There are few activities in life more satisfying than pulling out a big wad of cash and blowing it on something you really don’t need. That feeling of handing the better part of your rent money to a grubby handed shop assistant in exchange for whatever it is that floats your boat. It is so much fun.
The only problem is that money doesn’t grow on trees and most of us have nowhere near enough of the damned stuff. While some people are privileged enough to be born with a silver spoon up their backside and others swell their bank account secret stash with the proceeds from a life of crime, the majority of us need to do it the old fashioned way. That’s right, we need a job.
It’s just that most jobs suck. They are mainly boring, uninspiring and pound us into a near comatose state by their sheer repetition. Not to mention the highly probably chance that you work with a bunch of idiots and a boss that hates you more than life itself.
So what are your options? Well, you can either carry on the same way as always in the forlorn hope that something changes; or you can mix things up a bit by doing one of the 8 things on this list, such as…
1. Raising your standards
If you’re anything like me then you may tend to coast through some of your work days – doing the bare minimum to keep your manager off your back and to convince your colleagues that you are a vital cog in the office machine.
It’s ok, not everyone can be the superstar. You just want to turn up, do your thing and go home with as little fuss as possible. I get it, really. Here is an alternative though; for the rest of this week, put 100% effort into everything you do. Smash your sales targets, turn in brilliant reports, scrub that toilet so hard that you see your disgruntled face in the ceramic reflection. Regardless of what you do for a living, do it to the best of your ability. Why? To see what happens.
The mark of a successful person is to do your best, even when nobody is looking. Your boss may just notice this surge in effort, and after picking their jaw up off the floor, they may start to form a new opinion of you as a reliable, hardworking employee. As a bonus, this may give you more freedom to slack off in the future… but I didn’t tell you that.
2. Getting on the good side of your boss
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Come closer, I don’t want to broadcast this in public!
Your boss is human. Barely, but they are flesh and bone just like you and I. One of the very best things you can do in your workplace is to align yourself with the powers that be. Find out what makes your boss tick. Do they love sports? What team do they support? Strike up a conversation following the big game and show them that you are someone who they can have an interesting sporting debate with.
Does your boss have a picture of their family on their desk? Ask about them, show genuine interest and if you have kids yourself, brilliant – you have just gained access to the matrix – that’s a great subject to bond over, especially if they have new born baby.
The benefit of this tactic is that when done correctly, your boss will overlook you for the more menial and boring tasks, instead giving them to the new guy or that strange fellow that never talks to anyone and could be on the verge of going postal. Anyway, the point being, the more your boss likes you, the less they will bother you. That’s a win in my book.
3. Failing that, get on the good side of their boss
If your boss is a complete ass and has the approachability of a 7ft meth addict, you could do a lot worse than attempting to get on the good side of their boss. The same rules apply as before, find out something that you can connect with and you’re good to go.
Now, this top level manager dude (or dudette) will give the impression that they are very busy, and thus will usually spend their days rushing around or spend a lot of time pretending to be on the phone. Everyone knows the higher you go, the less you actually do but they don’t want anyone to know this, so timing is everything here. The best time to approach is toward the end of the day or just after lunch – times when they don’t really want to do anything. Never approach if they have a phone in their hand or if they look like they want to stab someone in the eyes – this usually means that your immediate boss, the ass, has probably messed up somewhere. You don’t want to be tarnished with the same level of incompetence, so hang back a while and let the dust settle.
The obvious benefit of befriending the top dog is that everyone will be afraid of upsetting you, thus you can stroll through your workday with impunity and a smug grin on your face.
4. If you haven’t a best friend at work, make one
The one thing everyone needs to have at work is a partner in crime. In my previous job I used to cross paths with a dude who worked in a similar area to me and we would always stop and chat about who the cutest women were. Ladies, we know you do it with the men too. But it was just our way of alleviating the day to day boredom of what we were doing.
At another job I met a guy who would go on to become one of my best friends. We would have fun trying to hide from the managers and we would dare each other to do more extreme things such as doubling our lunch break or running off to the pub mid-shift because our manager had a day off.
It was fun because the blame was shared between the two of us. If I got in trouble for something then at least I wasn’t the only one. I’m not suggesting that you skive off work though…
Oh wait, I totally am…
5. Don’t be afraid to pull a sickie once in a while
If you’re doubled over with pain and your insides feel like they want to announce themselves to the world you really only have one option. Well two, but if you’re not pregnant, or male, then it does only leave one option. You have no choice but to phone in sick and spend the day in bed. But did you know that if you pretend to have a deadly disease or three, the outcome can be exactly the same?
You can phone in sick too.
Sometimes the stresses of everyday life can get a bit too much and occasionally we just want to get away from it all. We are tricked into thinking that the only illnesses that count are those that physically prevent you from doing something. What about the illnesses that affect our mental wellbeing? They can be just as crippling but we are supposed to carry on regardless.
If you feel overwhelmed with life, struggle with depression or are feeling anxious and stressed to the point where you can’t face the world, it’s more than acceptable to have a rest day. Sometimes taking ourselves out of the firing line is like medicine for the mind. Don’t be afraid to take a sick day if you feel like you need it.
If you want a more in depth guide in how to do this effectively, click here, enter your email address and download my free eBook that includes a chapter in how to call in sick.
6. Organise an event or a works night out
One of the most effective ways to improve your social life is to be the glue that binds people together. If you gain a reputation as the connector then people will always view you as an important part of their lives. This dynamic is even more effective in the workplace so this is your opportunity to rise to the top of the social hierarchy and become the person your colleagues turn to when they want to let their hair down.
Talk to some people and start gathering opinions about what people want to do. If it’s a young environment then you can’t go wrong with a payday night on the town. If it’s a mixed bag of ages then it could be fun to organize a quiz night. Both are great options and you may be surprised to discover how easy it is to get people involved. Work is boring and we all want something to look forward to at the end of the week.
If you’re a little mischievous you may even want to create an environment where some of your colleagues will either hook up, cause a bit of trouble, embarrass themselves or if you’re lucky, all three. And if there is one thing a truly vibrant workplace needs, it’s a bit of gossip.
7. Use idle time to plan ahead
My 5 years spent stacking shelves was so monotonous and boring that I literally tried to do anything to pass the time. Picking random numbers in my head and trying to work out the percentage difference between them was a particular favourite of mine. Yes I am that much of a geek, get over it.
Another method of keeping my brain engaged with reality was to use my toilet breaks as a way to write lyrics. I would literally spend a couple of hours every month sat on the loo writing new songs and planning future tasks.
If you think this is weird, I’m not the only one. Author and martial artist Geoff Thompson blagged so much free time during his days as a factory sweeper he managed to write his first bestselling book, ‘Watch my back’. JK Rowling took time out from being a parent to write the first Harry Potter book in an Edinburgh café. Both of these people blagged extra time during their day to get their projects finished.
So use that computer sat in front of you right now for something useful. Plan a holiday, open up a word document and write out a bucket list, find a cool blog and read something interesting (thanks), update your CV and apply for new jobs – all things you can do during those moments when work bores you to tears.
8. Hand in your notice
I will assume that you are reading this at work – if so, take a few seconds to look around and really take in your surroundings.
I’ll wait here…
What did you notice? Did you see a positive atmosphere? Do you feel relaxed and at ease where you are?
Now think about what you were doing before you stumbled upon this awesome article. Was it a worthwhile task? Did it engage your brain and stimulate your senses? Does your job make a difference to anyone’s life? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment and pride over what you do for 40 + hours a week?
If the answer to any of these is a resounding ‘no’, and you have a bit of a financial cushion then how about handing in your notice? Think about how awesome it would feel to just alt+tab outta here, open up a blank text document, write out your resignation and casually stroll over to your boss and place it on their desk. It would be the greatest, most liberating moment of your week… maybe even your year.
Ok, it takes gargantuan balls to do this so I understand if nobody actually goes through with it, but for a moment, just sit back and imagine yourself handing in your notice. Every time that you feel frustrated, annoyed or fed up with your job just enter fantasy mode and visualise yourself telling your boss where to stick it.
Seriously, do this right now. I’ll wait again…
It felt good right? Embrace this feeling. If you do this regularly it will form a habit in your mind and sometime in the near future you may just act out this fantasy for real. Again, click here to download my free eBook that contains a chapter on how to hand in your notice. You have no excuses!
So try out some of these and let me know how it goes. Which one of these 8 methods are you going to attempt? Do you think it will make a difference to your work day?
#6. Yes. Yes! People generally love socializing but most people are afraid to initiate. Be the leader and organize something. If no one shows any interest than it’s clear that there’s no chemistry. It’s worth taking the risk anyway because bonds can be made.
Vincent recently posted..48 Variables That Make the Biggest Difference in Your Life
Of course! People just need someone to make that first move and the beauty is that you can do this at college too. A bored class is no different than a bored office.
i LOVE your articles. I am using them like a weightlifter uses protein powder. I’m on my way to the Olympics of Life, yo! haha! i work as a f-timer as an exec assistant to two doctors in a hospital setting and after 2 years, the silent caste system is driving me mental. i know there is a better way – i have a toddler and my guy is a stay@home dad & musician, and we are working on a plan to full time RV across Canada, beginning in the early spring. we bought our trailer 2 weeks ago. i have sat down with your ebook about once a weekend for the last month, in the sun, with a beer, while we get our wee nest egg together. I expect i will have it memorised by Christmas and my Christmas prezzie to myself is handing in my notice. Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Christmas!
I am so jealous of you right now! Travelling in an RV across Canada sounds awesome. Doing a huge road trip like that is one of the things I want to do in life so congrats!
I think #8 will definitively make a difference to my work day :))
Last month I handed in notice after I had been working for that company for more than 10 years. First of all I’ll go to Toronto in October and attend a 4-week English course at an international language school – and then followed by one week of vacation (also Canada) visiting some friends 🙂
After my trip I’ll study two further years and will then enter a new field of work.
It hadn’t been feeling good for the last years doing my job. And now I feel great after I’ve taken that decision. On the one hand there is some kind of insecurity about the next two years for I won’t have any regular income. But on the other hand I’m sure I’ll find my way how to get along and earn some money for a living.
During the past ten years I had tried different things you mentioned above to pimp up my job but finally I took my discontentment seriously and am pursuing a new way. I mean it took me 1-2 months to take my decision but overall my personal progress is still going on.
Greetings from Germany, Claudia 🙂
Das ist eine gute Nachricht. Leben jetzt beginnt fur sie! 🙂
Pardon my poor German! It took me several months to quit my last job so I know how it feels. Well done on taking the plunge and I’m sure you are excited about your future. It’s natural to feel insecure, and yes your income may be lower but you will grow so much as a person. Awesome!
“The approachability of a 7ft meth addict” may be the greatest line I’ve ever heard 🙂
Raising your standards and putting that extra effort into your job can definitely make things less sucky. When I worked as an ophthalmic technician, I hated life. But I remember thinking what’s the point of half-assing this? Why don’t I just make the best of this and treat every patient like they’re the only person in the world. It definitely had a huge impact on my working experience.
Kevin Cole recently posted..Why You Shouldn’t Just Feel The Fear And Fucking Do It Anyway
This was actually an idea I first heard from Lars Ulrich of Metallica. He said that it wouldn’t matter what he did for a living as he would embrace it and put 100% into it because that’s the way he was raised. It definitely resonated with me! Thanks for your comment Kevin!
This is a fantastic post! I think your first point about raising our standard is so essential. When we do more than what is required or expected we will gain influence and respect. It all start by making the choice to have a standard of excellence.
Exactly, if we raise our standards it will filter through to every area of our lives. People will look at us in a different, more positive light and that will in turn raise our own self belief. Thanks for stopping by!
If your boss has very little idea of what you do in your job because she was launched into her position, and the top dude has instructed you – in front of her – to train her to “train her up”, could be ideal. I assure you that it is not. You can only teach someone who is wanting to learn. I have tried most of your recommendations, and while I believe you’re correctly identifying areas for improvement, one can only do so much. Now, I am complete isolation, I am the single individual, who can do my job – within the company, right now – and my new boss has not any inclination to improve our working relationship. All attempts at making human connections or involvement in my work has been dismissed. Now, I have reached the bitterness level. I am almost 60, alone, and take care of a number of family members. I also have expensive medical issues, which makes walking away an impossibility.