Ask the Coach: Bored at work? Time for a new goal…

September is a great time to recharge your work ‘mojo’ by taking on a new goal or two. That’s the theme of one of my recent articles published in my column “Ask a Coach” in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) online newsletter CareerVision.  Thought you might be interested in reading it…..

Q. I recently finished a large project at work that I had been involved with for months. It was extremely busy with a tremendous amount of effort, but I enjoyed the challenge and it resulted in a huge success. Now that it’s over, the pace has slowed down and I’m feeling a little bored with not enough to do. Any tips?


Your question is interesting because it raises a different issue in the work-life balance equation. Often we assume that it’s always about having too much work. But a recent survey conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence revealed that not having enough work can be more of a negative issue than too much work. According to the research, only 44 per cent of employees who said they didn’t have enough work were satisfied with their jobs; in comparison 69 per cent of those with too much work said they were satisfied with their jobs.   With respect to your situation, it sounds like you enjoy being challenged and busy and may need a new project or goal to sink your teeth into! Creating and committing to meaningful goals are integral to having fulfillment at work and life — they can give us a sense of purpose. Goals can also provide a context to create ‘sub-goals’ along the way which helps us focus, manage time and celebrate success along the way.

Often we find ourselves focusing our attention on getting to the ‘destination’ — the end result. It feels good when we’ve achieved success, but that feeling can be fleeting if you don’t have meaningful goals for the road ahead. Indeed, this underscores the value of the journey along the way.



Questions for Reflection

If ‘what’s next’ is on your mind, there are different types of goals to consider. They don’t always have to be big goals — sometimes smaller ones will do just as well. Here are some questions to prompt your reflection:

: What skills would you like to develop further? Is there a course, book or project that you can engage in to support this development?

Courses and credentials
: When your workload is a little lighter, consider this an opportune time to engage in continuing education. Have you thought of advancing your credentials or pursuing other related designations? Or simply take a course that interests you and/or will advance your professional skills and knowledge?

Work projects in and out of your regular duties
: Is there an opportunity to participate in or initiate a project at work that may not yet be on your radar? Think in terms of both your specific job-related duties as well as other possibilities, such as helping to organize a corporate volunteer initiative, a company social event, or a learning event.

Personal/professional development
: Have you considered professional development pursuits that are focused on intrinsic competencies vs. content driven? For instance, what about a new skill within areas of leadership development, communications, or organization skills?  

Expand your business and/or social network
: How’s your network? Might this be a time to set goals around expanding your professional and personal network?

Stretch goals
: Is there an opportunity to truly stretch yourself in your work life? Perhaps attempt a task that is a little outside your comfort zone and current experience.

Stepping stone goals
: Is there a bigger goal that might prompt some smaller, ‘stepping stone’ goals that can help you get there?

Just for fun and joy goals?
A little boost in the fun factor outside of work can never hurt.  Perhaps there’s a passion or hobby you’d like to reconnect with? Or an opportunity to try something new? Engaging in meaningful activities outside of work can also benefit your overall attitude at work.

Once you come up with a goal or two that resonates with you, write up some meaningful commitments and actions to get you started, and think about sub-goals along the way. Most of all, remember that the journey is as important as the end result. So enjoy, celebrate, and acknowledge your efforts along the way.
To a TGIM worklife!


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