I want to see a show of hands: who finds their job boring?
I wouldn’t be surprised if no one raised their hand. Not in real life, anyway. Maybe the result would be different if you could answer anonymously, if you could send in your response under an alias and tell the truth of your interest in your job.
Hey, there’s no shame in it. Despite all the peppy live your passion, love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life propaganda that is spilled willy-nilly around the internet, I’d take a bet that a lot more people think their job is boring than you think. Of course, no one really wants to admit that their job is boring, but if you happened to drip a little truth serum in their coffee or buy them rounds all night, you might just get it out of them.
I’m admitting it a little more openly. My job is boring. It’s one of those jobs that I struggle to explain to people when I’m asked what I do. I’m the Chandler of the gang.
I never thought I’d be in the job I’m in, but we sometimes surprise ourselves with our life decisions. Now, don’t get me wrong, my boring job is not a poor life decision – in fact, it was a very good one. Besides choosing my husband, it’s up there with the best that I’ve made.
My job is close to home, pays me well, is flexible, both fits my skillset and challenges me, makes a difference in the world (or so I’d like to hope) and has provided me with amazing colleagues who have turned into fast and tightknit friends. It ticks all my employment boxes except one – the nature of the work is boring.
This is a personal opinion, obviously. I personally find my job boring. It doesn’t excite me. It’s as simple as that.
Taking all that into account, am I going to quit my job or look for something else? I’ll be honest, I have thought about it. But, I also thought why give up something that’s almost perfect for something that could potentially untick boxes that have already been ticked?
I pondered if there was a way to lessen the effect of the boredom that didn’t involve switching jobs and taking the risk of unticking some of my boxes, which I deduced was highly likely unless I found the ultimate job.
I realised that I had fallen into a pattern: I’d get up, go to the gym, go to work, come home, switch on the TV, cook dinner, eat dinner, clean up and then continue to watch TV until my husband told me to go to bed while I argued that I most definitely wasn’t falling asleep on the lounge.
After a few months, I noticed the problem. I had no life. I had no hobbies, no interests. If you asked me to tell you five things about myself other than basic demographic information, I’d struggle.
I had the capacity to have a work-life balance, but I was missing the life part. I was boring. I had become my boring job.
This had to change. I made a list of hobbies or activities that I wanted to try out and over a number of months, I committed myself to staying away from the television (for the most part or at least on most days) and I tried out different ways to relax and detach myself from work.
My list of hobbies aimed to make sure I had fun, felt as if I’d had sufficient me-time and didn’t cost an arm and a leg – that meant that travelling was off the list.
You can argue with me that watching TV is a hobby. Call it what you want for yourself, maybe it makes you feel differently, but for me, watching TV made my mind turn to mush. Continuous nights in front of the flashing screen didn’t give me any joy or satisfaction. It was no longer a treat to switch off completely, it was just mindless zombifying.
Some hobbies stuck, some were major flops, some seemed like I might like to do them now and again, and others I just did not have the patience for. But either way, committing to this project gave me a sense of satisfaction in myself and gave me something to focus on outside of work. I noticed that when I spent time in the evening or on the weekend doing something completely different to my job – something I actually enjoyed and found fun – I didn’t focus so much on how boring I found my work.
Like I’ve mentioned in my book, there is no science behind it. It’s all based on my personal experience. By giving myself things to look forward to – that didn’t involve inactively staring at a moving screen – I felt more fulfilled in my life outside of work.
This book may be called The Boring Job Project, but it’s my boring job that I’m talking about. I believe that no matter what job or career you have chosen, making time to achieve something outside of work is extremely important, whether you find your work boring or not.
Feeding our interests in our spare time makes us better, happier workers (this is one is scientifically proven!) which is why when it comes to work-life balance, you probably already have the work part, so now it’s time to get a life!