How to Get More Out of an Underwhelming Job


If you’re anything like me, you like to be busy at work. I don’t like going to work and feeling like my knowledge or skill set isn’t being utilized.  I had a job where I would clock in at 7am and be done with my work for the day by 9:30am. I would have absolutely nothing to do for the rest of the work day. I mean literally, I was doing everything from catching up on TV Shows, finding new TV Shows and/or Movies to watch, listening to Podcast, watching YouTube videos to surfing the internet. I wanted to fill utilized so I came up with four ways to get more out of my job.

Use this opportunity as a learning experience. A job that’s underwhelming can help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses. It can also teach you what you want in a job.  You figure out what you want your typical work day to be, what type of management style you’re looking for, team environment.  When I was interviewing for other jobs while in this role, I’d ask, “What is the team hierarchy and how many people are on the team?” This was a big one for me.  I was currently on a big team and wanted to go to a smaller team where more responsibility fell on my shoulder to strengthen my skills and to get me busy throughout the day.

Use co-workers as resources. Get to know and build relationships with your supervisor and co-workers to learn from their experiences.  You can learn from them what type of experience that they have from previous companies or other departments they’ve worked in to figure out what you want to do in life.  Also, get a mentor at your current job and build beneficial connections.  These people may know someone in the community at another company that you are looking to get hired at and put in a good word for you or you may want to use them as reference.

Ask to be put on special projects. Every now and then, special projects would come up.  At this particular company, however, they would put the same 5 people in rotation of asking them to be on these special projects.  It wasn’t until I had gotten a new supervisor who I related to and felt completely comfortable with being open about how I felt about things, that I was put on a special project.  I personally feel like this shows management that you are interested in learning and doing other things.  It also gives you a chance to have things on your plate so that you are not bored throughout the day.

Shadow a different department. I worked in a shared services center, so being able to shadow a different department was never a problem, especially if it was an area of interest for you.  Slap some a time on someone in that department to shadow them and most likely they’d accept.  You never know, you may actually like that department better than yours and when the time is right, you could definitely asked to be moved to that department.

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