Am I selfish for wanting to leave because I'm bored?
February 20, 2008 5:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm a really weird person who just absorbs knowledge like a sponge. If I'm not learning in a job I quickly become bored, frustrated, irritable and miserable in general. I'm thinking of leaving my current position with a great team because of the above. Am I selfish because I want to do this?
posted by Talez to Work & Money (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I got a job where I ended up starting and kicking off projects where I had to learn a lot where I then passed them on to others so I could start another. Maybe you can find a position like that.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:42 PM on February 20, 2008

Of course not. You don't have to keep working somewhere you don't want to. You may miss that great team at your next job though.
posted by grouse at 5:42 PM on February 20, 2008

No, you are not selfish. If I had to work with someone who quickly became bored, frustrated, irritable and miserable, I would want them to leave. Go somewhere that challenges you.
posted by hooray at 5:45 PM on February 20, 2008

Maybe what you need is a research job where you are more continuously challenged?
posted by Sara Anne at 5:47 PM on February 20, 2008

Find a job that challenges you, be more satisfied, and likely make more money. This is your life. Don't waste it on a boring job. If the job isn't just a little bit harder than you think you can handle without a sweat then you will go crazy.
posted by caddis at 5:48 PM on February 20, 2008

Selfish with respect to your co-workers and superiors? No, certainly not. But do you have a family that depends on you for financial support? If so, then it would be selfish to quit if you don't yet have a new job lined up.
posted by amro at 5:49 PM on February 20, 2008

If you like the people you work with, try to find that excitement outside of work. Do evening classes, learn something new that way.
posted by robotot at 5:52 PM on February 20, 2008

I am the same way. Not as a copout, but I fully believe that I lived my life with undiagnosed ADD, and recently had a doctor try to prescribe me some junk for it. I grew up in a house where my dad never had the same job for more than 5 years, and by 24 years old I had already beaten him in that category.

Analyze why you want to leave. I'm definitely one of those "off on a tangent" people. WOW SHINY and off I go. If you're wanting to leave because you want fulfillment and to actually DO something instead of making someone else rich, then leave. If you want to leave because "it's about that time" and you know you'll get there again---stay, and find a really good engrossing hobby or way to give back.

Just my 2 cents.
posted by TomMelee at 5:53 PM on February 20, 2008

to answer your question--no you're not selfish.

i'm like this way myself. early in my career, this was a real asset--and i had a lot of really interesting jobs, but would suck them dry, usually in 2-3 years. i did manage to hold 2 really good jobs for five years--one in urban planning, and the other as a technical purchasing agent.

now that i'm a bit older, i find it's much harder to convince employers of my ability. i now do mostly temp work, and can crank away at 6 month assignments.

and so my advice to you, if you're still young, is to find something kind of mundane, and learn that--simply as something to do to make money. your real career is to be you, and whatever work you do is going to ultimately be irrelevant.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:57 PM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

you might be bored now, but is it possible for you to move up in your organization where you will be able to do more of the things you want to do? or is it possible to ask for new responsibilities during your next performance review?

you're not selfish for wanting these things, i just hope you're being realistic about what jobs you are qualified for that can provide them. you may be--i don't know your background. one thing i would caution you is not to leave your job until you have another one to go to. being unemployed is fun for about two weeks. then it sucks. you might as well keep paying the rent until you find your dream job. (besides, it makes you much more desirable to employers if you are already employed when you interview.)

good luck!
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:16 PM on February 20, 2008

Maybe it's just your personality. Does this describe you?
posted by forthright at 6:19 PM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

You are not selfish. I dealt with a similar kind of brain by becoming a freelance journalist and writer. I am highly fortunate in that I now make money by asking brilliant people the smartest questions I can devise and then writing about it. I choose what I write about so generally, I am not bored and I learn all the time.

I would have a lot more money if I could rewrite the same thing over and over for different publications in different permutations like some journalists do (and thankfully, I do also have a compulsive side so I have obsessions that I specialize in)-- but I do well enough to enjoy and support myself.

In fact, if I'm not learning new things, I'm not doing my job. Some areas of medicine, research and police work are like this as well. Some do say that this novelty-dependence is a sign of ADD-- but I'm not convinced that in some cases it's not just an adaptive desire for novelty that is stronger in some than others.

Choose what works for you, basically-- it's not selfish to be how you are so long as you aren't hurting others by being that way and if you pick the right kind of job, this "weakness" becomes a serious strength.
posted by Maias at 6:52 PM on February 20, 2008

Response by poster: @TomMelee

I'm very much an OOOOH! SHINY! person. I sit on Wikipedia at work browsing random topics and going off on tangents simply because there's not a lot left to keep me interested.


I pretty much throw myself into a subject and suck knowledge until I become a guru at it and then look at to what else I can learn and how I can apply it.

I'm not going to leave my current position and I don't have a family. I have a car loan but I have a small amount at a good rate and I'm only paying about US$300 a month on it so I could work for minimum wage if I wanted to.


Actually I'm very much an INTP.
posted by Talez at 6:54 PM on February 20, 2008

"@" is denigrated here in metaland
posted by caddis at 7:01 PM on February 20, 2008

Response by poster: I should mention that I am going to leave my current position but I'm not going to do so before I have another one lined up.

I know it's much easier to find a job if you're already employed.
posted by Talez at 7:07 PM on February 20, 2008

posted by Jacqueline at 7:08 PM on February 20, 2008

I've had a similar experience. The first few months of any job are always exciting while I learn new information and gains skills. After that it comes in bursts. I'll spend a lot of time killing time waiting for new challenges but when they do come, I dive in head first. Eventually, I get bored of waiting, start to feel antsy, and move on.

The problem is, I can't find a job that consistently challenges me but doesn't take over my life. I value my time away from work and I don't want my job to become my life. I may eventually have to strike out on my own and do private consulting/contracting gigs so I can stick to interesting new challenges.
posted by bigtex at 7:29 PM on February 20, 2008

Leave before you become a miserable wretch no one would want to work with anywhere.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:31 PM on February 20, 2008

Denigration is deprecated in AskMe.

No, just being easily bored doesn't in and of itself make you selfish.

Selfish would be jumping ship without giving your present employer a reasonable amount of notice. Selfish would be spending more than a reasonable amount of time surfing the web at work when there's other stuff to get done.

Selfish would be an employer who keeps you doing work that bores you to tears simply because they can't be arsed finding somebody else it suits better.
posted by flabdablet at 7:49 PM on February 20, 2008

No, you're not. I'm in the same position (not challenged, no institutional change), and my solution is to use work time to learn new skills, even ones that aren't applicable. I took stock of my coworkers and situation, and realized that even though I'm not wonderfully fulfilled, the situation is far better than most people have it. So I slack off and read online tutorials or work on projects. I'm not ambitious, and I'd rather have security than oft-stressful changes.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:52 PM on February 20, 2008

Bored is no way to go through life, son. OK, I misused the quote, but still -- get out after giving your employer 2 weeks. It's your life. Of course you're being selfish. Introduce me to someone who isn't and I'll give you a shiny nickel.
posted by Kloryne at 8:02 PM on February 20, 2008

Best answer: If you're as "bored, frustrated, irritable and miserable" as you say you become without sufficient stimulation, your team may be happy to see you go to explore greener pastures.

I stuck around at a job for too long because I liked the people and the environment, and I regret it. It's your life. Live it.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:27 PM on February 20, 2008

It would not be selfish. On the contrary you would be doing yourself a disservice because you would not be feeding your hunger for knowledge and new experiences.
posted by mrbloo at 10:44 PM on February 20, 2008

There's nothing selfish about wanting a lot of mental stimulation, but you would be well served by learning to be content without it. You won't always be able to get it, and if you have the choice of being miserable or content in such situations, I'd go for content.
posted by kindall at 11:21 PM on February 20, 2008

If you really like this team, and you're seriously considering leaving, you really don't have anything to lose by discussing this openly with your supervisor or even his/her boss.

Don't do it until you've at least had an interview elsewhere though.

My current boss and I talk frequently about keeping ourselves/each other interested in our work, finding new challenges, etc. Couldn't do the job otherwise.
posted by yesster at 6:42 AM on February 21, 2008

« Older Am I statistically more likey to die quietly in my...   |   Dead as dial-up? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.