I had a wonderful lunch with a good friend recently who is contemplating a change in her role at the company she works at. She is in a very senior position and there just is not that much higher she can go. A new role presented itself to her and we were processing the pros and cons of both current and new roles.
As I heard her describe her present role, she seemed to talk about all the things she was doing outside her the role that made the role fun for her. As she described the new role, she described it in quite detail and with substantially more enthusiasm. Without getting into any of the pros and cons, I asked her a simple question: You seemed bored with your current role. Yes?
She took a long pensive pause and then agreed. She seemed quite surprised by the realization and admission. And then made a very poignant statement: I guess I was so busy every day that it never occurred to be that being busy and being bored could be the same thing.
It is very easy to get into the daily grind at work and replace boredom with busy work. Even professional athletes, who also read this workplace blog, get into a rut of doing the same things repeatedly and suddenly start to underperform. It is not that hard to know if you are bored. Are you excited about what you do? Are you doing something creative? Are you tired at the end of the day or excited to get back the following day? Are you actually learning new things? Are you having fun? Do people want to be around you? Do ideas just come to you? Can you state the actual impact your work is having on your company or performance?
This week, take inventory of your work activities. Be honest with yourself by answering some of the questions above. What can you do to change things up? Who could you talk with to help with that? Suspends the reasons why things have to be the way they are – these reasons are often excuses for lack of courage. The irony is that if you can start having fun at work or at what you do, it will instantly be contagious and eventually be hard to live without.