No one sits at work and says to anyone who will listen: "Please give me the worst assignments you can think of. Make sure to dump your boring work on me, and don't forget to make sure I miss any new opportunities."
Yet, that's what happens to many workers. One day they look around and realize that other people are working on exciting -- or at least interesting -- projects. They're not stuck in an endless loop of mundane projects and inane assignments. They wonder how their job became such a dead end.
If you feel some changes need to be made to improve your job and get more interesting work, you need to:
- Get out of your comfort zone. You may have gotten stuck with boring tasks or bad assignments simply because you're, well, physically stuck. You don't get out of your chair or leave your work station unless it's to visit the bathroom or vending machine. It's time you started walking around, hand delivering messages to colleagues or chatting with someone in another department when you see them in the hallway. Start asking questions about their work, since this is one of the best ways to spot a new project that may be headed to your department. The networking will pay off in other ways, as your friendlier attitude gives others a chance to learn of your skills and enthusiasm for various work. When it comes time to pass out assignments, your name is more likely to come up.
- Break out of your rut. Another way to find more exciting work is by learning a new skill, such as a new software program. Work can become boring when it's not interspersed with something that offers you a challenge. At the same time, your willingness to learn new things on your own signals to leaders that you're up for new challenges. Don't forget to let your boss and colleagues know that you've developed new skills -- and are willing to use your new abilities to help them.
- Pitch in. Don't just sit by and wait for someone to offer you better assignments. Offer to help a colleague who is working on a great project, even if it means doing some more mundane tasks in the beginning. The point is for others to see you as someone they can count on and a great team member. Your willingness to help a colleague may help that person mention you for the next great project.
Even though you may not be able to get out of all the tasks you don't like, the more you are proactively seeking to excel in other areas, the more others will see that your talents are better used elsewhere.