On Slow Days and Boredom

Anyone who has worked a temporary job can tell you how the work oscillates between two phases: busy and boredom. When you first started at your temporary job, you were busy with training and acclimating to the company.  This ‘busy’ phase lasted for about three months to six months as you finally get a good grasp on the position. During this time, you were engaged with the work and everything is new.

…then came “the slump.”

This period (or periods, if it was a longer temporary job assignment) happened anytime after you were fully trained in your job function.  Your days became reduced to simply collecting your paycheck. You had little to no daily tasks to complete. You showed up to meetings just to break the monotony.  (Of course, you told your coworkers that it was because you found -insert relevant subject to job here- interesting and wanted to learn more about it.)

Sometimes, you got bold and started submitting job applications on the company clock.  Sure, your cubicle was near your boss’s boss’ office and your computer monitor was very visible by passersby.  However, at this point in boredom-induced insanity, you became apathetic to what others perceive.

Career experts say you should work on improving your skill set and build up your “professional brand” during these slow periods.  It does not hurt to put more experience on the resume. As a lab assistant, professional development includes reading industry-related papers and possibly attending conferences.  I admit, though, my natural inclination is to write fantastical stories when idle, not read about recent changes in the industry or spending money at expensive conferences.

Nonetheless, I have been looking into biotechnology articles that interest me in 15-minute intervals throughout my workday and asking my coworkers questions about them.  At least it minimizes the reprimands I get from my boss for “personal writing” on the clock.

The countdown continues between the end of my temporary job and being jobless again.  Job applications continue to yield no result but I have been here before. It is no reason to quit too early.

What do you do to combat the slow days?

What do you think?

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