Bill Gates quit college to create Microsoft, Jeff Bezos left Wall Street to build Amazon; J. K. Rowling lived on welfare checks as she penned Harry Potter. While we can admire these success stories built on risk, we often separate ourselves from doing similar. We have responsibilities, mortgages, children. With that said, if you play your career too safe and avoid most risks, you’ll likely find yourself bored at work, unfulfilled and potentially less successful.
Please don’t settle for boredom
It’s become an acceptable stereotype to find work boring. Not many people like their jobs, right? The trouble is, boredom often shows itself in effort and creativity. When you start working at a new company, you’re typically excited. You want to impress your boss, learn new skills, become close to your co-workers (well, some of them). You go out of your way to prove yourself. But when you’re bored and uninspired, you don’t have the same energy.
You don’t put in the same commitment. I imagine, you begin to see your career path as a necessity rather than opportunity. It’s just another day at the office, or at the store, etc. An article on Real Buzz mentions research which suggests ‘chronic boredom’ can impact your health (leading you to consume negative stimulants such as alcohol) and can increase your likelihood of dying before your expected age.
The benefits of taking risks
Risk-taking encourages us to challenge ourselves and in the process, create more play. Nobody ever says, ‘Wow, being predictable is so fun!’ Unless of course, we’re talking about routine coffee breaks. Besides the fun and challenge, going against predictability helps us handle fear. Website inspireforlifecoaching.com, says taking risks strengthens ‘our natural courage’. We can’t resist something we’ve already done. The more we avoid, the more scared we feel.
Business.com believe risk-takers provide ‘Untapped creativity’ and make ‘High-achieving team players.’ While it’s easy to assume freedom leads to independent thought, it arguably brings people together. If you let people take risks in a team, they can feel happier working with others, rather than trying to go against the status quo.
Importantly, taking risks gives us the tools and understanding to know what we want. As Seek Learning states, we can free ourselves from ‘limbo’, improve our current circumstances and develop self-confidence. Both individuals and companies can benefit from taking career gambles.
Suggested read: 6 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Passion Business
Bored at work: Deciding what risks to take
If your job feels boring, there’s no doubt you’ve thought about handing in your notice. Without a credible plan in place, this isn’t always a solution. Take it from me. In my early twenties, I abruptly left a job assuming I’d easily find another. I didn’t – I was close to needing government support before I took on a similar role and faced the same issues.
According to Monster, you should never hastily quit your job, do something unethical or overstep boundaries. It’s all about well-calculated risks:
- Presenting your manager with a detailed plan on how to effectively implement your new ideas.
- Ensuring a financial security net before giving up your monthly pay check.
- Understanding the possible consequences and failures as well as successes.
- Knowing what the problems are before trying to put together a quick solution.
If you’re someone who naturally avoids risks, try taking baby steps first. Walk to work on the opposite side of the road, visit a new coffee shop, try a different salad combination. If you want more responsibility at work, take the risk of speaking up in a meeting, offer a new suggestion. Put yourself in a place where it becomes normal to not always feel comfortable.
Bustle recommends looking at switching industries rather than just job, not accepting a promotion if it doesn’t align with your career goals, and agreeing to ‘Things outside your comfort zone’. Publication Dice suggest building skills outside your niche and possibly cutting down on working hours.
There are plenty of ways to take new risks and challenge yourself. If you’re bored at work, really take the time to look at what’s causing your boredom. We suggest going over your work history and highlighting each role/task that you gave you the most joy and then deciphering what tasks feel the most draining. Your risk-taking might lead to a different career or simply a new way of working – perhaps more team-work. Regardless, you’ll be on a new path and feeling less bored at work.
Ready to take a career chance? Here’s how to Make and Stick to a Decision