Job Doc

I’ve been in the same role for a while now and I’m starting to get bored. Can I talk to my manager about it? Elaine Varelas guides

Boredom on the job can be a problem, especially if you’ve been in a career for a long time. Elaine Varelas guides on how to approach a possible change in responsibilities and what sort of conversation you can have to rekindle excitement in your career.

Ask the Job Doc.

Q: I like my company’s mission, colleagues, and boss, but I’m starting to get a bit bored with the work as I have been in the same role for 4 years. How do I talk with my manager about what’s next without looking like a bad employee?

A: When you say you’ve been in the same role for 4 years – have you had the same title or same responsibilities? Often people look at a new title as a new job, but there may not be any changes in responsibilities, which is what most people are looking for. If you’re bored, part of this is your responsibility, and you should take the time to examine your capabilities. Peoples’ roles don’t tend to change for a variety of reasons, such as not expressing an interest in change, not volunteering to help someone on another project, not being easy to engage, or not being an expert at the current work responsibilities. Take a hard look at your contribution: have you demonstrated expertise in your current role? Have you sought out increased responsibilities or volunteered for additional responsibilities? Projects or learning opportunities are key and seeking them out can increase your visibility and let people know you want more. Additionally, volunteering your time for other projects would demonstrate an ability to manage your own career development as opposed to waiting to be called on.


Some organizations are formally involved in succession planning and will outline a career path for you. However, most are not. If this is the case, you will have to start self-managing your growth opportunities. The first step you should take is during your annual performance review. You’ll get all the information you need from your manager during the review process, including what you’re good at, what you need to develop, and what your future role may be. You can use these insights as a guide for deciding what additional responsibilities you could possibly take on and what you would need to do personally to improve your blind spots. You can also ask questions to yourself beforehand to help your manager understand your capabilities. Do you have skills no one knows about? Have you discussed these with your manager? Have you offered to help the company in an area where you have knowledge?

If you’re in a small organization, there may not be a career path for you to follow, so you might have to create new responsibilities in your current role and propose the idea to your manager. In this case, having more details (what this would mean for the business, how could it improve the organization, what you would be responsible for, etc.) is critical. Many companies will look at lateral moves and whether you’re in a small organization or a larger one, having as much information as possible to present to management will only help you in the end. Give a detailed account and include information, such as what your skillsets are and what additionally responsibilities you’d be interested in. Don’t admit to being bored. Explain that you’re craving more learning opportunities and a greater ability to contribute. It sounds much better. Have you committed to learning about what makes the company successful? That’s a great area to start a conversation about what you’ve ready learned and where you would like to get more exposure.


No matter what your situation may be, an open dialogue with your boss is the best place for you to go. If that’s not possible, then you should schedule a conversation with your organization’s HR department. Most managers are not skilled at career conversations, but some HR people are. They can help you take a look at other opportunities within the organization that might satisfy your wanderlust and develop your skill set.

If you can examine your skillset and see how else it can be used at the organization, it may be good for you to look at internal transfers or roles that may be of great interest to you even though they may not be in your current department. One way you can do this is by asking to cover for someone who may be on leave. This will give you some insights on how another part of the organization works, and it might be enough to rekindle your excitement.

You don’t always have to leave a company for something new, and businesses are working hard to communicate internal positions. Most importantly, companies want to retain their talent and they want to redeploy, reskill, and retrain their employees. Additionally, your company may be able to provide career consulting. If so, you should take advantage of the offer. If your company does not provide these services, there are outside providers that could help leverage your abilities for your career development. Should this be the case for you, bringing up the idea of adding career consulting with your HR department can be a great part of the conversation. And don’t forget to check back in with your college or university. They often support alumni in this way.


So don’t be bored. Find more to learn and do.


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