Mixed Salad of Thoughts

Monday, September 08, 2008

Work Smarter, Not Harder...or Work Harder, Not Dumber...

I've come to the realization recently that no matter what kind of promotion or additional work I'm offered at my current job I will not feel challenged. Certainly they can give me all sorts of things to do that will be stressful, and could keep me so busy I wouldn't have time to breathe, and I might think "Well finally, I'm being productive because I have a lot to do and I'm getting it done" and I might react well to the pressure of having so much to do and really step-up my game....But that doesn't mean I'll really be challenged.

Think of it like this: if you asked me to add up a bunch of single digit numbers--5+2, 7+3, 8+6, etc., I'd be busy. If you gave me hundreds of those equations to solve I'd be really busy. If you added double digit numbers and multiplication I'd be busy and the work would be harder--But regardless of how many of those equations you gave me and how much adding and multiplying and division and subtraction you asked me to do I wouldn't be challenged.I know how to do this work and I can do much more complicated math with little "real" thinking. My brain wouldn't be struggling...just working--and struggle and challenge is what makes us grow. Striving to overcome something increases your abilities. We are creatures of limitless potential and if we are not constantly working at increasing our abilities I, for one, think it is a waste. Not only is it a waste, but it creates, in me at least, a sort of stagnant lethargy that taps away my momentum and growth in all areas of life.

There are ways, of course, of learning from every task we do. I could spend the time adding those numbers practicing patience, accuracy, and increasing my computational speed. I could use my frustration over the mundane tasks as a way to work on my humility and on being thankful for the opportunity to serve. It is true we can all learn lessons through even the most routine of tasks, but could we not learn similar skills while working on something challenging?

How normal is it to not be challenged? Aren't most people in jobs they will eventually master...and then what?

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Blogger Angela said...

My last job wasn't challenging. It was just... annoying. We all felt like we were too smart for the job. But when dumb people came in, they couldn't handle it. I think for some jobs, in order to be qualified, you have to be OVER-qualified... if that makes sense.

6:45 PM  

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