The thought of this topic sounds funny but sometimes you need to be crazy to achieve your desired career goals. This worked for me and I think it will work for you.
Many years ago I was at a job I didn’t like; it was more of a routine job and for a creative mind like mine, I often got mentally exhausted because of the monotonous nature of the job. Then, I was a fresh graduate with so much enthusiasm to grow in her career and also be able to contribute ideas to organisational growth. With the nature of my job, I didn’t see that forthcoming so I complained, nagged and ranted to anyone who cared to listen to me – did it change anything? No. I even set a timeframe for myself on when I will exit the company (I’m sure you understand) but the stipulated time came but there was no other job in sight. Frustration set in because I couldn’t just quit without any source of income – I felt stuck and unproductive. I wanted to leave in 6 months but I guess I was meant to learn a lesson on that job. As they say “na condition make crayfish bend’, na so I dey this job for 1 year and 6 months. (I stayed with the company for 1 year and 6 months).
A monotonous job is cancerous to creativity, slowly chipping off idea conceptualization and rips apart the deepest of imaginations.
Fast forward, I moved on with life hoping to never get back to that role EVER AGAIN; for another 4 years I had the type of job I imagined – it was a different country, different environment with a different style of work. I felt relevant once again, I could walk up to my supervisor and say, “hey Nick, I have this idea I think we can implement in our work”. The response will be something like, “oh that’s cool Lynda, when can we discuss it?” Soon, I had to return to Nigeria and one thing I feared the most was getting back to a monotonous job. I tried so hard to stay away from it but once again, the crayfish situation set in and I was left no choice than to take the SAME role again.
I found myself complaining AGAIN but this time, it was an advanced type of complaint; I had moved from complaining about the job to proffering solutions and asking questions about how we can switch things a bit to make the job fun and interesting. I remember my supervisor telling me “Lynda, this is Nigeria and there is a way things work here”. Gggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. I yelled inside but smiled outside (you do it too…. Lol). Let’s cut the story short – guess what? I still work here and I must tell you, I LOVE MY JOB. So the question is – what did I do to get here?
Break the Rules of Your Job Description
Hahaha, I don’t mean that literally – I’ve realized that the job description set out for every employee confines them to a box where they only eat, drink and breathe that job description. It locks you into a box called comfort zone and throws the key called creativity far away from you. So I was a customer service person and my job description was clearly stated but I deviated. I started designing process flows and drawing up directories – this was in a bid to make the work seamless for myself and my imaginary predecessors (I was still the newest staff in that department but I was already thinking of how to help the next person who will come after me). I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing (I think just 2 people); 13 months later, the process flows became VERY relevant in the organisation. Sometimes you need to be the change you want to see in your work place even if it means breaking the rules of your JD.
Do More Than is Required
We call this “over sabi” or ITK (I too know). How do you do more than is required? For example, if you are asked to do a presentation; don’t just put up power point slides with information and images – get a bit creative. Add graphical illustrations, use a designed layout, show statistics using charts/bars etc. Add some oomph to the final output of every work you’re assigned to do. Your colleagues may tease you about this but just keep at it – excellence never gets unnoticed, you’ll definitely be spotted.
Play! Play!! Play!!! At Work
Yes, I actually mean it – play at work but don’t play with your work. My work experience over the years have shown that whenever I see my place of work as a place of work, I just want to do my thing and escape (go home) as fast as I can. Last year, I decided to start seeing work as a hangout place; I started teasing all my colleagues in a bid to crack jokes and get them to laugh even when they are not in the mood for it. For my customers, I will find something to complement – the smile, shoes, accessory or hairstyle/haircut. Occasionally I’ll have a music on repeat (in my mind) and slowly dance to the tune; sometimes I’ll go to the rest room and do some shoki & shakitibobo in the mirror. Call me crazy but I was teaching myself to have fun at work and it worked. It wasn’t easy but it helped my sanity; more importantly, it gave me a sense of accomplishment when irate and unhappy customers leave our premises with a smile. When clients/customers are happy, your employer will love you more. Remember, all work and no play….. you know the rest.
Are you stuck in a job you don’t like? I believe there is something you can learn from there before moving to the next company – but while you’re still there, try some of these crazy ideas. You’ll learn to love the job and your employer will love you too (hopefully).