I’m bored and burned out at work

A reader writes:

I’ve been at my job for two years, and I’m getting bored. The things I’m working on are repetitive, and I’m starting to get increasingly annoyed with day-to-day nuisances. I’m essentially having to restrain myself from biting my coworkers. About a year ago, my direct manager left, and was never replaced– instead, they removed his position and shuffled his responsibilities to me and a coworker. In addition, over the last year, the product I work on has grown a lot: we’ve had some success, which is good, but it comes with a lot more work and responsibility. I’m the only one working on that project, and things keep getting dumped on me, from big tasks to administrative details that someone else really should handle, but which end up on my plate as “I’m the only one who knows this project.”

My boss meanwhile seems to want us to keep growing, and wants more results, faster, with tighter deadlines and more elements. I’m starting to feel a bit burned out. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even really manage to take a sick day properly — there’s too much to do, and all the eggs are in my basket, and can’t be left unattended even for a minute. Most troubling, I’m bored with the work I’m doing: so more’s expected of me, but I’m feeling pressured and lethargic about producing the same stuff over and over again.

As I’ve felt the burnout approaching, I’ve tried to halt it: I’ve spoken to my boss about getting some help and she’s made sympathetic noises, but nothing has come of it, other than to actually add more work to my plate. I’ve tried to find ways to get excited about my tasks again, trying new things and new ideas, but they all tend to fizzle in this general funk of gloom. So, I think the time is coming for me to move on. . . only I can’t. I’m planning to go to grad school next year, to help get me to the next level of my career which will excite me again. In this economy, I can’t imagine finding another job that pays as well as my current position, and I wouldn’t want to take a job for the nine months between now and school, only to leave so quickly.

Any advice about not hating my job as much as getting through till May? I’d really like to get there without stabbing a coworker with a pen or crying in my shower on a daily basis.

You can find my answer to this question — and answers from three other career experts as well — over at Intuit QuickBase’s blog.

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