Last week, I wrote about a vexing problem for many knowledge workers: Disengagement from work. Sometimes, despite your most well-meaning efforts, you zone out from work because you have either failed to find value in what you do or the work no longer challenges you. If you currently find yourself in this scenario, all is not lost. There are some steps you can take to re-engage with what you do.
Speak to your Line Manager
Hopefully, you work in an organisation that fosters open communication. Tell your Line Manager if you have been bored at work for quite some time. Perhaps you have failed to understand how the work you do feeds into what your department does and how that is important to the organisation. Your Line Manager might have more information about the organisation’s goals and can help you realise the value you add. If you are seeking more challenging tasks, your Line Manager can help arrange that for you. Before you arrange that meeting, however, be sure to have put in the required work to make your case. If you have acquired new skills, certifications and qualifications, bring them up and show how you are ready to handle bigger responsibilities. Show how you have done your role diligently for quite some time and have outgrown your responsibilities. Your Line Manager may not give you a more interesting task just because you ask for it. Be prepared to prove you can do it.
Change the organisational culture
This is not an easy task to do and may not be possible if your organisation only pays lip service to open feedback. However, if enough workers feel there have been too many meetings lately and would like more time to work on other tasks, then you could all make a case to HR about the need to institute measures such as a “No meeting Thursday.” If everyone knows they aren’t allowed to schedule a meeting on Thursday, you should be able to work on your tasks in peace and not have to fake being in a meeting.
Create an exit plan
Let me make one thing clear. I will never advise anyone to quit a job today just because they don’t like it. That’s highly dangerous advice for most people and is only practical if you happen to be independently wealthy and don’t need to work to pay bills. However, there are times when you do your absolute best but just can’t connect with the work you do. There is a possibility the problem is not with you but with the job. If you have consistently failed to find value in what you do and strongly believe you are in the wrong job, then create an exit strategy. Ramp up your CV and start looking for the job you feel will be a better fit for your skills. When you find it, quit.