What excites you and unlocks your creativity and enthusiasm? What type of work are you happy doing?
For me, I like to create, execute, and then move on to the next thing – this is what pumps me up and keeps me going; staying in what I would call “maintenance” mode is boring and doesn’t excite me, so I have to remain in a project execution mode to be at my best constantly.
However, as an employee, I didn’t have control over all the roles I was assigned, so to thrive and advance my career, accepting and excelling on jobs that I considered boring and routine was part of the play.
To stay motivated, I made it a duty to redefine and recreate every job I was assigned within the allowable limits to either weed out the boring and routine parts or reposition them as fun and exciting for me.
My simple approach was first, to explore the learning opportunities and then understand the “why” of the job/role. Afterward, I constantly asked the odd questions, looking for improvement and change opportunities. Once I understood the “why,” everything else was subject to change and reorganization. I constantly modified tasks and adopted a project execution approach for delivery. While this may not have been possible for all jobs, it applied to most. There was always a tweakable element in every assignment.
Every job/role has a why (purpose), and once I understood the “why,” adopting different patterns of play for the “what” and the “how” was easily achievable. Any job/role that I couldn’t understand the “why” wasn’t worth doing, so I eliminated it.
In one of my roles, I recall, I was responsible for administering the contracts for contractor personnel in the company. I would say this remains the most frustrating and boring job I have ever done. It was time-consuming with heavy lifting but with insignificant impact and recognition. As a result, we typically used to refer to it as a thankless job.
After some weeks of doing this job, I knew something had to give. I then explored recreating every aspect of the job and related activities, including the stakeholders’ engagement protocol. I asked all the “whys” possible, was able to reinvent the “what” and the “how,” leading to several project-type activities that created the excitement I needed. I learned a lot, and eventually, the entire portfolio was reorganized, which elevated the organizational impact and visibility of the job.
How well do you know yourself and what works for you? How have you used this awareness to your advantage in advancing your career? What can you do differently or change about your current job to make it exciting for you?