Can your job be done by a monkey? 4 ways to think about approaching your boss

I’m not talking about stacking blocks or putting round objects in round holes or pealing bananas and feeding them to their young or anything monkeys can do. I’m talking about  complex duties that have become so routine you’re starting to feel like a…monkey.

Has your job become so mundane that you no longer get challenged to do your best? Do you feel stagnated? Do you dread coming to work instead of looking forward to the workweek? Are you among the approximate 70%,  according to an article in  Forbes.com, who hate their job? If so, this is not good. When your job no longer offers you a challenge, it might be time to move on. Or it might be time to address this issue with your boss.

The latter of the two options would be preferable given that moving on to a new job brings with it complications, such as starting over in a new work environment, adjusting to new management or new subordinates, or actually relocating to a far destination; not to mention trying to find another job.

The positive thing about bringing this issue to your boss’ attention is that you’re in a better position to enact some change than if you had just started a job (if you just started the job, you’re in the wrong place.) But to enact change, you need to approach the situation carefully. It has to be about the organization, not you.

Making the organization stronger is one approach you can take with your boss. Example: You’re the marketing communications pro, the best at what you do. Your approach: The sales and marketing teams could benefit from your help with marketing analysis. Of course, you’d excel at your responsibilities and any additional work would be performed on your own time.

Other staff could benefit from learning new roles. Cross-training is a great concept that allows others to learn more about what their counterparts do. You may hear rumblings from others, like you, who are unsatisfied with the monotony and repetition of their jobs. Assuming some of your colleagues’ responsibilities and visa versa, providing it’s feasible, can add spice to the workplace. This can help the organization if “key” players are absent for an extended period of time or quit unexpectedly.

Your boss will be better for allowing you to take on varied duties and ultimately making you, and others, happier. One thing that separates a great boss from the ordinary is his willingness to empower his employees. One of my favorite bosses was one who gave me assignments, such as representing the organization from soup to nuts, providing little guidance but standing by when I had questions. She remains the most influential person in my career.

Happy workers make better workers. Although this approach may seem self-serving, remind your boss that an organizations best resource are its employees. Self-fulfilled workers are likely to perform and accomplish more than those who feel as though they’re a hamster on a wheel. Or someone doing a job a monkey could do.

There’s a great book I recommend to people which is about what truly motivates us to succeed. It’s called Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. In the book Daniel Pink talks about autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the motivating forces behind happiness at work; how intrinsic rewards are more satisfying than extrinsic ones, e.g., money and punishment. All three elements are necessary to achieve happiness at work; to make you feel like it takes more than a monkey to do your job.

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