Bored and Stressed at Work? Strategies for Getting Through (Or Getting Out Of) Difficult Work Experiences (French version available)
Identify the Source of Stress, Boredom, Or Fatigue
If you are unhappy or dissatisfied at work, it’s a good idea to identify what exactly is making you feel that way. It might be a long-term issue built up over time or a reaction to recent events. You might be able to resolve the problem and continue working – which would be great! However, it may simply be time for you to move on and find something that brings more joy to your workday.
Take some time to think about whether there have been any significant changes or unusual events within your workplace. Has someone you worked closely with quit recently? Did a new manager get hired? While these changes might be unpleasant now, it’s important to avoid rushing into a decision before giving things time to settle down.
On the other hand, the problem may be more significant (and harder to solve). It’s important to feel respected, motivated, and productive at work. Do you get along with your colleagues? Are you happy with your wages and working conditions? Does the work you’re doing match your qualifications? Answering these questions might help you pinpoint the source of your dissatisfaction at work.
Depending on the nature of the problem, you may decide to tough it out and work through it, or call it quits and find something new. Either way, this article will help you figure out your next steps.
Develop Coping Strategies
While you’re figuring out what you want to do long-term, it’s helpful to have some short-term strategies to cope with stress or boredom.
- Journaling: At the end of each workday, take a few minutes to record your thoughts and feelings. What stressed you out today? How did you cope?
- Boundaries: It’s good to be a high achiever, but you’re entitled to set boundaries and enjoy your personal time. Try to avoid checking emails in the evening. Create a separate space to get work done at home, whether it’s an office or a specific corner of the kitchen table.
- Relationships: Have you taken the time to get to know your colleagues? Work can be boring when you spend all day by yourself. Try reaching out to people! Greet your co-workers at the beginning of each shift and offer to create a group chat. Friends make work more fun!
Ready for More? Seek Opportunities for Growth
If you decide that you’d like to stay at your current workplace, you may want to explore some of the opportunities available to you there. Let your manager know that you’re interested in taking on more responsibilities – maybe even a promotion. Your workday will likely become more exciting and less stressful if you do work that takes full advantage of your potential and aligns with your preferences.
Some workplaces also offer volunteer opportunities, such as diversity and inclusion committees or community outreach initiatives. Check out your company’s website or ask your manager if there are any additional ways for you to get involved at work.
Ready for Change? Begin Exploring Other Options
Ultimately, you may decide that this job isn’t for you. That’s normal. You’ll likely have many different jobs throughout your life, and it can take some time to find the right fit.
Quitting isn’t failure. While the job may not have worked out this time, you learned more about your priorities and what jobs you’re not interested in. If nothing else, you’ll be able to make better, more informed decisions in the future.
Ahmed, S. A. (n.d.). “14 Interesting Ways to Combat Boredom at Work.” VantageCircle. https://blog.vantagecircle.com/boredom-at-work/.
American Psychological Association. (2018, October 14th). “Coping with stress at work.” https://www.apa.org/topics/healthy-workplaces/work-stress#.