When work becomes boring

You take up a new area of work; you are excited about the challenges, opportunities, and the learning. You work on it and over time you learn the ropes.

What happens after few weeks or months, depending on the nature of the work?

Does the same work which excited you a short while back begins to seem boring? Uninteresting? Routine?

It has happened with me many times. And I have heard my team members and colleagues speak about it time to time. Every wonder why?

When we start something new, the unknown domain triggers our curiosity, and we experience the thrill of working with new opportunities. As per Organismic theory (Deci and Ryan), human beings are not machines working on same operation 24 hours, 365 days. Human beings are active organisms that draw energy from engaging with life. We have an inherent tendency to master challenges, grow, learn, and integrate new experiences.

Thus, when we begin new work, it enhances our intrinsic motivation. Over time, as we master the work, the level of curiosity, sense of learning and growth reduces; the intrinsic motivation starts to dip. Which in turn dips our enjoyment from the work, until one day we just don’t want to do it. It is bound to happen, irrespective of the nature of the work.

Changing the role or job is surely one option. However, it may not always be possible or desirable. So, here’s what employees and organizations can do to get over the inevitable dip.

Let’s begin with employees: Leverage expertise to

  • Enhance the level or scope of impact for stakeholders
  • Go beyond the work description to maximize value
  • Bring in automation or digitization or outsourcing, freeing up time for new work  

Organizations or managers need to:

  • Plan role or job rotations
  • Inspire employees to connect to big picture, take ownership to add finer nuances
  • Build culture of ownership, ability to think what more / different

What else can be done? Would love you hear your thoughts.

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