So, you’ve been at your job for a while, and the assistant thing has become second nature. However, you’re realizing that the types of projects your company produces aren’t interesting to you, you aren’t enjoying the actual work required to move forward in that side of the industry, or you simply don’t have enough to do. You’re bored to death and dread coming into the office every morning — what can you do to keep yourself from going crazy? This is a common problem in Hollywood, especially when highly-educated and motivated young professionals are forced to start out in administrative positions that aren’t challenging enough. But there are a few things that can help pull you out of the boredom rut, so if you’re in this position, try one (or more) of these strategies:
1. Read EVERYTHING. Even if you’re in a job that doesn't provide room for growth (or at least not anytime soon), and your opinion isn’t getting heard, you can still find ways to learn something about your company or industry that might come in handy in the long run. Print out some scripts and read them during your free time, look through any documents that you have access to that might help you learn more about business processes, and start developing opinions on everything you come across. Maybe you’ll find something that can get you more engaged with your current position, but at the very least, you’ll be boosting your knowledge for your next job and will have more to talk about during interviews.
2. Learn something new. Along the same lines, you can refocus your energy on other types of learning if you’ve become bored and aren’t interested in your current company. Sometimes it helps to turn your mind away from the entertainment industry entirely and find additional mental stimulation in another area. If you have the time and money, you could consider pursuing a graduate degree in the evenings, or sign up for a free online class on Coursera. If you're studying something that could help you in your current job, consider your coursework professional development, and feel free to let your boss know about the new skills you're acquiring. If you choose to learn something that's not related to your job, make sure you have time outside of work for your assignments — you don't want to anger your supervisor by becoming distracted.
3. Give back to your community. Remember all those extracurricular activities you did back in college? There's no reason you can't have any now. Taking a leadership role in a volunteer organization will help make up for all the hours of sitting quietly at your desk at work. You can become more active in an industry-specific professional organization like JHRTS, or you could devote time to a cause totally outside the industry (political, charitable, religious, alumni club, etc.), which will allow you to separate your personal and professional interests and give you a break from the inevitable tendency to "talk shop" at Hollywood functions. Plus, you never know who you'll meet that could help you along the way — in LA, everyone's connected to the industry somehow.
4. Apply for new jobs. If you’re bored at work, you’re probably coming home every day and sending out a few job applications, but there are ways to use your workday to find a new job. If your boss is frequently looking over your shoulder, you may not want to be on other companies’ job portals or working on your resume, but you can at least research new companies or different types of positions and start making a list of careers to look into once you’re out of the office. Another thing you can do is network! It’s fair game to set up coffees and drinks while at work — try to build up your contact base and meet people at the companies you’ve identified during your research.
Being bored at work sucks, but if you can find ways to occupy your time at the office, hopefully you’ll be able to hold out until you can find another position. And if you’ve got money saved up or a backup plan, it’s also okay to consider leaving. A job where you’re not learning anything new is not one worth having.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan