I've been struck the last couple of weeks with the reiteration of one of the things that is extremely detrimental to both employers and employees: boredom at work.
I've recently been working with an adult client wanting to make a career change. She is an extremely talented individual, and In talking with her about her current employment she says she is just a "warm body". One of the main reasons she wants a change is because she's bored as a gourd at work! She works for a government contractor (the waste of taxpayer money as she sits there bored is a topic for another day) and none of her talents and skills are being utilized in her role.
Also consider a quote from a book I just finished reading, Tribes by Seth Godin:
"Consider the receptionist at a publishing company I visited a week later. There she was, doing nothing. Sitting at a desk, minding her own business, bored out of her skull. She acknowledged that the front office is very slow and that she just sits there, reading romance novels and waiting. And she's been doing it for two years."
Two thoughts come to mind on boredom at work:
1. What a waste of money! As a leader, why would you pay people to be bored?
2. What a waste of talent! This may even be more of a shame. Leaders should be making more leaders, and leadership isn't cultivated through boredom.
What if you are an employee and bored?
Two courses of action exist:
1. Change your work environment. You may want to check out these two posts to discover if there is a better fit for you in the workplace:
2. Proactively ask for challenging or varied tasks. Does your boss seem overloaded and stressed, but your reading your romance novel? Simply ask him/her if there is something you can help with. If they don't volunteer anything (why they aren't volunteering, is again, a topic for another day) pay attention to what they are spending time on and see if you can help them without being asked. Prove your worth and your talents by proactively getting things done without being asked to do so.