My job is mundane and I’m struggling to find purpose in my life. What are your ideas? – Roberta in Loveland, CO
I know that having a mundane job can really seem soul-crushing and cause you to feel lost. Sometimes, your job may feel so mundane that you can’t think of anything that would make it more interesting. Other events going on in your life might also distract you from improving your circumstances at work.
But don’t worry! Even in these situations, there are multiple avenues you can take to make your work situation more bearable.
Tiny and Mighty
Small steps and minor adjustments make a difference, and build upon one another, to improve your workday. Add pictures to your desk which evoke strong positive emotions, provide inspiration, or instill a sense of motivation. The smallest cubicle or workspace will support adding a few pictures. Very early in my career, I added a framed poster of a Porsche as motivation to work hard, get a promotion, and earn more money. Over time, I changed the poster to images that excited me and added focus to stimulate my performance.
Another easy way to make the environment at work more enjoyable is to form deeper relationships with your co-workers and peers. If you are shy or introverted, this is still doable. All of us are seeking genuine connections, and that includes the people you work with. Ask open-ended questions and delve into responses to illicit more information. Notice the items they keep in their work space and ask if there is a story about an object. This has always worked well for me. Following this simple method, I discovered one of my peers loved ladybugs. To this day I think of her whenever I see a ladybug.
If you choose to make the time, joining in a company-sponsored event is a great way to pump life into a mundane job. Maybe your company has a softball or bowling team, or supports a specific community charity. These activities are a perfect opportunity to meet individuals in other departments, and forge layered relationships with managers and executives in your organization. You can jump in to help organize and manage these events. An added bonus is that you will gain new experience and expand your skill set. Get creative and suggest team building or a morale boost to your manager. One way I did this was with putting together a monthly birthday celebration. It was a lot of fun, and certainly gave the entire team a boost.
What’s Out There?
Staying in a mundane job can be a viable option when you add some spice as in the ideas above, or as you seek a new career, and one where your personal life is your core focus. Your position could be a safe harbor as you explore what’s out there. When you are engaged in company activities, you can cultivate relationships throughout your organization. Learn about alternate positions and new opportunities to move laterally or vertically. You can vigorously pursue new jobs within and outside your company while building skills. Leverage your situation to discover areas that intrigue and or excite you.
Finding Your Passion
Pursuing a career path which feeds a greater purpose is not the end all be all. I believe you must have a robust personal life added to the mix. It’s the special sauce we all need. What gets you excited? What piques your interest? If you are not sure, pick something that fits in your budget. Volunteer, take a class, join a local club or organization. Check out your local community center for activities and opportunities to participate in. Keep trying new things until you find something that makes your heart sing. You’re bound to make some great new friends and learn new skills along the way.
While your job may be mundane, there was a reason that you accepted it. The reason may be as basic as needing to pay the bills. In that case, you made a mature decision which should be applauded. Are there any other positions available within that company? Is there another company that interests you? Set your course for change – while it may take a while to get there, you are taking the first step in controlling your journey.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.