant journey of discovery, how do I keep from wanting to be anywhere but where I am?”

 — Millie, event coordinator

We reached out to workplace ex­­perts to get their advice.

Tough Talks D

Overcome job discontent with grate­­­­ful­­ness, suggests Patricia Thomp­­son, a management consultant and corporate psychologist at Silver Lin­­ing Psychology. Job changes can bring initial surges of happiness, but after a while we adapt and the exciting job once again feels devoid of happiness.

“To counteract this tendency, take time to write down the things at work you’re grateful for,” Thompson says. “It could be big things such as your salary or small things such as a pleasant interaction with a co-worker. Doing this will give you a greater sense of appreciation for the work you’re doing.”

Negative self-talk about your work experience can lead to an actual negative work experience. “What’s the story you’re telling yourself about your job?” says Sally Anne Giedrys, career-reinvention coach and founder of Whole Life Strategies. “Often, a change in your own internal narrative is what’s needed to see things differently. As long as you’re telling the story that your job is boring, that is how you’ll experience it.”

When you’re feeling stagnant, stretch yourself. “If there are no special projects in which you can take part, strive to develop yourself personally,” Thompson says. “By focusing on personal development, you will find that your job provides you with lots of opportunities for learning, whether it is picking up a new skill, developing interpersonally, or facing a fear.”