A former Googler and career coach tells clients with boring jobs that it's OK, and it can even be a good thing
- It's OK to be bored at work - in fact, sometimes it's advisable.
- That's according to Lindsay Gordon, a career coach and a former Google employee.
- Gordon said if the job fulfills your top values, like financial security, then it might be worth keeping.
- Plus, a boring job can afford you time and energy to spend on hobbies and family life.
Lindsay Gordon remembers one of her early career-coaching clients: a high-powered lawyer who was making a lot of money.
The only problem? "She was pretty bored at work," Gordon said. "She was feeling underutilized and not challenged and all of her friends were constantly telling her, 'You should not stay in this boring job!'"
But instead of helping the woman launch a search for a more fulfilling job, Gordon took a step back. She guided the woman in some exercises to figure out her most important values.
As it turned out, financial stability was at the top, largely since the woman had a young child. And financial stability was exactly what the woman's "boring" job provided.
Gordon runs career-coaching company A Life of Options; she previously worked at Google, most recently as a career development and team culture program manager. On her blog, she has a post titled "It's OK to Have a Boring Job" - an argument she describes as "revolutionary" to many people.
In the blog post, Gordon writes that some clients react to this message with "incredible relief that their job doesn't have to be everything to them." Others realize that they do in fact want to be excited about something they spend so much time on.
The high-powered lawyer Gordon worked with was in the first group.
Once the woman heard that it was fine to have a boring job, Gordon told me, "it really reframed her entire experience of her job because being able to provide for her family and have financial stability was the No. 1 important thing for her."
A boring job can allow you to dedicate time and energy to other pursuits
For many people, Gordon added, a boring job has a lot of advantages, like being able to dedicate time and energy to experiences outside of work. Think hobbies, volunteering, or simply spending time with family. One client worked eight-hour days and spent the rest of his time writing a novel.
Gordon's clients aren't the only people seeking validation in their choice of a boring job.
Over on Reddit, Pete_Worst wrote that he was looking specifically for an "office job that is 9-5 and requires no additional thought once you clock out." Pete_Worst added, "I know that seems lazy and unambitious, but I just can't help wanting a 'normal' job. All of my professional jobs have been drama-filled (working with individuals with disabilities) and very emotionally exhausting."
Some people responded urging Pete_Worst to find work that is fulfilling; others were more sympathetic. As profoundlybored put it, "priorities vary from person to person, so it's entirely likely that one person's 'boring and monotonous' is another person's 'stable and predictable.'"
The key, Gordon said, is figuring out what works for you, at this point in your life. In the blog post, Gordon writes that "just because you choose a boring job at this stage of life doesn't mean that you won't want to challenge yourself more in your job in the future, or vice versa."
Gordon told me, "If it's a boring job, and your friends are telling you that you need a change. but you know that it works for you, [you should be] able to feel good and confident in that position."