Office Politics 101: Bored at work, but nervous about leaving

Q: I’m bored at work! Every day is tedious and predictable. I sometimes think about making a career change, but then I get nervous. I’m a single mom in my early 40s. Do you have any advice for me?

Q: I’m bored at work! Every day is tedious and predictable. I sometimes think about making a career change, but then I get nervous. I’m a single mom in my early 40s. Do you have any advice for me?

A: There’s something extremely attractive about job security— the regular salary, good benefits, consistent responsibilities, familiar surroundings and pleasant co-workers.

In contrast, remaining in the same position for an extended period can lead to feelings of monotony and a lack of motivation. This is where you find yourself today.

Life is largely composed of choices and it can sometimes be difficult to make a decision without experiencing doubts and anxiety.  All choices offer both negatives and positives which need to be considered with careful reflection.

As a single mother you’ll probably need to be more conscious of the security that comes from your current job. You are the main provider for your children and they’ll be depending on you for most of their physical needs.

As well, the stresses of life can be magnified in a new work setting with fresh duties that may require some re-training and even the completion of certain courses.

A different job, too, may appear attractive from the outside; however, a new boss may be overly-demanding and co-workers could be discontented with a poor attitude to their responsibilities, for example.

Timing may be an important consideration for you. Would you be advised to remain in your present position until your children are more independent?

There are two approaches you may want to consider. What about speaking to someone in your HR department — if you have one — and explaining your situation? They might have an internal position in mind for you that would allow you to remain with your current employer, but with more challenging duties.

You could also consider a similar position with another company. You’d be performing similar tasks albeit in a stimulating new setting with a new boss, new colleagues and an entirely different mix of products and services.

Seek the counsel of family, friends and co-workers (in confidence) and ask for their advice. They may have some useful ideas which will help you focus your career aspirations.

While you might say you are stuck in a rut, your current job nonetheless offers you security and stability. Consider the best time to make a move and plan accordingly. Anticipate some stress but remember you will necessarily have anxious moments as you change your job or work setting.

Simon Gibson is a university professor, marketing executive, corporate writer and civic leader. He is a graduate of four public universities, including Simon Fraser University, where he earned his doctorate in education. He also also holds a degree in journalism (honours) from Carleton University. His email address can be found here.