How Career Boredom Can Create Opportunity

By Janine Wyborn

2020 has certainly thrown many employees and businesses curve balls like they have never experienced before. With COVID-19 disrupting our way of life as we knew it. People have lost their jobs, businesses have closed down. There’s a strong feeling of despair and hurt, with many scared, not knowing what their future holds.

For those who have worked consistently throughout their careers without a break, a sudden change in career routine could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, resulting in a variety of issues. Interestingly, of the people surveyed in the COVID-19 Monitor research project last April 2020, 26% were most affected by boredom.

This data makes me reflect on my experience as a parent with (at times) ‘bored’ children. I let my children experience boredom, because from boredom imagination is born. In fact, my husband and I almost encourage boredom with our 3 boys! And I must say, after the initial phase of tantrums and nagging to be entertained either by us or their iPads, we remain steadfast by sitting back in silence and watching their imaginations ignite. The creativity that we witness is incredible and fills my heart with joy! 

Humans don’t particularly like boredom, but the boredom we experience at times is just because our brains aren’t getting the right type of stimulation to make us feel good. The beauty of boredom is that if our brains can’t find the stimulation it needs, it will create it. Boredom can enable creativity and problem-solving.

What I find really exciting at this point in time is that there are so many people, women in particular, who have started their own businesses; recognising an opportunity to shine their creativity on a landscape that’s very dull at the moment. Some ideas have been percolating for years, whilst others have literally come to light purely because of the pandemic. Regardless, these brave people have seized the moment.

I’ve known boredom in my life – where I didn’t feel excitement or passion, or growth for that matter. It was a time where we were living overseas in a country where it made zero sense for me to work, so my job was to be the stay at home mum.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I was (and am still) super grateful to have had that time with my kids but I had reached a point where I was completely bored. Conversations with 2-7 year olds, day in and day out just wasn’t cutting the mustard. I needed something more, something for me.

Guess what happened? My brain decided to finally kick into gear (after what felt like an eternity). I realised that to find my motivation, I needed to take action. That was an AHA moment for me. So, I started mapping things out:

  • What does my life look like when we are back on home soil?
  • How can I re-enter the Australian market with a 3-year gap in my CV?
  • What excites me, and why?
  • What are my options?

I won’t go into detail about my ideas but let me just say, the brain is a wonderful organ that can really flex some creative muscle! And funnily enough, that’s kind of where I started, understanding the brain more. I enrolled in an online university unit about Leading with Emotional Intelligence, which lit the fire in my belly and motivated me to keep going.

Back on home soil, I decided to take the leap and start my own business, giving me the flexibility to still be around for my 3 boys. I quickly discovered how far I can stretch myself and my capabilities.

On reflection, the personal and professional growth was fast, and incredibly rewarding. All those cobwebs in the brain had been completely blown out!

Fast forward to 2020……..

My business is still bubbling away, however it’s not my main focus. The reasons for that are another conversation! But here’s what I would say, if you’ve found your creative flair in these past few months and are thinking of starting a business, here are my tips based on my own experience:

  • Forget about the how. Think deeply about what you want to do and why and just forget about the how. The how comes with experience of walking the path, with building connections and learning how to navigate your new experience.
  • What’s driving you? If your only driver for the business is profit, it won’t be enough. There has to be skin in the game, a reason why you want to start the business, it has to be heart-felt.
  • Be comfortable with the unknown. The path ahead is not always clear, especially during these unstable times. Lean in to those moments and be open to the learning experience.
  • Trust yourself. Your intuition is your best friend.
  • No is good. Say no when you need to and don’t be afraid to. Never compromise on your integrity or your health.
  • FAIL. When we fail, it’s okay. It is only a First Attempt In Learning – so fail lots!

Some would say that starting a business in an unstable economy (thanks to COVID) is business suicide, but is it? Granted, it can be a stressful exercise in any economic climate and there may be no guaranteed outcomes but what an exhilarating experience and growth opportunity. Look at all the businesses that were birthed during the GFC in 2008 (think WhatsApp, Groupon, Uber – just to name a few).

We may be living through uncertain (albeit historic) times. However, nothing screams amazing like your own creation. And believe me, if you do decide to kick your own business into gear, you won’t have time for boredom to creep in!

Would you like to write for Recruitment Central? Contact us to discuss.

Janine Wyborn

Recruitment Central has had the pleasure of working with Janine since 2006. We facilitated a role for her within the aged care industry, and our business relationship and friendship has continued since then. With her years of experience as an accountability partner and coach to executive leaders, Janine is now focusing on supporting SMEs to stay on track by connecting their business strategy with scalable systems.

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