The #1 Solution with Being Bored at Work
“Perhaps the world’s second worst crime is boredom. The first is being a bore.”
– Jean Baudrillard
I had a friend many years ago who had an ongoing problem with men. Once over dinner, she took responsibility for the problem as she said, “I can walk into a church with 99 men sitting at the foot of the cross and my eyes will gravitate to that one man that just got out on parole and I’ll say, ‘Ooo, he’s exciting.'” While I loved her dearly, I did not go to this friend for romantic advice. Instead, I developed a strong and rock solid romantic life by seeking the advice from people in long and healthy marriages. Around these friends, it became clear that finding some with a good heart was critical in developing a rewarding love life. The quality of our love life certainly plays a big role in our happiness. But, the possibility exists that the quality of our relationship towards work plays an even bigger role. Because that relationship also influences the quality of every other relationship in our lives.
There is nothing wrong about having excitement in our work. But, I have found that pursuing meaning and purpose is far more important than being excited all of the time. And yet, continuous boredom is a symptom of a far greater problem.
Boredom, monotony, sameness, repetitiveness are all descriptors of task-oriented routines, the very type of work being replaced by software, technology, and efficient outsourcing. Task-oriented work tends to lull workers into a trance. This is why long-term boredom kills careers and happiness.
The most dangerous boredom of all is coupled with a distinct lack of curiosity. This keeps people out of the discomfort of growth. That comfort is often protected with a type of cynicism and resignation the characterizes work as, “just a job.”
What is the best antidote to boredom?
Learning about the world around us removes any delusions of whether our inert work situation is going to change. When we learn, we change. It is always better for us to change before change is imposed on us. The change in front of us is coming directly from the growth of accessibility to information. This watershed phenomenon is leading to a culture where active learners literally own the future.
For one of the first times in American history, we are questioning what is becoming “normal” to us. The old industrial revolution based model of work was founded on boredom, repetition, and sameness. That became normal for 300 years. Most of us didn’t select work that we loved, we found work that offered security and predictability. Now, our security is derived from how much we grow? From the lens of the past, this doesn’t look like good news. But, for those of us who jump in, transformation turns out to be quite exciting and, get this, rapid personal growth turns out to be the one safe place to develop professional security.
Consequently, tomorrow’s employers will not be judged on how long they employed someone but how much that person grew while they were there. That is new terrain after an old work world where we went to school, got a degree, and stepped into that secure job. Now, even the purpose of higher education is radically changing. I believe its greatest value is in learning how to learn. Think of this. How many of us went to school and absorbed information that is obsolete today? In the current landscape, information can be obsolete by the time class is over.
So what is the good news? Treat education not as another task but as the opposite of boredom. When we become curious and open and skilled at learning we grow into new people. According to studies out of Stanford’s Behavioral Science unit, the average human doubles the quantity of information every three years. What happens when we commit to feeding ourselves higher quality information? Even as Kim Kardashian selfies her rear-end we can learn valuable lessons about modern marketing. But what becomes of us when we study the groundbreaking work in virtual reality, Artificial Intelligence, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, culture, art, and education? In fact, if we throw ourselves into the information mosh pit we will discover options that we never believed were available to us.
So if you are bored go learn something new. Find out what is really happening in your profession. Explore topics that interest you. Find out where the world is headed. Question everything that you believe, everything you have been taught and explore all that is new and emerging and vital and exciting.
You will grow into someone new.
(C) Copyright, 2017, David Harder – (All Rights Reserved)
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