Author Topic: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?  (Read 6114 times)

NewPerspective

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« on: October 30, 2015, 07:46:59 AM »
Hello,

I feel like I could use some outside perspective.  Would love to hear what others might do in this situation.  I'm trying to decide if I need to look for a new job or if I just need to adjust my attitude.

Current Job Pros:

Good pay
Good Benefits
Good boss.  He really values and appreciates me.
Some flexibility

Current Job Cons:
I'm. SO. Bored. - there are times when I'm super busy but the majority of the time, I struggle to make the day pass.  And the less I have to do, the less motivated I am to do anything.
Fairly solitary work environment.  I work in a small department within a larger organization.
I don't find the work meaningful AT ALL.

My options:
1).  Look for something else within the same organization.  I work at a university.  I believe staff positions tend to be fairly similar as far as the scope of work.  However, it might be nice to work in a larger department and to have something a little different to do.  On the other hand, I really like my boss and we get along well.  I know he very much values me and would hate for me to leave. I would hate to be in a department where I didn't like my boss as much.  Also, I am paid pretty well for my position.  It might be difficult to find similar pay without taking on a HUGE amount of responsibility.    I could be wrong about this but I have a feeling I'm right.  I've been here for about 5 years (in two different departments) so I have a pretty good feel for the culture.

2) Talk to my boss about being bored.  This is a little risky.  He is very receptive to my feedback, however, I feel I need to be careful not to put him in an awkward position.  I don't want him to come up with a bunch of "busy work" for me.   If I were to talk to him I might ask if I could work from home occasionally (this is not a norm for staff though, so I think he would feel uncomfortable with me doing this).  Also, I wouldn't want him to nit pick everything I do  (like, if you are bored, why aren't you doing this, and this, and this or why isn't this better?  For Office Space fans, I do a lot of TPS type reports.  It is hard to get excited about making them better :-)

3). Look for something outside the organization.  I don't know, I guess I don't feel all that motivated to put the energy and effort into starting something brand new.  :-(  Also, I recognize that I have it pretty good now.  Good pay, good benefits, low stress.   To find something of equal value might require a much higher level of stress and time but I don't know, maybe that is worth it?

So, what would you do?

I also wanted to add, I've been following The Art of Not Working thread.  I love it and have tried incorporating some of the tricks and ideas but I still feel like my soul is being crushed here.  :-)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 08:09:33 AM by NewPerspective »

Millennialworkerbee

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2015, 08:03:45 AM »
I've been a long time follower of the blog and forum but this one was so personal that I had to register to add my thoughts.

I'm in the same boat as you. I work for a Fortune 500 company, in a mostly entry level position, and most of the day I don't have enough to do. I've talked to a lot of people inside and outside of the company and I've learned that being bored with your job is a common thing.

I have the same benefits at my job that you listed, and for that reason I'm staying where I'm at. To compensate for the frustration I feel sitting at my desk for an entire day with nothing to do, I'm starting to get involved with the company and city volunteer opportunities. Recently I've been helping run a fundraising campaign for United Way. This "fills my bucket", and since my company is so awesome these are all paid volunteer hours, at a much higher hourly rate than if I went to work at a non profit.

Maybe you can look into volunteer work or mentoring some new hires At your university. This looks good to your employer because you are still showing initiative and a hard work ethic even though that aren't giving you enough work to do.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2015, 08:12:20 AM »
I realize your options might be limited in this arena, but does it make sense to frame your talk with your boss as a promotion/raise push? Like, taking on more responsibility, doing new stuff, in prep for a raise and/or promotion? It might give you something to work toward.

If nothing else, you could ask about learning new stuff, maybe? That might help boost your interest in your job for a bit, if you aren't finding good opportunities elsewhere. Also, it would help give your resume a boost to maybe get qualified for better jobs. :)

NewPerspective

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2015, 08:18:35 AM »
I've been a long time follower of the blog and forum but this one was so personal that I had to register to add my thoughts.

I'm in the same boat as you. I work for a Fortune 500 company, in a mostly entry level position, and most of the day I don't have enough to do. I've talked to a lot of people inside and outside of the company and I've learned that being bored with your job is a common thing.

I have the same benefits at my job that you listed, and for that reason I'm staying where I'm at. To compensate for the frustration I feel sitting at my desk for an entire day with nothing to do, I'm starting to get involved with the company and city volunteer opportunities. Recently I've been helping run a fundraising campaign for United Way. This "fills my bucket", and since my company is so awesome these are all paid volunteer hours, at a much higher hourly rate than if I went to work at a non profit.

Maybe you can look into volunteer work or mentoring some new hires At your university. This looks good to your employer because you are still showing initiative and a hard work ethic even though that aren't giving you enough work to do.

You know, there are ways I could be more involved.   I think I'm just suffering from a severe case of apathy!
Hmmm, I need to give this more consideration.  I think I've become a bit lazy to be honest with you.  My boss would definitely be supportive of me doing things within the university (he is big on "engagement").

Thanks for your message,  it is nice to know I'm not alone! 

NewPerspective

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2015, 08:25:18 AM »
I realize your options might be limited in this arena, but does it make sense to frame your talk with your boss as a promotion/raise push? Like, taking on more responsibility, doing new stuff, in prep for a raise and/or promotion? It might give you something to work toward.

If nothing else, you could ask about learning new stuff, maybe? That might help boost your interest in your job for a bit, if you aren't finding good opportunities elsewhere. Also, it would help give your resume a boost to maybe get qualified for better jobs. :)

I know exactly what you mean and I agree with you. I actually did this after I was in this position for about a year. Now I really do think I'm doing everything I can do within my position.  I have taken on a lot from my boss that he was previously doing himself.  He actually gave me a second substantial raise just this past July. Also, I find the work very meaningless.  I mean I could dedicate more energy to improving TPS reports but I just have no motivation.

Maybe I'm being closed minded but I think staff are somewhat limited in university environments.  The department I work in is very specialized and I'm not an expert in that area (I don't think any staff person would be, otherwise they would be a PhD and doing research). 

I realize I might sound whiney,  I'm just trying to think through my options/feelings.  :-)

humbleMouse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2015, 08:26:49 AM »
If I were you I would start learning how to code in my spare time at the job.  Free time to work on coding skills is rare and should be cherished!! It could lead to better jobs in the future as well. 

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2015, 08:59:06 AM »
I realize your options might be limited in this arena, but does it make sense to frame your talk with your boss as a promotion/raise push? Like, taking on more responsibility, doing new stuff, in prep for a raise and/or promotion? It might give you something to work toward.

If nothing else, you could ask about learning new stuff, maybe? That might help boost your interest in your job for a bit, if you aren't finding good opportunities elsewhere. Also, it would help give your resume a boost to maybe get qualified for better jobs. :)

I know exactly what you mean and I agree with you. I actually did this after I was in this position for about a year. Now I really do think I'm doing everything I can do within my position.  I have taken on a lot from my boss that he was previously doing himself.  He actually gave me a second substantial raise just this past July. Also, I find the work very meaningless.  I mean I could dedicate more energy to improving TPS reports but I just have no motivation.

Maybe I'm being closed minded but I think staff are somewhat limited in university environments.  The department I work in is very specialized and I'm not an expert in that area (I don't think any staff person would be, otherwise they would be a PhD and doing research). 

I realize I might sound whiney,  I'm just trying to think through my options/feelings.  :-)

No, I don't think you are being whiney at all! I am very sympathetic to your issues. I worked in a University environment for a bit, not admin, but I agree that the roles are pretty proscribed. It can be hard to get any flexibility in those environments.

Similar to humbleMouse's suggestion, but could you set up your day so you get all your work done early and then have time for reading, studying, coursera courses? It doesn't have to be code, but if you have a private-enough work area, it might help pass the time to feel like you are doing something interesting/worthwhile. Either focused on stuff you find interesting, stuff you want to do in FIRE, or setting yourself up for that better job down the line?

The_path_less_taken

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 654
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2015, 09:04:40 AM »
I'd explore whether voluntarily taking on more work results in more pay/satisfaction.

As in: if you know xxx report has to be done....if you just did it and said "I'd caught up on my work so thought I'd knock this out...hey....what if I did xxx more often: think that would possibly change job title/pay? Just curious."

Or some politically correct way of exploring what would happen if you did more work.

My current job, 4 days a week I'm very busy. On the fifth I slog thru the paperwork I couldn't get to the other days and then....it's my time. I have no trouble filling my time.

Capsu78

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 696
  • Location: Chicagoland
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2015, 11:11:31 AM »
Since you are most likely familiar with the data bases important to your department(s), have you considered dabbling in learning how you might apply predictive analytics to your department?  Very hot field right now, many universities already have the software licenses purchased (check with your stat department)... the trick is many folks know how to operate the software but have little background in understanding the business, other understand the business but don't know how to operate the software.
Here is a link to a white paper:  https://www-01.ibm.com/software/analytics/spss/academic/

Look for a "problem" within your department- student retention, fundraising or whatever you have access too- and see if you can make yourself a bit of a subject matter expert on it in a short period of time.  Doesn't seem much more complicated than advanced excel but it can tie together all kinds of unstructured data.

Full disclosure- Gal I know works in this field and she has some very cool application stories involving higher ed.  If I had a math smart kid in college looking for direction, this is where I would point them.

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2015, 05:14:24 PM »
This is not a problem to look for a new job over, are you crazy!?! This is an opportunity to learn new skills, get a degree, start a business.

A real problem would be one where you are understaffed, over worked, and underpaid, stressed out to the point of emotional breakdown. I don't know how people complain about being bored. I'd rather find ways to fill the time with things I want to do rather than working through the night to add some change request for some stupid thing at the last minute.

backyardfeast

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Location: Vancouver Island, BC
    • My journal
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2015, 05:23:32 PM »
Don't know what your career goals are, but one of the big perks of being staff at universities is getting free tuition to take courses.  Have you thought about taking a course or two through the year?  You might have to enroll for courses after hours, but it sounds like you might be able to do the coursework while at work surreptitiously...

Check out the Frugalwoods blog; she got an entire Masters degree for free by deliberately seeking out a staff position at the university she wanted to study at.

MoonShadow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2542
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2015, 05:28:11 PM »

So, what would you do?


#4)  Buy a Kindle, and split slow time between for-fun novels and non-fiction for self-improvement.

This is what I'd do, because it's what I do.

feelingroovy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 261
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2015, 06:00:47 AM »
I was in this exact position about 10 years ago.

Worked at a university in a staff position. Loved my job for the first 3-4 years as I was learning a lot. Did very well and my boss, colleagues, and the faculty and students I served really appreciated my work. Loved my boss and coworkers.

But then I mastered the job and was bored out of my mind.

I disagree 100% with Beardedman--this is a problem. It eats away at your soul slowly but surely. My Sunday night dread was terrible.

I think the only way to turn around the job is to change your thinking so that you can find meaning in it.

It could be as simple as the job is a means to getting a masters.

I stayed 2 years beyond when I should have and I used that time to do a lot of soul searching. I read books like Zen and the Art of Making a Living (recommended). I went to seminars by life coaches and by HR.

I ultimately figured out that I needed more challenge. I find creating new things very satisfying and this job was basically maintenance.  As there were only 4 people in my office there was no where else to go.

The thing is, for whatever reason, your boss needs these reports done and you do them well. They aren't going away.

Figure out what about this isn't working for you.

I am now in a much more stressful position, but I have a lot more responsibility and from for growth.  I work more.  There are days I think how easy that job was. But I much prefer what I am doing now. My old university job has come open many times and I have never applied.

rockstache

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5777
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Northeast
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2015, 06:15:00 AM »


So, what would you do?


#4)  Buy a Kindle, and split slow time between for-fun novels and non-fiction for self-improvement.

This is what I'd do, because it's what I do.

I'm in this position too and my library rents ebooks. I check them out and read them in my browser. I also use the time for learning new things. All that boredom is what brought me here and totally changed our financial situation, and also got me started in the world of travel hacking.

NorCal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 655
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2015, 06:30:44 AM »
Combine #1 and #3. 

One of the benefits of your situation is that you have the luxury of time to find a job you truly want.  Start a casual job search, but only apply and accept something that truly sounds interesting.  Don't take a job just because it's something different.

Find ways to make contacts outside your department.  Go to lunch with them and find out if their departments are places you would be interested in working.  Search for the senior managers in the organization that you would want to work for.  If you find people you like and trust, have them keep an eye out for positions for you.  Most people know of openings in their department before they're posted. 

Talking to a manager is risky, but many times worth it.  It depends on your manager.  I've approached my boss twice in my career letting them know that I want to stay with the organization, but want to find a different role.  Both of those bosses were supportive, and actually helped me get better jobs within the organization.  Every workplace is different, but it's probably less risky than you're thinking.


Mrs. Healthywealth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 98
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2015, 07:57:46 AM »
Can you come up with some ideas to present to your boss that seem interesting to you versus you saying your bored nod need more work? What do you want to be doing that is possible in your position, but you aren't doing it.

I was getting really bored so I came up with something that I was excited about, I led a series of challenges to complete on burnout prevention for my peers--it was fun and different from all the boring paper pushing.


It doesn't hurt to start exploring your options and see what other jobs are out there. In the accumulation phase, my take is to suck it up and get a job that pays well so that U can get to a certain monetary amount. Doesn't have to be your FIRE number, just something you feel comfortable with leaving your good benefits/salary for. oh and a good boss is hard to leave, I love mine which makes it super difficult to take a leap of faith elsewhere.

Getting a side gig can be fun, but after a while that can potentially become mundane as well.

The Beacon

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 148
    • Financial Freedom Tips
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2015, 03:15:35 PM »
@feelingroovy.  I actually agree with Bearded Man here.  He and I are in a similar position. We both make a decent income. However, we are burning out fast due to the mount of work and stress. If you are still trying to find something meaningful in your job, you are not ready for FIRE yet.

I am thinking about working in a low stress environment like a university for a much lower salary when I become FI in 2 years.


Hey It's Me

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 715
    • Moe's Journal
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2015, 04:00:53 PM »
NewPerspective, in my experience there is an inverse relationship between how meaningful you find work and how challenging it is. If you're not a little stressed out at least, you're not going to find real meaning in the work you're doing. This is why repetitive tasks get boring after a while. We are wired to need to learn and grow, and when these needs are not met we start to get bored.

John Gardner has an amazing speech on boredom and self-renewal that I highly recommend. It is actually my all-time favorite speech, and one that has motivated me beyond the most challenging of circumstances time and time again. I hope you find it as useful.

http://www.pbs.org/johngardner/sections/writings_speech_1.html

Astatine

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3623
  • Location: Australia
  • Pronouns: they/them
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2015, 05:33:30 PM »
NewPerspective, in my experience there is an inverse relationship between how meaningful you find work and how challenging it is. If you're not a little stressed out at least, you're not going to find real meaning in the work you're doing. This is why repetitive tasks get boring after a while. We are wired to need to learn and grow, and when these needs are not met we start to get bored.

John Gardner has an amazing speech on boredom and self-renewal that I highly recommend. It is actually my all-time favorite speech, and one that has motivated me beyond the most challenging of circumstances time and time again. I hope you find it as useful.

http://www.pbs.org/johngardner/sections/writings_speech_1.html

I'm not the OP but thank you for the link. It's excellent.

feelingroovy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 261
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2015, 07:51:37 PM »
@Sharpy, I didn't mean to imply that overwork and high stress jobs are not a problem or that every should enjoy them.

But they're not the only problem jobs.

The rest of my post was just to give the OP my experience in a similar situation in case it was helpful. Ymmv.

NewPerspective

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2015, 03:45:27 PM »
Thank you all for your helpful feedback!   

Some good things to think about.  I'm still not quite sure what the answer is.  Getting more involved with things at work in general is probably a good first step though.

Astatine - Thanks for the John Gardner speech!  That was a really good read!

firewalker

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 308
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2015, 04:10:54 PM »
How did you get this job? I'm in the over worked and underpaid world. Would love to experience your problem.

zinethstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 827
  • Location: Anywhere USA
  • FIREd 1/27/2017
    • My FIRE Hobby and travel blog
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2015, 04:11:54 PM »
I like the approach where you come up with your own plan and present it to your boss, who you know is supportive and if it made sense, would approve it. The difficulty is if the work you do doesn't contain anything of interest to you, what then do you go after? It is a predicament for sure.

I am 19 years in my position and it has pretty much ended due to my platform being at end of life. I knew it was coming to an end and I had to decide if I was going to push to become part of a different crew or not. (I am very close to FIRE) I decided to push for my "new" phase of life at work to be part of this new crew/new platform. So far it has worked out pretty well. I will be adding a new certification to my laurels, paid for by this new team. I'm feeling pretty good about that. Staying with the old, dying platform just wasn't working for me at all. Granted I have alot more years behind me and hopefully very few ahead, but I want my last years to be exciting and fun, not torture!

The best of luck to you, I will be watching for your next move...

NewPerspective

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 123
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2015, 06:07:47 PM »
How did you get this job? I'm in the over worked and underpaid world. Would love to experience your problem.

If you really want to work at a university I recommend applying for any and all positions you might be qualified for, even if they are lower level.  Once you are in, I think it is pretty easy to be a bright shining star that someone will recognize.
I started in a lower level admin position and then ended up applying for higher level jobs.  However, what I consider a good paying job and what you consider good paying might be two different things.  University staff aren't paid all that well generally speaking, but the work/life balance is pretty good.

LouLou

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 246
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2015, 09:02:37 PM »
I have various thoughts.  Here they are, in no particular order:

  • You say you have no meaning at work. What about outside of work? There seems to be a pervasive myth that what you do in exchange for money and what gives your life meaning should be the same thing.  I don't believe that myth and I think I enjoy my work life more than others because of it.  The lack of stress from your work means that you could do something challenging that won't make you any money - like rockclimbing or improv theatre or whatever.
  • I like being challenged, so I understand your problem.  I would absolutely hate a job where I was bored and couldn't fill the time.  My job is very challenging/exhausting at times, but the exhausting times are also exhilarating.  I worked more than 10 hours every day this week, will work the weekend, and work at least 10 hours every day next week.  Bring it on!
  • That said, my job has ebbs and flows.  When I don't have much to do, I don't spend the whole day in the office.  I go to seminars, have lunches with friends and other people in my field, enjoy outside for two hours, etc.  Do you have any flexibility in your day?  Can you ask for it?  If I worked at a university, I would take time to read novels on campus and squeeze my tasks into the other hours.
  • Looking for a job and accepting another job are not the same thing.  Keep your eyes open for opportunities and don't leave your current job until you find a great one.
  • Everyone feels unsatisfied sometimes.  It is a fact of life, even the best lives.  You don't need to radically change things just because you are unsatisfied at the moment.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Time to look for a new job? WWYD?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2015, 06:25:24 AM »
+1 on taking courses.  I've worked at two universities and both allow any employee to take one course free per semester.  It is also routine that this is permitted during the regular workday as long as the employee can still fulfill work responsibilities.  Some people go for an MBA, others take a foreign language or art course.
I am not sure this is true in every field, but in many you have a choice between a boring, not very stressful job and a more interesting, more high energy, but much more stressful job.  Take your pick.