Are You Bored With Your Work?
YOU likely work about eight hours a day. That’s too much time and too much life to sacrifice to boredom! Yet, much work in the 20th century is monotonous and gives the worker little in which to take personal pride.
So you have much to gain by making your job interesting. You get greater joy out of working, and you learn the secret of enriching any future work you do. Let us, then, explore some ways of accomplishing this.
Some authorities recommend that you work as if you enjoyed it. If you do so, that attitude may very well follow.
‘But I could never be enthusiastic about my job!’ you might respond. Your job may involve a strict routine, such as assembly-line work. Or it may be that you have worked at your job for so many years that you feel it is impossible to renew interest in it. However, such simple tactics as smiling and standing straight may help you to feel more enthusiastic about your work.
It may also help if you focus totally on what you are doing. Do not switch to automatic pilot, as it were, and do not do your work thinking about the lunch hour, the weekend, or even another job to be done. It is usually wise to concentrate wholly on the task at hand. The result? You may come to enjoy the work, and then time will seem to move quickly.
This is what naturally happens when you find yourself absorbed in an activity that you really love. You may be able to achieve the same effect by forcing yourself to give full attention to work that you do not normally find enjoyable.
Do Your Best
Doing your best can help you realize job satisfaction. Of course, such advice runs counter to the popular idea that when you find the work uninteresting, you should try to get away with the least effort possible. But neglect, procrastination, and minimal effort will likely deplete you of energy and add anxiety and fatigue. In some cases the person who comes home from work stressed, anxious, and exhausted may very well be suffering because of failure to work diligently.
According to the Bible, working hard at a project even makes leisure hours more enjoyable. “With a man there is nothing better than that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his hard work.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24) To some, this might sound like an outdated motto, but others are applying this timeless principle. They agree that there is, indeed, “nothing better” than that they should enjoy the fruitage of their hard work. The book The Joy of Working acknowledges: “A job well-done leaves an inner glow of satisfaction.”
So, do the best job you can, and you will probably feel energized. Do more than just the bare minimum, and you may well feel happier. Do the important tasks first, and you will enjoy your lunch breaks and weekends more than the person who exhausts himself in procrastination.—Compare Esther 10:2; Romans 12:11; 2 Timothy 2:15.
Instead of competing with others, endeavor to surpass yourself. (Galatians 6:4) Set new standards, new goals. Strive to do better. One woman, whose job includes repetitious sewing that some would dismiss as hopelessly dull, made a game of timing herself. She kept track of her hour-by-hour productivity, and then she tried to increase it. She truly enjoys her job because she strives to work up to her potential.—Proverbs 31:31.
“Decorate” Your Job
Doctors Dennis T. Jaffe and Cynthia D. Scott recommend: “Think of your job as an empty house. You move in and look at its form and structure. Then your own creativity takes root. You design your space, decorate, and make the house into your home. You personalize it by putting your stamp on it.”
Most jobs are given to you with an outline of rules and guidelines. Just doing what is expected is like inhabiting a bare house. There is no personality. But if you add your own personal style, your job can become so much more interesting. No two persons will “decorate” a job the same way. One waiter will memorize the orders of regular customers. Another will be particularly kind and courteous. Both enjoy their work because they put a part of themselves into what they do.
Another way to find joy on the job is to learn. The book Tension Turnaround explains that as we grow, our brain increases its capacity to process information. This explains why the things that excited us in the past may bore us now. The solution is to satisfy the brain’s appetite for new information by learning new things.
Learning more about your job may in time lead to your being given work that is more appealing. But even if that does not happen, the process of learning in itself will make your work more interesting and satisfying. Authors Charles Cameron and Suzanne Elusorr point out: “Learning not only increases your confidence by increasing your abilities, it also rubs off in the form of a general attitude to life: that problems can be solved, difficulties can be overcome, fears can be diminished, and that more things are possible than you imagined.”
‘But,’ you might object, ‘I learned all there is to know about my job long ago!’ In that case, could you learn things that are indirectly related to your work? For example, you might decide to learn more about human relations or about your equipment. Maybe you can learn how to write a better office memo or how to conduct a better meeting. You can learn the most effective ways to deal with supervisors.
How will you learn these things? It may be that your company offers courses that you are in a position to take advantage of. Or a library may have just the books that you need. But don’t overlook less obvious sources of information. Watching people at work and noting their strengths and weaknesses may be an education. You can learn from your mistakes, and you can learn from your successes too, by analyzing what you did right. What you learn from your own experiences and from observing others can teach you what you might never read in books or hear in a class.
Some Final Suggestions
There is another approach that you could take to your work. You could decide that you deserve better—that others get all the breaks and that you’ve never been given a chance to do the work that you really want to do. You could converse endlessly with others who agree with you, and you may become convinced that all of this is true.
But it may not be true. Many people who enjoy their work have learned to do so. A person who enjoys designing houses may also come to enjoy driving a bus. Why? Because his creative approach to the work gives him joy and satisfaction.
So free yourself from the negative thinking that makes the workweek dark in contrast with the weekend. Do not waste time reviewing your past failures, imagining what will go wrong next, and worrying about what others think of you. Look at the job in front of you. Give it your full attention. Try to become as absorbed in it as you would in your favorite hobby. Make it your best effort yet, and take joy in a job well done.
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Do Not Neglect Your Work
The Bible says, at Proverbs 27:23, 24: “You ought to know positively the appearance of your flock. Set your heart to your droves; for treasure will not be to time indefinite, nor a diadem for all generations.” What does that mean?
It means that wealth (treasure) and positions of prominence (a diadem), if acquired at all, often prove to be temporary. Therefore, a shepherd in Bible times showed wisdom if he gave diligent attention to caring for his sheep, that is, ‘set his heart on his droves.’ As the succeeding three verses show, the result would be material security for the worker and his family.—Proverbs 27:25-27.
What of today? People often set their hearts on acquiring a fortune or a prominent position, which, they hope, will enable them to quit their present job. Some have realistic plans; others are just dreaming. In either case it is unwise to despise or neglect one’s present means of employment. It is, and may continue to be, the most dependable source of income. Far wiser it is for a person to set his heart on his “droves,” giving full focus to his dependable field of employment. His doing so is likely to result in present and future material security.