featured image by Erik Lefvander
As humans living in the 21st century, we often seek out optimal comfort wherever we can find it. The seats in our cars are heated for our winter morning commutes. Our yoga pants are painstakingly designed to have the optimal fit (and we never want to take them off.) The soles of our shoes are lined with any number of foams and gels to make sure we are stepping in maximum comfort. Usually, comfort is a good thing. However, there is such a thing as too comfortable. Being too comfortable at work often leads to mistakes, oversights and stagnancy.
Sure, we don’t want unrelenting stress over looming deadlines, complicated projects or difficult clients. On the other hand, nobody wants to be too comfortable at work. Here are five signs that you may be stuck in your comfort zone at work, and should consider making some changes in order to be the best version of yourself!
Everything Seems Easy
Maybe you have been at your current job for five years. You have learned the ins and outs of the role. You know the quirks and strengths of every person on your team. You might even know how to tell your boss is in a bad mood by the color shirt she is wearing that day. In short, you can do your job with your eyes closed.
Sure, this sounds ideal in theory. However, someone this comfortable at work is leaning into stagnancy. When everything seems easily said and done, you can do one of two things. You can lean hard into the ease of work, or you can ask for more. The person who asks for more is the one who finds herself rewarded with interesting work, promotions and salary increases. On the other hand, the person who resides on Easy Street will remain stagnant or even face an eventual firing.
If your days are filled with work that does not challenge or even delight you, ask for more. Maybe reframe your role with more responsibilities or new challenges to increase productivity.
You Do the Bare Minimum
Everybody has a day where they do the bare minimum. Hey, it happens! Sometimes your body comes to work while your brain stays stuck to Bravo, in bed, with chocolate-covered popcorn.
If you find yourself doing the bare minimum more often than not, you might have a problem. Think about the last week at work. What have you accomplished? Besides the mandatory meetings, lunch breaks and busy work, have you contributed anything substantial, new or groundbreaking at work?
Do a mental audit of what you bring to the table. If you have spent a few weeks, months, or even years making no real advancements, it sounds like you have become too comfortable and maybe downright lazy.
Are you unimpressed with your work ethic lately? Ask yourself this question, Do I have any goals at work? If you do, awesome! Outline them and get to work! If you aren’t inspired enough to come up with any goals, it might be time to re-evaluate.
You Don’t Voice Your Opinions
This is a huge sign of comfort. Do you recall your first day at your current job? If so, you might remember having a ton of questions. After you became comfortable, you probably found holes in certain systems and opportunities with others. Chances are that you voiced your opinion to make these improvements.
Fast forward to a few years down the line. Maybe a project you had been heavily involved in is taking a detour or being scrapped. You have devoted hundreds of hours to this project. What do you do? If you say nothing, chances are your comfort zone has crumbled into the disaffected zone. Are you speaking up at work?
If you find yourself thinking, I should say something, but I just… then it sounds like you’re checked out. If you don’t care about giving input, implementing change, or standing behind your work, what are you even doing besides collecting a paycheck?
You’re Doing Your Taxes at Work
When you spend your workday being your own personal assistant, you have probably become too comfortable at work. Sure, sometimes our personal lives bleed a little bit into our workday. If you forgot to pay your cellphone bill last week, you might take 5 minutes to phone in a bill pay.
If you look over your workday and nothing you did was “real” work, you might have a problem. Sure, ordering birthday gifts, paying off student loans, researching an upcoming trip to Bali and doing your taxes are all productive tasks, but you’re not getting paid to project manage your personal life at work.
It is when your day is comprised of personal tasks that you have become too comfortable, unfulfilled and bored at work.
Days Crawl By
Maybe you’re not spending your day online shopping or trolling the internet. Instead, you might be whiling the day away, obsessively watching the clock. I know my best days at work are when I look over and the sun has gone down. How is it already 6pm?
When you are filling your workday with time fillers, like browsing Twitter or taking quizzes to find out what type of cupcake you are, it might be time to move on. When faced with a slower work day, you should be motivated and incentivized to seek out new opportunities and challenging tasks. If you’re not, it sounds again like you’re too comfortable.
Each one of these experiences can happen to an employee on any given day. If you are suffering through a slow Monday or a difficult 3 o’clock hour, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are too comfortable at your job and you need to move on.
However, if you experience these signs or behavior on a regular basis, it might be time to move on and challenge yourself with a new opportunity.