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Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Unchallenging Job

Dear Sue: Three months ago I changed jobs and companies. The change resulted in both significant salary and benefit increases; however, I now find myself bored beyond belief. The only projects I am assigned are so easy that I can complete them within minutes. I am not using the knowledge I gained in my last position, as I assumed I would. Iíve told my manager that I need more to do, but so far, havenít been given more challenging work.

The opportunities for learning are non-existent. They only offer what I already know in my area and the things they offer that interest me do not pertain to my specific position.

I feel as if I have taken a step backwards. The challenges I anticipated have not materialized and my duties do not indicate that this will change any time soon.

I am finding little in the job that interests me and the only motivation I have right now is the salary and upcoming vacation time. I don't know what to do. How would it look to leave this job after just a few months?

- Disillusioned

Sue Says: I think you need to stop worrying about what it looks like and do what you need to do to feel productive and useful again. You made a job move that didnít turn out to be what you thought it was. You are better off doing something about it now than waiting three or six or twelve more months until you do.

The first thing you should do is talk with your manager again and make sure you are very clear about what is going on and why you are so disillusioned. Ask specific questions and make sure you get the answers you need to help you decide whether or not there is any reason for you to stay. You need to find out if there is a reason for you to stay. Your manager will never know how unhappy you are unless you tell him. Perhaps there is something that can be done and you both will benefit. If not, you can look elsewhere.

It didnít take you long to realize you made a mistake, and you are better off leaving quickly. You are being proactive and leaving for good reasons, which will reflect positively on you. As long as you havenít made a habit of changing jobs every few months, it shouldnít be a problem for you. Wanting to feel challenged and productive is admirable and something that will be attractive to other employers. Youíve learned a lot and hopefully will base future decisions on different criteria. Money and benefits are important, but as you have seen, are not the only factors that lead to job satisfaction.

Try to determine what you missed during the interview process for the job you have now; what didnít you see and what do you need to do differently as a result? When you are about to make a decision about whether or not to accept another job, donít rush and be sure you take your time. Find out all you can about the position and the specifics of the job you will be doing. Do whatever you need to make sure you donít make a similar mistake the next time you are about make a move.

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

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