In 2003, Mya Zoracki had a charmed life that many could only hope for. She was in her fifth year working on the trading floor at the American Stock Exchange and spent her evenings earning her juris doctorate (JD) at Brooklyn Law School while her company footed the bill.
Her future looked powerful and lucrative, but a year later she quit, and also opted not to use her newly earned law degree, either.
Instead, she opened Feed Your Soul, an online bakery selling cookies (and more) made in her studio apartment in Hoboken, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.
“My life was very busy and it lacked a certain meaning,” says Zoracki, now 42. “I wouldn’t say it was boring, but sometimes the monotony of a high stress level took away from the meaningfulness of my career. And even though I had the opportunity [to pursue a career in law], I didn’t even touch it.”
As it turns out, Zoracki left behind two of the most boring career fields out there. According to a recent study by employment specialist Emolument, legal jobs top the list of the world’s most boring careers, followed by project management, customer support, financial management, consulting and accounting, financial services and banking, engineering, sales, marketing and communications, and information technology.
“If you get more accomplished on your home to-do list while at work than when you’re at home,” that’s a sign that you’re bored with your job, says Tiffany Gibson, blogger and creator of the app Get the Job. Other signs, says Gibson, include “watching a full series on Netflix and spending more time away from your desk socializing than at your desk working.”
Boredom can also be defined by a void of creativity and excitement.
The best thing [you] can do is find what makes you happy, and find out how you can make a life doing something that allows you to support yourself.
“I didn’t hate [my job], but I didn’t love it,” says Shaun Eli Breidbart, 55, of his former life as a banker. “They weren’t the most fun people I could imagine working with, and I didn’t feel appreciated. I went to work, made a lot of money for the people I was working for, but no one ever said ‘thank you.’”
After six years moonlighting as a stand-up comic, the Westchester County man quit his banking job to pursue his passion full time. “I get thanked three times a minute every time I go to work now,” says Breidbart.
If you’re one of the many nine-to-fivers dreaming of ditching the desk job, it’s best to know when and if you should take the plunge.
“Being bored at work is a sign that you’re not being challenged in your role,” says career-advice blogger Gibson. “Ask for more responsibilities [and] create a career plan so you and your manager can look for assignments that will provide more of a challenge.”
Breidbart also recommends keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
“Things get better. You won’t be in the same job forever, you won’t be working with the same people forever. You’re in a temporary situation,” he says.
Finances should also be a strong factor in your decision.
“You have to be able to afford to live,” adds Zoracki. “The best thing [you] can do is find what makes you happy, and find out how you can make a life doing something that allows you to support yourself.”
But if you’re genuinely unhappy with your career, she recommends taking the leap.
“We only get to live this life once, and you owe it to yourself to spend your days doing something that you’re passionate about.”