Are you feeling overwhelmed or indifferent? From one end of the scale to the other, the reality of our working life is that we change as time goes by. While we might be perfect for a job today, that may not always be the case. Most experts agree that we need some major change every seven years or so in order to stay fulfilled and valuable throughout our careers.
The concept of an employee lifecycle is not new – HR departments have used variations of a cycle for many years to define the stages employees move through in an organisation. In its most simplistic form, the lifecycle might look something like this: Recruitment -> On boarding -> Training, Motivation & Engagement -> Performance Management -> Resignation & Termination.
But looking at the same concept from an employee’s point of view gives us a different picture. According to this concept, individuals need major change every seven years or so in order to achieve satisfaction in their careers.
Most people know the feeling of starting a new job – it can be overwhelming, but it’s usually exciting. In your first year or so you’ll hopefully go from feeling overwhelmed to feeling challenged and stretched but thoroughly enjoying the experience. You move through that stage to a place where you’re confident that you can do the job and much of it may become second nature. You’re still enjoying the work but perhaps it isn’t as challenging or difficult as it was previously. As employees, we need to make sure we continue to achieve a good balance of challenge in our day to day work – and the only way to achieve this consistently is with change.
Boredom can strike anybody at any time, from the most junior to the most senior person – it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with workload but is usually more about how challenging or meaningful the individual finds their work. Depending on your role and the company you work for, boredom may strike in more or less than seven years. Research indicates that the more we are challenged on a daily basis, the more productive and happier we will be. But when you’ve mastered the job, and reached that inevitable point of ‘smooth sailing’ how can you make sure you’re consistently challenging yourself to avoid becoming bored and indifferent? Try the following strategies to help:
- Volunteer for additional work – offer to help another team or department during a busy period; or get involved in projects that others may be working on.
- Learn something new – enrol in some training or offer to work in another team where you have the opportunity to become proficient in new areas.
- Develop and implement new ways of doing things – implement strategies or processes to automate routine or mundane tasks to achieve time, efficiency and accuracy gains.
- Do more of what you like – developing processes to automate routine tasks will help in this area since you’ll free up time so you can take on more of the work you enjoy.
- Set challenging goals and deadlines for yourself – try to complete projects or tasks faster but with the same quality and/or accuracy, or spend more time researching a project or writing a report than you would have in the past – do whatever you can to improve your performance or work outcomes.
- Ask for more challenging work – tell your superior that you’d like to work on some more challenging areas – show them how you’re achieving your current role with success, quality and accuracy so they have confidence in your ability to extend.
Staying challenged at work is essential to your professional development and job satisfaction. Use the strategies above to help you perform better, learn new skills, and ultimately advance your career. Staying challenged helps relieve boredom and keeps you engaged and motivated for longer.