What to Do If You Don’t Feel Useful

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You don’t just work for money. Most of your waking hours get poured into your career and you want something more than a paycheck out of that time invested. You want to feel engaged. You want to feel challenged.

Unfortunately, not every job ends up like that. Sometimes, you get to a point where you feel like a cog in a machine – completely replaceable, unremarkable and irrelevant.

Don’t surrender to despair. There are actions you can take to improve the situation. Here are five steps to becoming more useful at work:

Don’t Take It Personally

You feel out of the loop. Every day feels like an endless treadmill of busy work. We know this can become frustrating, but don’t get bitter and assume it involves some kind of conspiracy against you personally.

Getting emotional about it or turning on the people around you will only make the situation worse. Stay objective and review what you can do to enact change (rather than what other people could be doing for you).

Assess the Situation

Look around you. Are other people doing the same job as you? Are they frustrated too? Are there people who have moved out of your role to something more fulfilling? What other options are available in the company?

The key here is to have realistic expectations. If everyone around you is doing the same dead-end work, you might not have many options other than finding another job somewhere else. But if there are people who have moved on to more exciting projects, figure out what you need to do to follow suit.

Talk to People (Especially Your Boss)

Constructively let people know that you’d prefer a more meaningful assignment. Note the word “constructively” in there. Don’t just become a complainer.

But put feelers out for a better opportunity. Discussing the situation with your boss and your co-workers will let you know what paths are open to you.

Move Out of Your Comfort Zone

We create most of the ruts we get stuck in. If you feel like you’ve reached a dead-end in your career, where your skills are under used and you’re bored with your position, you might need to think about what you did to orchestrate the situation.

If there are opportunities you’ve rejected in the past, revisit your motivations. Maybe you’ve been holding yourself back.

Make Your Own Shot

You can’t always wait for someone else to notice you. Sometimes, you have to create your own opportunity. Now, that doesn’t mean you should try outlandish stunts to get yourself noticed. It means you look around the company to see if there is something you can bring to the table.

Suggest a project to improve productivity and nominate yourself to lead it. On your own time, design a new product or a new marketing campaign and bring the proposal to the proper authorities within the company. Seek out potential new clients and bring them to the sales department. Make yourself indispensable and someone is bound to notice.

Of course, all this can fail. Some companies aren’t built to find hidden talent. If you can’t seem to break through in your current position, it might be time to find something else.

If that’s happened to you, DHR is here to help. Contact them today to find out how you can switch to a new situation where your unique talents are appreciated.

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