Lisa Vu, Project Manager at UCSF
Lisa transitioned from an under-stimulating job in research to fulfilling work improving vaccine rates in her local healthcare system.
on this episode
Burnout, we can all picture it — staring at your computer, feeling overworked, unappreciated, and completely stressed out. But there’s an equally draining struggle that’s not talked about enough — boredom.
Burnout is often characterized by overwork and stress, whereas boredom stems from a lack of stimulation. Both leave you exhausted, feeling empty, and unable to cope with the demands of work and life. That’s how Lisa Vu felt as well:
“I wasn’t being overworked and burned out the same way that you typically hear people going through career changes, or who are very stressed at work. It made me feel even more alone in thinking that I shouldn’t be complaining.”
Her job came with a lot of autonomy and flexibility, but she was extremely bored with the work, isolated because her job didn’t require much collaboration, and she wasn’t receiving any feedback.
Boredom at work can feel isolating. It’s easy to let mental barriers keep you from making a change — thoughts like Lisa shared:
“I think what really kept me in my role was this kind of narrative of, ‘I have it pretty good now’ or, you know, ‘People would kill for a role where you didn’t have to do a ton and got little oversight and I kind of got to do whatever I wanted as long as I got the job done.’”
But boredom at work isn’t something to aspire after, you’re not alone if you’re feeling under-stimulated by your job and wanting a change.
In fact, did you know that “boreout” is an official psychological disorder?
Some signs that you’re experiencing this are lack of motivation, feeling siloed and an overall sense of apathy.
Feeling stuck in a boring job doesn’t mean you have to remain stagnant. Lisa decided it was time for a change, reached out to us, and we paired her with a coach!
As Lisa began working with her coach, she realized she needed to look outside of Research, but she found herself unable to look at anything besides what she was comfortable with.
And don’t we all do this?
We know that we don’t have exposure to what else is out there, but then we go to an organization’s careers page and the first thing we look at are the roles we already know something about — it’s insanity but it’s like we just can’t help ourselves.
“Let’s not look for roles that are exactly what you do already. Even just opening roles that were completely different than what I was used to — that little thing was kind of a big thing for me to just let myself look at something.”
Lisa realized she kept returning to her research comfort zone and she somehow had to escape that, so instead of going completely rogue, to a new industry and new role, she decided to look for new roles within her current organization, the University of California San Francisco, which luckily has a ton of different departments and jobs!
If you’re in a position where you are bored and under-stimulated, a career change should be on your mind; however, career change is not an overnight journey. But there are some immediate actions you can take to make your situation better!
Seek out new challenges at your organization, propose new ideas to your team or your manager, and ask to take on more responsibilities. Take charge of your own professional development and seek mentorship opportunities. These small tweaks can make a big difference in the day-to-day enjoyment of your job.
Boredom at work isn’t something you should just grin and bear. Take action now and you’ll be one step closer to more fulfilling work!
What you’ll learn
- How isolation and mental barriers associated with being bored at work can keep you trapped in a job
- The silent struggle of workplace boredom and how to escape
- How your ideal career may be closer than you think, possibly in the same organization
- The common challenge of breaking out of your comfort zone to explore fulfilling work opportunities
I convinced myself for many years, that I was very lucky to have that job, and I would be crazy to leave it. I convinced myself that the team needed me even though I was miserable. And ultimately, it took me getting physically sick to realize I needed to leave! One of the biggest things that I learned out of the signature coaching was on designing my life. And this is another thing that I had really never, it had, I don't know, if it had never occurred to me. I just never believed it was possible until now.
The role is meeting my expectations… totally owning the marketing function. And luckily the founder/president is always forward-looking – he just presented us a huge strategy doc for the next year. So there will be an opportunity for us to grow beyond our initial audience, which is great. I applied (against conventional wisdom!) and went through a lengthy interview process. I did use the resume/cover letter chapter quite a bit to customize what I used to respond to the ad. I also found that using the Interview chapter was super helpful in formulating “SBO” oriented responses, and I even used some of them in the interview. Having those “case study” type responses was really helpful and I believe cemented my candidacy. BTW – they hired me completely over Skype and phone! I never met anyone from my company (in person) until last week at a conference.
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on this episode If you’re looking for your ideal career, and you’ve decided it’s time to take that first step and make a change, your first instinct may be to run far away from your current role. This is the role that is leaving you bored, unfulfilled, burned out, unchallenged (insert negative emotion you are […]