Okay, so your career hasn’t turned out as you’d hoped thus far, but that’s okay because now you have a plan. And that plan is…what? Just sitting around work listening to the same old people complain about the same old stuff until you want to stick an ice pick in your ear? Oh, yeah. That’s rewarding.

According to the Huffington Post as of January 2010 only 45% of those currently employed are satisfied with their jobs. That’s the lowest it’s been in the 22 years such records have been kept. And even though the poor economy has a lot to do with people’s disenchantment, the NUMBER ONE reason over half the working population has fallen out of love with their jobs is because people just don’t find their work interesting anymore.

Really? And whose fault is that? Is it really your employer’s responsibility to keep you entertained? Of course you could always quit your job, and if you truly hate what you’re doing, then maybe that’s the way to go. However, unless you have another job waiting in the wings, quitting may not be your wisest option (especially if you decide to go back to school part time to pursue a new, more lucrative career).

Instead consider taking some risks at work that might actually pay off. Below are five that may take you out of your comfort zone, but if you’re thinking of quitting anyway, what have you got to lose? At the very least you might end up adding enough “zing” to your career that you fall in love with it all over again.

Fix a Problem

Any place of employment has its share of problems. The persistent ones fall through the cracks because nobody wants to deal with them. So if you find your day-to-day duties boring, try identifying a hardcore problem at work, and then attempt to fix it. Don’t wait for the green light or a cast of thousands to hop onboard with you. Be like a Nike sneaker and just do it. Even if you fail, it shows you took the initiative and as a result, you might be rewarded with more interesting work. And if you actually do come up with a solution, well then you’re a hero. And that feels pretty good.

Make a Decision

Unlike solving a problem, making a decision can be even riskier. If a decision falls flat, for example, critics are quick to bellow, “What were you thinking? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, if your disinterest in work stems from collective decision paralysis because everyone else appears to be a bunch of spineless weenies, don’t be afraid to break from the pack. Make a decision that no one wants to make and stand by it. Even if it turns out to be wrong, at least you can say, “Now wait a minute, whom among us was bold enough to move forward? Ah yes, that would be me.”

Create a New Job

If you find your work so deadly dull you think watching your fingernails grow is more exciting in comparison, then decide what you’d like to do at work and create a job proposal for it. Outline the need for the position and why you’re the only person on the planet who perfectly fits this new job description. Present it to your boss with a positive attitude that doesn’t downgrade your current position or the people you work with. The key to selling this is to show how your suggestion directly benefits the company FIRST, and how it helps you SECOND. If your boss turns you down you’re no worse off than you were before. Best case, he says YES or yes, with conditions, in which case the bargaining begins!

State the Obvious

Every company has that elephant in the room, where everyone knows something’s not right, but no one wants to say so. Okay, so now you’re going to be the one who says so. You may not be able to fix the problem, but by golly, you’ll bring it to light. This can be tricky because often times things go to hell in a hand basket at work because someone else drops the ball, but no one wants to be the person to point that out. Elevating an issue to a public level can go one of two ways; everyone sighs with relief that you were brave enough to speak up, OR they all turn on you for being a hard nose. It’s up to you to decide if you want to be the lone soul who states the painfully obvious.

Be Honest

If someone asks you what you think, tell the truth. You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but rather say what you think in a constructive manner. If they don’t agree, then respond with, “Hey, you asked. I’m just being honest.” Even though your frankness may outwardly appear to ruffle a few feathers, eventually people will come to you when they want a truthful assessment, and before you know it you become a trusted advisor whose opinion people seek out.

Obviously, there are additional reasons why people are dissatisfied at work, such salaries not keeping up with inflation and the cost of healthcare, neither of which can be controlled on an individual basis. And even though taking risks won’t solve all your discontent at work, it sure can make for some interesting times. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we hope any job can offer?

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