It's OK to Have a Boring Job.

It’s OK to have a boring job.

(Am I even allowed to say that?)

I don’t think anyone ever tells us that it’s OK to have a boring job. It definitely doesn’t work for everyone. And it definitely does work for some people.

I only just recently noticed how revolutionary this message seems to be. I’ve been sharing it more and more often, the most recent time was at a workshop I co-hosted a few weeks ago. Participants kept coming up to me afterward saying how grateful they were to hear someone say that it was OK to have a boring job.

So now I’m on a mission to tell people that it’s OK to have a boring job if it works for them.


The “Good Enough Job”

Here’s a common experience for a lot of clients I work with: there’s someone in their life that is encouraging them to change jobs because the job isn’t fulfilling or challenging them. Or the client is feeling pressure from the expectations we put on our jobs to be fulfilling, challenging, well-paid, exciting, impactful, fun, inspiring, mission-driven… and the list goes on.

I uncovered the idea of a “Good Enough Job” a few years ago, reading Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. She describes the “Good Enough Job” as:

"If a job isn't unpleasant, doesn't eat up more than 40 hours a week, pays well, and provides security - it can give you the freedom to do all the things you love on your own time. People complain about unfulfilling jobs until they understand what the Good Enough Job actually is, and then they feel very different about them.

Think of it as a job that doesn't bother you, whose only crime is that it's just not enough to fulfill your life. But it provides money and security and the freedom to fulfill your life in your free hours. That sounds like a great job to me."

When I share this definition with my clients, one of two responses occur. One is incredible relief that their job doesn’t have to be everything to them and the other is that actually, that doesn’t really work for them because that’s a lot of hours to be spending on something they’re not really excited about.

For the latter group of people, that’s a great thing to know about yourself. Your work is going to be one of the main sources of passion, drive and purpose in your life and you should look for that.

For the former people, that’s also a great thing to know about yourself and you get to stay in your “Good Enough Job” without feeling the pressure of society or friends and family to make a move. As long as you’re getting to choose the tradeoffs and know why it works for you, that’s a great outcome.

One client recently discovered that, for her, a boring job is OK, and it doesn’t mean she's a slacker or unambitious. It really allows her to spend time with her niece which is one of the most important parts of her life right now.

There can be hidden upsides to a boring job.

Your job glass is half full?

Your job glass is half full?

I’ve had clients discover so many upsides of a boring job because it left them with a surplus of time or mental energy.

One client used his boring job to write a novel. He was responsible for tracking his own output and results and he found that he could get all the work he needed to get done in less than an eight-hour day. The rest of the day he worked on writing the novel he’s always wanted to write.

Another client used her boring job to dedicate time and energy to her love of languages. She was able to clock out at a reasonable time every day and head to Russian class.

Yet another client dedicated her extra time and energy to volunteering for a crisis hotline. She was considering grief counseling as a future career and wanted to test it out before spending time and money on a degree and a complete career switch.

If it works for you and your life, a boring job can be just what you need.

Your friends and family may not understand.

One of the most interesting calls I’ve ever had with a potential client was with a guy who didn’t actually want my coaching.

He agreed to do an introductory call with me to get his friends and family off his back. They saw his unfilling job and were really pushing him to move to a job that was more fulfilling.

He was perfectly OK with his unfulfilling job because he was excited to launch a new business and his boring job gave him the time and energy to do that.

Your friends and family really may be concerned that you’re not challenging yourself in your job. The way to make a decision separate from their concerns is to be very clear about why your boring job works for you and why you’re choosing it.

You can also re-evaluate at different stages of life. Just because you choose a boring job at this stage of life doesn’t mean that you won’t want to challenge yourself more in your job in the future, or vice versa. Your purpose can come from your family, your work, your hobbies, your or volunteering. and it may change several times over the course of your life.

Do what works for YOU.

My entire message is that you should do what works for YOU. Own that boring job if it works for you. Find a job that fulfills your drive and purpose if that works for you. Move between them as often as it works for you.

"Repeat after me... It's OK for you to have a boring job if it works for you"

"Repeat after me... It's OK for you to have a boring job if it works for you"

A boring job absolutely does not work for everyone and the trick is to figure out if it does work for you. If it’s revolutionary to hear that it’s OK for you to have a boring job, I’ll tell you a few more times so it starts to sink in.

It’s OK for you to have a boring job if it works for you.

It’s OK for you to have a boring job if it works for you.

It’s OK for you to have a boring job if it works for you.

The key is knowing whether it works for you.

If you're analytically minded and feeling uninspired or crushed by an ill-fitting job, check out my group program - Crushed to Confident. Get un-crushed, rigorously evaluate and understand your current role and confidently make career decisions that feel good to you. Join the list here to get first access to the 12 spots.