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When you get a new design job, learning your new company’s design style, jumping into new projects and working with new creatives provides stimulation and excitement that keeps you engaged and on your toes. But after six months or so, the sheen can wear off, and you might find yourself going through the motions or twiddling your thumbs rather than looking forward to going to work. Is that a sign to look for your next gig?
Sure, job hopping is one solution for restlessness, but it’s likely not your best long-term strategy. A series of short stints doesn’t look great on your creative resume, as employers typically seek workers they can invest in for at least a few years.
So before you relaunch your job search, consider whether other adjustments might help you beat the boredom blues. Here are 8 ways to inject excitement into your current design job.
Bored at Work? Here Are 8 Ways to Create Excitement
1. Look at the big picture
Robert Half’s Work Happy report finds that doing meaningful work is the No. 1 driver of job satisfaction among creative professionals. Talk to your boss and coworkers about your projects to get a better sense of how the things you do contribute to the company’s overall goals. Colleagues in other departments can give additional perspective, as well. By better understanding the role you play, you may find more satisfaction in otherwise lackluster assignments.
2. Request other tasks
If you’re bored because you could do your work with your eyes shut, ask your manager about taking on more challenging assignments. Projects that allow you to master new software or take you outside your comfort zone are especially good.
3. Learn something new
You don’t have to wait for your boss’ blessing to add novelty to your day. Think about a skill you’ve always wanted to acquire, such as 3D modeling or digital strategy, then talk to your manager about how learning it might benefit you, your projects and the team.
Many employers have outreach initiatives, so shake up your routine by getting involved. Join the group that collects toys for children or donations for food banks. Participate in company-sponsored events. Not only will you beat boredom, but you also get to network with people from outside your department, which is always useful for advancing your career.
5. Attend inspiring events
South by Southwest, HOW Design Live and Camp Digital are a few of the many confabs for creative pros. If your employer doesn’t have the budget to send you to a national event, look into local and regional forums to feed your creative soul.
6. Get involved in mentoring
Whether you’re the mentor or a mentee, you’ll gain a fresh perspective—and possibly find new passion for your current job. Participating in a mentorship program also enlarges your professional network, making this relationship a win on several levels.
7. Literally change your view
Creativity stagnates when you look at the same things every day, so get out and about more often. Take a walk in nature. Spend your lunch break at a new cafe or bookstore. Pay more attention to architectural details, store displays and cool signage. Make it a habit to rest your eyes on more than a screen.
8. Socialize more
Work buddies can make the day more enjoyable. If you don’t have good friends at the office, do something about it. Spend less time eating lunch at your desk and more time with your coworkers. Stay for after-work drinks rather than rushing home, taking the time to get to know the people you work with better.
Even the most active mind can’t escape occasional bouts of boredom. But rather than stewing in ennui, use it as an impetus for self-improvement, flexing your creative muscles and greater happiness.
- Meghan Newell, senior art director at Lyft
- Mike Rice, creative director at Amazon, former senior creative director at Whole Foods, former global design director at PepsiCo, former global creative director at P&G
- Viet Huynh, communication designer at Slack