I recently read an article in Money magazine about what to do if you’re dissatisfied at work. The article recommended taking on additional projects and making sure that your work advanced your boss’s top priorities. This would be good advice to the employee who has slumped into a pattern of unproductivity, the employee who takes frequent coffee breaks and who will gladly listen to any and every colleague’s Pee Wee soccer game stories as long as it means burning up time that should be spent at work. If you don’t intend to leave your field, if you don’t intend to find another job in your field, if you’ve just allowed yourself to get too comfortable because things have gotten too easy, taking on additional assignments to reignite your interest and commitment is a good idea.
But . . . if you do want to leave your field or you do intend to find another job, it’s not. Don’t entrench yourself further if every day you play the fantasy “I quit” speech in your head. Working even harder in a job you’ve outgrown (if you ever liked it at all) is not likely to give you a new perspective. Does this mean you should slack off, call in sick every other day, or use up all of your vacation days? No. You have a commitment to your employer for the duration you’re there. They’re providing you with a paycheck if nothing else – a paycheck for your job. So do your job and, as best you can without compromising your job, set boundaries. Invest your time in yourself, not the situation that is no longer propelling you forward.