There may come a time when you will wake up to realize you’re done. You’ve lost interest. It could be that on the surface the job looks like it should be ok. Maybe you’ve had some great accomplishments, are paid well and you like the people you work with. It could be just the opposite set of conditions like a toxic environment, bad boss and mind-numbing work. Regardless of how you arrived at your state of boredom, you are now faced with the challenging task of staying engaged.
When your brain has pulled the emotional plug on any attachment for a job, staying engaged is hard. You see this problem all the time with people who have given notice. It’s called “short-timers attitude” for a reason. Short-timers are no longer invested in the outcome of actions being taken. They don’t care about rules or policies, people or even their own behavior at times. For those who work around a short-timer, on one hand they kind of envy the reckless abandon, but on the other they are often frustrated at how very little the short-timer seems to care.
You now need to keep yourself from showing how very little interest or regard you may have for your job and place of business. Even if you are now deciding to change jobs or find a new career, you need to ensure the rest of your time in this job remains consistent with your past. If you don’t, you risk alienating the boss, co-workers or even getting fired. While some of the things short timers do can seem kind of funny, no one really likes to work with someone who simply doesn’t care.
Here are some tips for staying engaged:
Keep your comments to yourself. Don’t start talking to anyone at work about your newly discovered boredom. It will get around; and once it does, people will start looking for signs of disengagement.
Do something new. Even if you plan to leave, find something new to help perk up your waning attitude. Doing something you don’t typically do does get the juices flowing, if for no other reason than it forces you to step out of the routine.
Learn something. Take a class that helps support your job. You could take a software class or even one on effective communication. Learning is a stimulating activity and makes you perk up your energy level because it is unfamiliar territory for your brain.
Pay attention to your performance. Make sure you keep your eye on your performance everyday. It may require a bit more of your time and energy, but this will ensure you don’t slip.
“Act” your way through the day. How does an engaged person behave? You need to do things like ask questions about the status of a project, follow up on details, and echo positive sentiments about the outcome of things.
Watch your office hours. If the idea of staying one minute longer now sounds intolerable, don’t suddenly go from a 60-hour workweek down to a 39.5-hour workweek. People will notice and start asking.
Watch what you say to yourself. We are so good at convincing ourselves of almost anything. You need to be very careful what you are repeating to yourself. While you may truly be bored or lack interest, don’t dwell on it. You will only make things worse.
You never know how long the period of time will be from discovering your own lack of interest to the time you walk out the door. It could take a few years, which means you need to stay engaged and delivering well each day. When or if you do leave, you want to leave with everyone else wanting you to stay.