Should I start a new career?
May 23, 2007 9:48 PM   Subscribe

I have a dream job at my dream company. And I'm bored to death. What to do?

Oh man that's gonna be a LONG one :)

A little background: I was a bright student at school, got in the university early, but dropped out to work as a computer programmer in a dotcom startup. I have a history of having too many different interests and almost never finishing things I start: personal, projects, degrees, books, you name it.

Despite not having a degree, I was able to have a nice career, going from an intern to a seasoned professional in 5 years. During this period, I worked mainly for startups, so there was always that great pressure to get the products out the door as soon as possible.

In early 2005 I joined a small company in the mobile software development field, with the hopes of jumping to the big multinational company (BigCompany), which controlled it, in some 2 or 3 years. However, after six months I developed a world-class product that's being used in millions of phones, and was also answering to developers questions on behalf of BigCompany since there is no support in my country. So after only 9 months I got hired by the BigCompany, which had always been one of my dream companies to work for, with a pretty good salary and a nice job description.

Now that I am "stable", I was able to finish college and... I'm so fucking bored. Bored to death. I work from home 2 or 3 days a week. I don't wanna go to the office. In this new position, I don't develop any product: I study every technology our company has and write about it, present it in events, answer developers questions. No pressure. No products shipping. Stable job. Oh God please kill me.

To keep a long story (somewhat) short: I am too bored to learn any new technologies, and I seem to be way more interested in reading about finance, business, stocks, etc. I used to learn a new programming language in days; nowadays I take weeks, when I get bored I just quit.

I'm 29 years old and could say my job is one of the coolest in the country in the mobile technology field. I love the company I work for. I love all the travelling, meeting different people, different places. I hate my job, though with all my technical background I should love it. I probably can't quit it, because I will only get another job in a tech company, and no company is good as the current one. I will definitely feel bored and helpless too.

I have worked so hard for 5 years wishing I would get a job like that, and now I'm stuck.

I feel I need to reboot my life. What should I do? Even crazy suggestions will help me!!!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe try to find something outside work that lights your fires. Your job situation sounds too good to give up, so find something else to get excited about. Hobbies, sports, volunteering, tutoring, that sort of thing. Maybe get a dog. It sounds to me like you're the sort of person who always likes to have something new going on in their life, so look for ways to get new experiences outside of your job.

Good luck!
posted by Quietgal at 10:09 PM on May 23, 2007

Since your interested in finance, etc, what about getting an MBA? Your company would probably be interested in supporting you in that, and then you could move further up the management chain. Corps love business people with strong tech backgrounds.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 PM on May 23, 2007

The food was plentiful and for whatever reasons (skill, luck, opportunity, smart decisions, etc.) you didn't have to work very hard to get it. You don't know what it's like to be hungry, and you figure you know exactly what you'd do if you were. You basically got a hall pass to the top of the food chain.

Either climb up a different chain, one that involves some failure (and some reward/goal). Or find a way to reinvent the chain you're on. Or be fat and happy.

Then again, maybe work is easy and stable for you because that's not the type of personal growth you need to be working on right now. It could be that it's easy because it's supposed to be—to be there for you when you're struggling with other stuff. It's not fate or anything, you just naturally set it up that way. Now go conquer that other mountain, you got this one to fall back on.

See, if you attempted to seek reward in other areas of your life, you'd stop expecting to find in career success. But you might actually find your career to be that pillar of strength to rely on when you're struggling in other places.

You ever master a video game that you really, really liked? Yeah, it's boring to play that game repeatedly once all the levels have been unlocked. But if you keep the game around, you might find it to be a fun little reprieve when outdoor activities, or talks with s/o's, or family dynamics, or ______, are kicking your ass.

Good luck and keep busy!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:19 PM on May 23, 2007

Look at it this way: you have a boring, stable, drama-free job that pays the bills -- and no view of any more interesting job on the horizon. Hooray!

Yeah, hooray. Here's why: you are in no danger of going broke, no physical danger at your job, and (by working there) you have the respect of your peers. There are lots of people who would kill to be in that position -- and no, I'm not saying "so suck it up and be grateful." What I am saying is that you have a solid base from which to try new, dangerous things, secure in the knowledge that *at worst* you'll fall back to your boring, stable, drama-free job that pays the bills.

Every time you plateau in life, you can't make the mistake of thinking it's the top of the mountain. Instead, realize it's a safety net that keeps you from falling too far as you reach for goals that are higher than you've ever reached before.

Wow, reading that over it sounds a bit self-helpy, and I'm not that kind of guy generally -- but in your case it's so true. You got THIS far, and you can't visualize a better career path, so stop looking for more satifaction in that arena and ramp up another area of your life. Relationships, travel, learning, hobbies -- get going!
posted by davejay at 11:06 PM on May 23, 2007 [4 favorites]

Oh, and what iamkimiam said; when things are good and easy, your job might be boring, but when life turns stressful, that job can become a sanctuary.
posted by davejay at 11:18 PM on May 23, 2007

BTDT . . . got the t-shirts.

make a list of shit you want to before you're 40 and go for it.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:21 PM on May 23, 2007

From what you said, yes. Quit now, unless money is your mamon. This is life. Your whole life you will balance money, family, personal time, etc. Money is important, but highly over rated. Push it down the list, really, you willl be happier in the end.
posted by caddis at 11:30 PM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

I was in a similar situation recently, also with a tech company. I had a great job in a company that I admired and respected. But I was bored out of my mind, day-in, day-out. I would sit at the computer at the start of the day and think, "I just can't do this. I'm just not interested." I could do the job in my sleep and although there were challenges, they weren't actually challenges that I could appreciate.

I left the job. It was starting to become a matter of personal mental health. I felt cut-up because, like I said, the people were great and I couldn't admire the company more. I would have been able to "go places" in the job, and might even have been set up for life. Somewhere in a parallel universe there's a different version of me who stayed with the company and is having the time of his life. But the version of me in this reality had to move on.

I quit on good terms, telling everybody that I loved the company and that they were very lucky to be there. Several high-up people, including the executives, told me that I could return whenever I wanted to. Who knows, I might do that one day.
posted by humblepigeon at 2:42 AM on May 24, 2007

can you talk to your manager about it? this is not something to avoid. tell them how much you love the company and how much you feel like you need new challenges. you should go into the meeting with some of those possible challenges (a new project to start or transferring to a different department--check with HR).

alternatively, do you have time to start a second business? freelance? go back to school? even learning a new (human) language might get the juices flowing again.

also, exercise will help improve your mood--it won't fix the situation, but at least you'll be a little better able to cope with it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 9:53 AM on May 24, 2007

Get them to pay for you to go to university and you can study whatever else you feel like while still being their "consultant"
posted by onepapertiger at 12:46 AM on May 25, 2007

I think I may work for the that company. In my case I have brought a similar issue to my manager and the results were favorable. I go through bored phases occasionally but I tell myself that I do this job so I can fund my personal life (vacations, outings, good food, etc) and I probably will never leave because of the health benefits.
posted by superkim at 8:40 AM on May 25, 2007

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