Why Boring Work is Subjective and Necessary

Your employee, Jill, wants to talk. She sits you down, darts her eyes around the room nervously, and comes out with it: she finds her job boring. You’re taken aback — you thought she loved her job! You might scramble to fix the problem, but you need to realize: if your employee came to you to tell you they’re bored of their job, there’s probably a bigger problem at hand. If not, then they have to realize two things: Boring is often subjective, and almost always necessary. Here’s why.

Boring Work is Vague

“Bored” can mean a lot of things. Some people think it’s synonymous with “disengaged” when it comes to the workplace, and would point out that only 31.5% of U.S. employees are engaged at their jobs. That might be true, but there are a number of reasons your employees could be bored at work. They could find the work unchallenging, under-stimulating or have lost their passion for their industry.

What’s more, “boring” isn’t something you can fix easily. Different people find different things boring, and you have to modify your approach to fit the candidates. Some people find organizing paperwork relaxing, while others find it dreadfully monotonous. Saying a job is “boring” isn’t helpful, because it doesn’t properly identify the problem.Why is the job boring? Ask your employees more about their issue. Don’t assume “boring” is bad and leave it at that.

Boring is Necessary

Boring isn’t always mandatory to working in certain fields — it can often be just as beneficial as the work we’re passionate about. In fact, some of the most important parts of our working lives can be the most boring. As Sharlyn Lauby(@sharlyn_lauby) explains, we still need to dedicate ourselves to whatever we might find the least exciting.

"Some of the things we need to know in our careers and lives we won’t consider fun. But we have to learn them anyway. At least if we want to be successful, we need to be capable. Here’s an example. Driving is not my favorite thing to do. But I need to know how to drive in order to go to work and school, take vacation, and run personal errands. So, I drive and give it my 100%."

So no matter what part of your work your employees find boring, you need to encourage your employees to do it well.

What to Do About Boredom

Sometimes the best way for employees to deal with boring work is to buck up and find ways to make it exciting. No matter what career they choose, work won’t be a cavalcade of fun events one after the other. The same goes for your employees. You can’t fix every issue with their job because people have to file expense reports, and those usually aren’t very fun.

However, there are times when you can take steps to fix an employee’s boredom with their job. If your employee doesn’t find their work fulfilling, and you see signs that they might be better suited for another department, don’t hesitate to ask them what they’d rather be doing. At work, 25% of employees would feel more motivated if they were doing what they did best. Take this into account when talking to an unmotivated employee. Are they burnt out, or simply looking for another outlet to apply themselves?

Like we said, curing boredom doesn’t come easily. Not every employee can be reassigned into being motivated. You may have to put up with a certain amount of disengagement at your company, because it tends to come with the territory. But this isn’t always a bad thing, and while not everyone likes boring work, “boring” means different things to different people, and it’s often necessary and vital to the workplace.

Bio: Sean Pomeroy

While selling other companies software solutions, Sean worked with Michael Warden to design over a dozen applications for different organizations and industries over the years. Sean now focuses on the vision for the company, business development, and continues involvement in the software design of Cyber Recruiter, applicant tracking system and Cyber Train, learning management system. Want to see what Visibility Software has to offer? Take a demo now.

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Tweet me at @VisSoft

Views: 271

Comment by Katrina Kibben on November 17, 2015 at 10:18am

I actually think "bored" people need to be given goals around passion projects. Whether it's working on a nonprofit contribution or a project that's out of scope but in their interests, they should use down time to pursue passions and learn new things. It goes back to the whole 20% Google policy (which I don't think exists now - still a good concept.)

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