What should I do if I don’t feel challenged at work?

Being bored at work isn’t much fun. It’s also far from uncommon. Many people find themselves asking what they should do if they don’t feel challenged at work.

What’s worse is that if you have started “checking out” of your job as a software developer, for example, you can appear lacklustre and passionless.

This means when the exciting opportunities to lead or get involved in a new project do arise, you get passed over.

Here is where to start if you don’t feel like your current job is much of a challenge:

Why is being challenged at work important?

Over and above keeping yourself free from boredom, there are many reasons why it is important to have a job where you feel challenged. A challenging job:

-Keeps your confidence levels high

-Lets you grow and progress in your career

-Helps you learn new and varied skills

-Can fill you with passion

-Means you are more flexible and adaptable when new challenges crop up

What should I do if I don’t feel challenged at work?

Not feeling challenged at work doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to help you resolve the situation:

1) Why do I feel unchallenged?

Is it just boredom that bothers you at work? Are the tasks repetitive? Or is your role just thankless?

Whether it’s a job you feel has no career progression or a team you feel doesn’t utilise your particular set of skills, knowing what the problem is specifically will help you solve it.

2) What kinds of challenges do I want?

What would make your current role more challenging? What other types of challenges could make your workplace more engaging?

-More responsibilities?

-More visibility? More engagement with other people or teams?

-More ability to get involved with the latest developments or innovations?

-More opportunities to lead a project or initiative (even a small one)?

-More chances to apply your leadership or communication skills?

3) What skills do I want to train or improve?

Next up, you need to identify any gaps in your skillset that would limit you from being able to take on the sort of challenges you have in mind.

Try and think of it from the point of view of any manager who might consider you for the task. What might their objection be?

If these new challenges are big enough to qualify as a career change, you might need to consider taking a course or finding another way of improving your skills and experience.

4) Who can I talk to about it?

The next step is to ask your colleagues and immediate manager to discuss your performance with you. This gives you insight into how you are perceived in your current workplace.

You may feel the results of this are enough to base a request for more challenges on. If you feel it shows a need for improvement, you will need to find a way to demonstrate your potential.

This may mean volunteering for more tasks. You might also benefit from starting to build relationships with your immediate team leader and other managers.

If you accomplish something or otherwise come to the attention of a manager, this is the best time to speak up.

Draw attention to how letting you pursue opportunities would benefit your company as a whole. You might suggest that helping you be able to accomplish more would take some workload off your team.

5) Do I need to change jobs?

If you think convincing your manager or team leader to give you access to greater challenges is a non-starter – or you’ve tried and had no success – it might be time to consider changing jobs.

A new job can make you excited to go to work each day. It can be a fresh start – a way to change opinions about you or re-launch yourself as a new, fully engaged and motivated person.

But there’s no sense going off without a plan. Talk to a recruitment agency specialising in IT, engineering, or whatever sector you’re in. They’ll be able to tell you what organisations are looking for.

Talk to us today about the IT job you’d like to have.

Ernest Gordon has a proven, open, honest, and transparent recruitment process. You’ll also get access to exclusive jobs you won’t find elsewhere.

Get in touch with us for a cost and commitment-free chat about your career and where you want to be.