View Full Version : Boredom at a new job

2-23-12, 2:13pm
I started a new job just about one month ago. The job is an admin for clinical education at a small but prestigious college. I support the program and director of clinical ed. The job has turned out to be a total bore for me. I was qualified for the position having worked in higher ed as an admin/office manager. The program has just started and this is the first year going with students. I was encouraged to understand the job would keep me busy every day. Every day, I am asking the director if you need any help or have any projects, I am here for you. I cannot be more ready for work. The tasks I have been given are complete, done well and with care.

I am hearing it will be busy, accept the mellow days for now. The program will grow and be overwhelming potentially. What am I to think? I am happy to have a job. The people here are on the whole a fine bunch to be around. The management is a bit corporate but its accepted that it can be thick and we all just have to work with it somehow.

I am being agreeable, ready, thoughtful but my patience is wearing thin. I am the sort of person who enjoys working hard everyday with complex tasks to perform. In fact I am used to being a doer and want to be. I cannot believe with the job market and economy as it is, an employer would let me sit around all day. I have busied myself with learning the program, etcI just think its up to my bosses to keep me interested and engaged.

I left a completely dysfunctional work place. I searched and hustled for one half years to make a change. This isn't satisfying at all.

2-23-12, 2:27pm
Can you interview the clinical profs to see how you can support them? Can you look at what might need to be done to develop outreach for new students? Can you research other clinical programs to see what kinds of bells and whistles they offer and then consider whether your program might have room for something (that would deeply interest YOU)?

It sounds like a great opportunity to be on the front end of a new program; you might be able to make this job into something you really love. Are you interested in talking with students? Developing the program's facebook page? Helping to schedule staff and classes? I don't know specifics about your program but it sounds like it might have lots of things you can do. I really, really LOVE developing new things. I get bored with the same old stuff, so I have to keep ideas flowing to keep my interest. If you think in terms of what the program needs, or maybe what the college needs, then maybe you would generate some ideas that you find interesting.

Good luck with this...I am sure that the dullness is temporary and soon enough you'll wish to have some of it back, but in the meantime, there's a chance to figure out how to make this job more YOU.

2-23-12, 3:18pm
Some bosses are really bad a delegating -- mine is great in other ways, but this is one area where he struggles. I also have a hard time with it -- I know I should let my staff do certain things, but sometimes I get impatient and if I'm not overly busy myself I'll just jump in and do it.

A couple of things come to mind. Rather than waiting for specific tasks to be assigned, try to think of the whole program in terms of systems and how you can develop those so that things run smoothly, efficiently and to the maximum benefit for your participants. Plan ahead now to think about where the bottlenecks/peak work periods might be and where you can put in systems to smooth out the workload and be sure you have things to do during the downtimes. Project out your annual work calendar and see where the relative slow periods are, and think about things you can be doing during those times to keep productively engaged.

Also, what about supplemental training that would help you do your job better or move to a higher level beyond basic admin? In a university setting, this should be readily available. Things like computer training (new software, higher level functions of software you already know), project management, web design/management, PR and outreach skills, etc. Even language courses, if you serve a diverse clientel.

If you provide a breakdown of the specific tasks you are supposed to do, it might also help us help you brainstorm about how to expand or enhance your role.


2-23-12, 3:48pm
I was in your shoes when I started my current position twelve years ago. It was incredibly boring at first but my duties became multi-dimensional and much more complex as the years went by. We went from the director and myself to our present staff of 20 and continue to grow and morph. I am still here after two directors, scores of students and staff come and gone, programs galore - thanks for reminding me. I think it depends on how dynamic your director is the direction it will go. If he/she is energetic and entrepreneurial as mine have been, then things will get much more exciting. I concur that being in at the beginning can be a real opportunity to grow with the organization and help shape its destiny. I don't have regrets but I do recall a lot of boring days where I had to create my own time-fillers. I would give it a little more time unless you have something else waiting in the wings to go to.

Zoe Girl
2-23-12, 8:43pm
What I have done in the past, and the present since I am in a very flexible job at this point, is do research on things that are relevant and work on some skills. So I had not done any real Excel work and I had to compile some data, I took my extra time to really get into excel instead of just getting the data together. Turns out it was super simple.

Just an idea

2-23-12, 9:17pm
Jobs are supposed to be boring. That's what they are paying you for. But nontheless ideally you should be given work to do (regardless of how boring that work may be). If you aren't getting any work to do, that's a problem, I'd worry about whether they really need my position if I had no work.

cannot believe with the job market and economy as it is, an employer would let me sit around all day.

Ha, that's funny there are a lot of pretty dysfunctional large organizations (luckily I seldom work for large organizations), but it happens. Yes I had a job where I got almost no work for many months, I left it ...

2-24-12, 12:19am
My husband would also do "personal/professional" development during slow times. And there were slow times (this may, actually, be seasonal in your work). It wasn't the same work, btw, but most workplaces have 'seasonal' work.

In any case, his professional development took a lot of forms -- including taking relevant online courses. He had to get permission, but it kept him busy.

2-24-12, 12:55am
I have busied myself with learning the program, etc…I just think it’s up to my bosses to keep me interested and engaged.

I can't recall a job in my life where I expected my employer to "keep me interested". I have always kept myself interested, researching possibilities, doing professional development, making connections within the organization, figuring out how to make their systems run better, EVEN IF I NEVER SHARED MY FINDINGS WITH ANYONE. I always figured that, if I didn't yet know how to do my bosses' job, then I still had plenty to do in any downtime.

Sure, it would be swell if your employers kept you engaged to the degree you'd like right now, but I'd take note of their suggestion that it may not always be this slow, and maybe use your time in ways that are beneficial for the future days when you won't have a moment to go to the restroom, eat lunch away from your desk, or wind your wrist watch. What would help the insanely-busy Future You, if you did it/learned it now? What systems could you put into place that will serve you when the place is much, much busier? What do you enjoy most about what you currently do, and how can you use your free time to do more of it?

There are definitely some folks who feel like they're wasting their time if they're not busy all the time (and I'd like those people working for me :) ) But maybe you can find other ways to keep busy, get smarter, network, learn stuff on your own ---- on someone else's dime.