Boredom in the office: anything but a luxury problem

Would you have thought that every week Monday in German offices is the greatest boredom? At least on this weekday, a particularly large number of googles for “nothing to do at work” or “boredom in the office” and land on my post, which I published here almost a year ago. Under no other article do so many readers comment on their experiences in such detail. The amazing thing is that many young professionals among them complain of boredom in their first jobs. The topic is relevant. Therefore, I am taking it up again today and hypothesizing that Boreout is even a phenomenon of the modern world of work. I venture a few attempts to explain the causes and show what is going on in the minds of many of those affected. Because one thing is clear: for the chronically bored, this is anything but a luxury problem.

Why boredom can be good for you

Boredom in the office: the causes

Employees who complain of boredom in the office are neither lazy nor stupid. At least that’s my impression when I look at the comments here and when I work with Boreout sufferers in coaching. On the contrary: many of them are highly motivated, well trained, and reflective. They are stuck in jobs for which they are overqualified or they are trapped in systems that completely do not correspond to their own values ​​and work ideas. But how can this even happen?

Management and leadership failure

Some employees tell me that their bosses no longer have time for them and are losing sight of them – I wrote about this here. If executives are only turning on their own hamster wheels or believe that modern leadership means letting the employees run as freely as possible like chickens in floor housing, then there is no more leadership. What heaven on earth is to independence-loving employees, hell is to others who need a controlling hand and firm guard rails for meaningful work.

Besides, the fact that personnel policy in the company is driven by permanent positions and the more status and power a manager experiences, the more heads he is allowed to manage, this is the ideal breeding ground for turning a blind eye when your own employees have nothing to do. Because whoever voluntarily shrinks his management span, is also sawing his power. This is the only way I can explain to myself that the bored are surprised that their employer has been feeding them for so long for fruitless idleness.

Stunted social skills, personal responsibility

It would be too easy to just pass the buck on the employer. There are two sides to a good working relationship. My perception is that many workers today lean back with the attitude “I’m not responsible for that!”. But from this attitude, it is not far to the poor, little victim who is doing so badly and who only looks to others to blame for the misery. Most of those who are bored at work that I experience are stuck in exactly this attitude, which not only robs them of an incredible amount of strength but also makes them believe that they have no chance of being able to change anything in their situation themselves.

My opinion: Personal responsibility as social competence, especially among young people, continues to be massively threatened with extinction the more school-based training and study become. Pupils and students do not learn early on to organize themselves and to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions and encounter the above-mentioned management failure or inefficient structures in the job, useless hanging around, and boredom due to a lack of awareness of alternative courses of action are the logical consequence.

Too high expectations of young professionals

In the last few weeks, I have wondered why so many young people comment under my post and complain about their suffering. Could it be that the “Generation Y Bachelor” starts as a top manager of tomorrow with the expectation to work on exciting projects on the spot and to jet around the world in international corporations?

But then the young managers suddenly spend hours at copiers, spend weeks stupidly creating PowerPoint slides for their bosses, or after a few months, they realize that work also means a lot of routines. Welcome to reality with antediluvian work processes and menial jobs for the newbies in some places. Can that be a reason? Felt boredom as a result of high expectations of career starters? – I would be very interested in your opinion.

Boredom victims keep looking wrong as applicants

A noticeable number of “boredom victims” report to me that they have already changed employers several times and are falling into the same “trap” over and over again. I see résumés with annual changes at the last stations. Yes, boredom seems to have a system here. Either because those affected always use the same misleading search mechanism as applicants or they always convey the same (incorrect) image of themselves with their application.

It’s strange: Anyone who has had bad experiences once knows what they no longer want and what to look out for with their next employer. This logic does not seem to apply to many boredoms. Because they are often not at all aware of what they need instead and how, when changing jobs, they recognize an employer who is better suited to them and who appreciates their skills and potential.

The symptoms: How bored people feel and how you can recognize a boreout

If I compare the behavior of burnout and boreout sufferers, then there are many parallels: Both of them pull themselves deeper and deeper into the problem through what they see as logical behavior. Both lose sight of their own body and their warning signals. As the condition progresses, both see fewer and fewer opportunities to change something. Both suffer from psychological and physical symptoms such as insomnia, nervousness, weight loss, and even depression. And for both, the private environment is often no help to get out of the stressful situation: Because the overwhelmed is sure that he is doing the right thing and the bored is ridiculed for his luxury problem.

Avoidance: Just don’t attract attention!

The strategies to avoid boredom in the office, such as deception or self-deception, were discussed in the article at the time. Every employee in permanent employment is afraid of losing his job. Employees do not go to their boss and complain about too little work over the long term. So hush up for the hell of it. Screens are rotated so that boss and colleagues cannot see private surfing. The simplest work is dragged out so much that it always gives the impression of being busy.

Don’t be noticed! This is the biggest drain on energy when bored in the office. A strategy for blind bosses or particularly socially-minded employers can save their own job and thus the secure salary for years, but which in the end only makes everything worse. Because each of you probably knows from your own, albeit brief, experience how exhausting doing nothing while being present at the same time can be.

Helplessness: I can’t do anything!

With increasing weakness as a result of avoidance and inaction, the feeling of helplessness increases. “I have nothing to do!” Becomes the irrevocable belief “I can’t do anything!” This attitude resonates in many of the comments under my first post. Those affected see themselves as victims of the circumstances and the system in which they are trapped. Not only that they have already tried everything, no, but they also do not have the spark of an idea of what they can contribute to positively changing the stressful situation. The result: perseverance, enduring increasing frustration, and hoping for improvement.

Frustration: Nobody takes me seriously!

In my experience, this is the biggest problem that chronically under-challenged people have in their job and that, in my opinion, is the reason that boreout is later recognized as burnout by and by those affected. While those who are stressed get signals from their environment that draw attention to too much work, those at risk of boreout are often ridiculed: “Be happy if you have nothing to do and get money for it – I am constantly stressed and even earn less than you! ”

Many clients shyly and scared ask me if they are plagued by a luxury problem. You notice that something is wrong, but at the same time, you get a reflection from those around you that your problem is not really one. And those who hear it often enough believe in it. But the physical and psychological symptoms speak a different language. Uncertainty about the right behavior and, as a consequence, withdrawal from the social environment are often the consequences, but they make the situation even worse.

The way-out: 8 steps against boredom in the office

Create clarity about your own values ​​and goals

If you are looking for clarity about a solution, you first need clarity about yourself. What is important in your job and life and what of these is hurt or not fulfilled in your current job? What is it that burdens you so much with your current employer and what more do you wish for? This awareness is not only necessary to get out of the situation, but also to consciously make sure in the next step that these things are fulfilled as far as possible with the next employer.

Leave your victim role

As long as you wallow in self-pity and hold only your boss, colleagues, or society responsible for your situation, you will not accept a solution. Decide whether you really need this role as a victim of circumstances and whether this attitude is good for something, or whether you want to become the designer of your life yourself again, then with it …

Take on more personal responsibility again

You probably have to slowly learn to take responsibility again. Even if your boss is incompetent and does not lead you and even if you have ended up in a company that hoards too many jobs for too little work, you remain the boss of your life. In everyday life, pay attention to the situations in which you give up responsibility, because you are used to it and that is also very convenient, and when you can take on more responsibility yourself instead.

Break habits

Your day-to-day work and your private life probably now consist of many routines and automatisms that are the result of boredom in the office. Try to deliberately interrupt such automatisms that served to conceal or distract from boredom. Each of these steps is an unfamiliar and supposedly dangerous step out of your habitual and comfort zone. See how it feels and see if it gets you further.

Recharge your batteries

What seems a bit esoteric is, from my experience, an extremely important key to success, especially with job changers and applicants. Any frustration – and with it also stressful boredom – gnaws at you. Looking for a job in this state or having a constructive conversation with the boss is usually not a good idea. Change small things and pay attention to what gives you new strength and energy in everyday life and at work and thus strengthens you for the future. Perhaps it is also a short break, which – if your finances allow it – is good preparation for the new.

Find solutions: stay or go?

For many bored people, one thing is certain: “I have to get out of there!” With their current employer, they no longer see any possibility of making such fundamental changes to enjoy their job again. Nevertheless, it is often worthwhile to consider this as well. Because the blinkers as a natural reaction to frustration have often become so big that many employees no longer have some sensible solutions in mind at the same employer.

Make consistent decisions

Decisions are part of changes. Many people who are frustrated and bored long long hope that others will make the decisions for them – for example in the form of termination. That too is relinquishing responsibility. So if you have found a path that seems sensible to you today, then make decisions after weighing the advantages and disadvantages as well as the consequences and go the way. And if you find way that this path is not leading you in the desired direction, you can make new decisions.

Get help

No, this is not the advertising block for coaching with me. If you have read this far, you may have noticed that many employees who complain of boredom in the office find it difficult to do it on their own find out the situation. Because your own environment is often not a good advisor either. Allow yourself to seek professional help as you go around in circles on your own.

As you can see from my first post a year ago and the response to it, but also from the abundance of articles on “Boreout” on the web today, it is not a luxury problem for a few under-challenged, but a relevant and therefore a serious topic in today’s working world. Don’t just accept chronic challenge and boredom at work. Even if it feels like a tepid job and easy money at the beginning, it can quickly lead to permanent frustration.

As an employee, sharpen your awareness that excessive demands not only mean stress, but that permanent under exertion can also make you sick. Friends and families of people who complain of boredom at work should take these warning signs seriously and consider together what options he or she has to change something about this condition and who can help with it. Because luxury problems are always a problem for those affected.

My boss doesn’t see me! So open his eyes

Do you sometimes get the feeling that your boss is in another sphere? Does he design, make strategic contacts, hang around in meetings all day and discuss things with his own kind? And you stay by the wayside! He hardly has any time for you and does not see your performance. You lack recognition and you would be happy if you could see your boss more often to clarify important questions. He’s also supposed to make sure that you take the next step in your career at some point. But what if he doesn’t even have you on his screen? Now you can whine and continue to wonder about your manager’s blindness. Or you can become active yourself. In this case, I have some ideas for you on how to open the eyes of your boss (or your boss) again.

How to Tell Your Boss That You're Unhappy at Work

Wait a minute! Who is the boss here?

“I beg your pardon?! Open my boss’s eyes? – I’m definitely not getting paid for that!”- Or what is going through your head at this moment?

If you think and feel this way, then you may be caught in the victim trap: “I’m just the little employee and I have nothing to report anyway. An unimportant cog in the big gear. I’m just supposed to follow instructions. Any criticism would be pointless and if so, then I am considered cheeky or uncomfortable and in the end, I get a warning from the bad boss for my rebellion. ”

Yes, if you feel too hot to change something about this state of affairs, then let it go, carry on as before, somehow deal with your blind boss. Or (Attention, fun mode!) You follow the popular recipes for boss blindness and dress more conspicuously, simply load your work on his desk without being asked and stubbornly bombard him with appointment requests that he can not do otherwise than you finally notice. When you are really annoying to him, then he has to pay attention to you.

If this is not an alternative for you, if you are otherwise happy with your job and therefore do not want to go looking for a new boss, then you should stop hoping for sudden clairvoyance from your boss and instead take action yourself will be.

And you? – Open your own eyes first

Before you tear the blindfold off your boss, you should first take a closer look at yourself. If you have already followed my contributions to fellow pigs, mind readers, and relationship killers on the job, then you have probably noticed that I think it is important to first touch your own nose when dealing with interpersonal conflicts. I often experience that the behavior of their bosses condemned by employees is a mirror or a reaction to their own behavior. How is it with you? Do you have any idea what your part (could have been) in making your boss behave as you perceive him to be today?

The following questions can also help you to see more clearly yourself in this situation: Why do you think that your boss does not see you? How do you actually determine this today and is it really true? How does it compare to your colleagues? Has your boss paid more attention to you in the past and if so, did you behave differently during this time?

And you should also question this critically: Why is it so important to you that your boss has you more in focus? I know employees who would be very happy if they were left alone more. Why are you bothered by the apparent blindness of your manager? Which of your values ​​is this violated? Is recognition or appreciation extremely important to you and that is neglected today? Or is it about promotion, competition with colleagues or status? Or would you like a boss to be a role model from whom you would like to learn a lot? So: What is really behind your wish that your boss should finally keep an eye on you again?

Two people, two perspectives

Your boss is the boss because he has different topics in his sights than you. Even if you and your boss are ideally pursuing identical corporate goals, you work on them at different levels. You are busier with the operational business, but your boss should have the big picture in mind.

It is quite normal and also right for you and your boss to look from different perspectives not only on topics but also on the respective environment in the company. Imagine your glasses are green and your boss ones are red. They see the same thing but perceive it differently. You may even see important red things that your boss cannot see through his red glasses, but he sees the green ones that remain hidden from you.

It is possible that your boss is not as blind as you think and is very aware of you. However, there may be other things that he can see more clearly through his glasses. Especially when your boss has a lot of employees and you are one of his best horses in the stable, he will focus more on those of your colleagues who he has to lead more closely. I’m not saying this is good leadership behavior, but it could explain your perception.

My tip: Try to change your perspective and think about which “glasses” your boss wears in certain situations and what or who he sees as a result – and also has to see so that he does a good job himself. Before you label your boss as a “blind cow” and condemn his behavior towards you, ask yourself the question: Why does he/she behave like this, and could it even be that this behavior also has something positive for you?

Leadership is not a one-way street

No question about it, the word “personnel responsibility” implies responsibility. Your boss is responsible and has the task of leading you well, motivating you, and taking care of your health in the workplace. He should give the direction and tell you what to do (how) and when. He relies on you to complete assigned tasks or give results back to him at an agreed time.

Today I sometimes have the impression that the bosses’ “responsibility” means that the individual employees no longer take responsibility themselves. Because they are used to the fact that their bosses do everything for them in an emergency, it means an effort for them or because they simply do not see it in their current work situation to take responsibility themselves. Even if you don’t want to hear that as an employee, leadership actually becomes a one-way street.

I believe that, as in a modern, equal partnership, both sides are responsible for providing a framework and a working atmosphere in which they can do a good job they are fine. And so, as an employee, you can and should tell your boss if something bothers you, if you see things differently through your “glasses” or if you have questions because you do not understand the purpose of a task or the overarching goal. And if it is important to you that your boss keeps a professional eye on you, then he or she will be very grateful for this tip too.

5 ideas so that your boss can keep an eye on you again:

Talk to your boss about it

You may know by now that I am a friend of clarity. Do you know why it is important to you that your boss has a closer look at you and your work, then ask him for an appointment and discuss the topic in private? Be careful not to end up in blame-justification ping-pong. Explain your point of view and perception and say what you specifically want for the future. This allows your boss to reflect on his behavior, explain the view through his “glasses” and decide how to deal with your concerns. At the end of the conversation, it should be clear to both sides whether and what will change in future cooperation.

Show real interest in current topics

If you are actually happy if you can just do a good job quietly throughout the day, but still want your boss to see the good performance more, then this could be one way. Participate more actively and show real interest in topics to the right and left of your area of ​​responsibility. This can be at lunch with the whole team or at regular team meetings. It’s not about becoming the clown on the team or the jack-of-all-trades in every hallway. It’s about your generally stronger presence. From my point of view, this is primarily a question of one’s own attitude as an extra- or introverted disposition.

Suggest tasks to your boss that you would like to take on

Perhaps your daily job today consists largely of routine tasks, which you also do excellently. Your boss knows this and is happy that he can rely on you and can concentrate on other construction sites with peace of mind. If you feel like livening up work-life yourself, keep your eyes open for topics and tasks that you find exciting and that you think you can do, and that you really want to do. Propose your idea to your boss. It will be important to many bosses that your previous activities are not neglected. You should think about an answer to this question beforehand and take this worry away from your boss.

Find out what the team values ​​you for

Do you have a certain role in the team today or are you just one of many? Is there anything you can do better than your colleagues? What are you valued for in the team today? Can you think of anything? If so, then this can also be a good starting point to bring the boss back into focus again. Pay attention to situations in which these strengths or functions are particularly useful in the team – and use them consciously. Maybe your boss is just looking at the entire team – he shouldn’t! – but this way you have the chance to be perceived as an important part of his team.

Use your personal strengths for your career

I recently read somewhere (can’t find it anymore): “You have to push a career yourself”. Certainly, there is a spark of truth in this, and that closes the circle that you too are the boss of your (work) life and that you have the power to change something.

I experience a lot of employees who are not deployed according to their true strengths and thus also cannot reach their full potential. If that also applies to you and you may only be working on the back burner today, then it is no wonder if you make yourself small and so are not the focus of your boss. Focus more on your real strengths again and work actively and (self) consciously on your career, which you believe will lead you in the right direction over the next few years. This is sure to catch your boss’s eye.

Would you like to open your boss’s eyes?

Of course, not all bosses are as blind and bad managers as I have portrayed them in this article, in some cases greatly exaggerated. And certainly, many employees interpret and dramatize the behavior of their bosses a lot.

But whatever the “truth” looks like, I would like to give you, as an employee, the impulse not to helplessly accept bad relationships with your boss or what you see as insufficient leadership. You have a bigger part in creating a positive collaboration with your manager than you might think today.

Also: Many bosses are very grateful when their employees approach them and give them constructive feedback on their behavior. Because we all know that there are situations in life in which we are blind in both eyes and it is good when someone honestly but respectfully opens our eyes.

Money doesn’t matter as long as the salary is right

Money alone is no longer a fun job today. Other things count, such as self-realization, challenge, or purpose, which are preferred to the full bank account and ensure fulfillment in the job. At least that is what current studies show and I also find it in career coaching. But have you ever noticed how many tips and tricks around the salary and salary negotiation haunt the net every day? All headlines immediately promise more money or entice you with the brand new tricks on how to become the negotiating winner at the next annual interview. Such texts are extremely well received and are clicked thousands of times after they appear. How can that be when money has supposedly become so unimportant for a career and personal happiness? Why is there still such an interest in salary issues at all? An apparent contrast that I find exciting.Why are Tech Pros So Unhappy with Their Pay?

Money alone no longer makes you happy today

If I ask job changers and applicants what is particularly important to them for the next step in their career, then they all name the money besides. Rather, they long for an exciting job, collegiality, an appreciative boss, and at eye level. All of this is important to them today to be motivated to do good work. Yes, at some point you will tell me in conversation “I would like to earn as much as I do now with the next employer”, but it sounds like an insignificant secondary condition. Unless I’m dealing with downshifters who consciously want to take a step back on the career ladder and would even forego income for this.

Money alone is neither a lure nor a binding agent for good employees today. This is the result of various studies on job satisfaction and employee loyalty. The recently published results of the “Indeed Job Happiness Index 2016” show what makes employees happy at work: Work-life balance comes first, followed by (corporate) management, culture, and security/development. Job happiness factor money ranks 5th.

I also find the results of the study on securing and retaining skilled workers by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs interesting. Potential job changers may first and foremost dream of better pay, but for those surveyed who actually have changed employers, the importance of more money and additional benefits slips to 5th place.

The desire for a higher salary seems to motivate employees to think about changing jobs, but other criteria are the focus for the subsequent selection decision. Or it is actually mainly those employees to whom the soft topics are more important than change, while the salary dreamers do not pull through in the end.

Especially for the younger generation, the motto of the book of the same name seems to be an expression of their current attitude towards job and career. Even if more and more voices are being voiced that the difference between the generations is a myth, my coaching experience shows a cross-generational trend away from money and towards meaning in the job.

Tips & tricks for higher salaries are celebrating the boom

For a few weeks now I have been consciously observing which job and career topics are attracting great interest on the internet and therefore could attract attention here in the blog. Every day at least one article about salary and salary negotiations appears somewhere in the major career and business portals. If I take a look at the number of clicks, the distribution in social media, and the comments, then these posts seem to be real traffic guarantors for the portals.

This is amazing, isn’t it? Why are so many employees interested again and again in the sometimes rather flat expert advice on more salary when money is supposedly not that important?

More money? – I’m not saying no!

Of course, if the boss comes around the corner with the bonus at the end of the year or perhaps even offers a regular salary increase of 2.9 percent of his own free will, then there’s something to celebrate. The equation is simple: the more money in the account, the better – even if there is diminishing marginal utility.

And of course, the promise of bonus, commission, dividend, or bonus still affects the work motivation of the individual today. Even if it has now been scientifically proven that salary increases and bonuses only have a very short-term effect, and can even create false incentives. Reinhard K. Sprenger described this very well in “The Motivation Myth – Ways Out of a Dead End”.

And yet, if you take a look at your colleagues in sales (or at yourself as a salesperson), you are likely to see a personality to whom money is very important as a value and motivator. At least for the die-hard 50+ salespeople, that should still apply today. Most sales organizations, especially in the financial services and insurance industries, are still extremely driven by commissions and incentives.

The fact that companies and managers sometimes wrongly assess the reward function of money for the sustainable performance of their employees is one thing and probably only a matter of time before the more recent research on motivation and incentive Put theory into practice. But on the other hand, it is clear that almost every employee (and self-employed) is also an income maximizer and thus has an interest in negotiating more salary.

Money is unimportant as long as the salary is right

The monthly salary stands for security and today that is an important value, especially for young professionals. To be able to pay off the newly moved home, to hoard a small reserve for the unforeseen, to treat yourself to vacation once a year, or simply to be able to maintain the standard of living that you have cherished today and especially in old age.

The salary as a performance of the employer is an expression of recognition. The salary should match your education, job responsibilities, and personal performance. This is important for many employees as an indicator of justice, especially when compared with colleagues and friends.

If something remains from the salary at the end of the month, it gives independence. With a small financial cushion, for example, it is easier to quit the job on your own if it no longer fits and to bridge a dry spell in the application phase. For many female employees, their own salary means independence from their partner, which is also very important to many today.

“If I am successful, enjoy my job and if everything so important to me today is fulfilled, then the money is also right.” This is the argument of many professionals when I talk to you about their values ​​and goals in the profession. The money has moved into the second row. It is becoming less and less important when it comes to success and fulfillment in your job.

The salary has become a colorful ribbon around money. As a sign of recognition, justice, meaningful employment, or as a basis for independence. From my perspective, this is what will drive motivation and personal performance in the future. That explains why the many tips for increasing the salary still meet with such great interest.

However, the next time you click on one of these “This is how you earn more!” headings, you as a reader can consciously ask yourself what actually means “earning more money” for you personally. Is it really the victory in the salary negotiation and the 200 euros more net monthly in the account or are there actually completely different values ​​and goals behind it? And maybe there are other things you can do to achieve these true goals in addition to salary negotiations.

Strengthening strengths: 3 cases when this strategy fails

You have to strengthen your strengths to weaken the weaknesses! This strategy sounds obvious and so it has haunted all guides for more success in life and at work for decades. But it’s not that easy! Many fail in the implementation of the basic requirement: the awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses. What I don’t know, I can’t reinforce. However, even if you fully understand your strengths, this strategy can lead you in the wrong direction. Here are 3 cases when the strengths-strengths strategy fails and what you should pay attention to instead.Do You Play To Your Strengths - Commitment Cartoon - Free Transparent PNG Download - PNGkey

Case 1: You do not recognize your strengths

This case is the classic. The lack of awareness of one’s own strengths. “What can I do?” I hear this particularly often from experienced professionals who have forgotten what actually sets them apart in the course of their careers. There are many reasons for this: Dissatisfaction blocks a clear view of one’s own strengths. Job seekers, for example, who have their resignation on the table or who have already run through many unsuccessful applications, doubt themselves. They only see deficits, but not a single strength. You can only strengthen your strengths if you are aware of your strengths and value them as strengths.

Your backpack is also full of strengths!

I like the image of the rucksack that each of us carries on our backs for our whole life and that over time fills with strengths, skills, knowledge, experience, and developed talents. Perhaps something gets lost from the backpack now and then because we believe we no longer need something or simply forget it. But the bottom line is that our backpack becomes bulkier and bulkier with increasing life and work experience. Sometimes in a difficult situation, I imagine myself rummaging in my backpack for a strength that I could use but do not have at hand. In most cases, I will find what I am looking for and remember previous situations in which I have used this strength before. Take a look into your “backpack” and discover again what is hidden there.

The habit-trap: when strengths become routine

This is the other case of no longer recognizing your own strengths. The more you can use your strengths well, the more they lose their special status. A lot of people tell me “It’s normal, everyone can do it!” And at the same time I often think and say “Well, I can’t do that!” Just because you submit a suggestion for improvement every month and the company awards it every time, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s normal. It has become routine for you, but your colleagues or the boss will still ask themselves the question “How does she/he manage it?”

Remember your strengths again!

I came across my certificate from elementary school while looking for my vaccination record in my folder of documents last week. I already knew then that I would write an article about strengths here on the blog. And when I read through my second-grade report card, I became very different:

“Interest and open-mindedness for new things. Contributing to the collaboration and enriching. Persistent perseverance, independent way of working, quickly and very carefully. Quick comprehension and strong solution orientation. A clearly structured writing style, few mistakes. Language appropriate and skillful. Good understanding of numbers.”

For those who know me a little better: Isn’t that crazy ?! No, I don’t mean how great I am (that’s nothing special – laughs), but what strengths and characteristics today were so obvious to me as an 8-year-old. It is written here what so many applicants are desperately looking for: According to their personal strengths and abilities, which they define and which they can often no longer formulate for themselves as adults.

Perhaps you can still find your old certificates and have a goosebumps moment like I had last week. It can also be that your strengths have changed over time and the comparison is not as clear for you as it is for me. But even then you can think about whether and which of the strengths of the past can still be useful for you today and whether it is worthwhile or how you can reactivate them.

Strengthening strengths is a good strategy if you are aware of your strengths and can appreciate them.

Case 2: Your strengths conflict with your values ​​

I would like to introduce Claudia to you: She is real writing talent. Your texts are well received. She has written two books so far – both bestsellers. A year ago she received an offer from a major daily newspaper for permanent employment. She accepted it. A contribution every day, that was her default. But the joy of writing that she used to have disappeared very quickly. She liked the texts less and less and her bosses were also dissatisfied. Claudia knows today that independence is one of her most important values. With the permanent position and the daily goal, this value was violated. That affected their strength. She needs the freedom to write good texts. Today Claudia works as a freelance journalist again and has found her way back to her old writing strength.

Strengths and values ​​belong together. Strengthening strengths without looking at your own values ​​can lead in the wrong direction. No matter how perfect you are at something, as long as this strength violates one of the values ​​that are important to you, you will get into an inner conflict. If you bend in your personality to use strength in a certain context or if you move away from your real goals and values, then this will weaken you rather than strengthen you in the long run.

What strengthens you and what weakens you?

When I talk to applicants about their strengths and weaknesses – this often happens because they are afraid of this question in the interview, then I modify the question and we talk about what strengthens them and what also weakens them. This is a different perspective that goes beyond the simple strengths and weaknesses view. Because she questions the motives and causes as well as the effect of strengths and weaknesses: the exhausting colleague who steals your energy. The important presentation in front of a group that sucks the batteries empty in advance. The walk with the dog, which gives you new energy every day. The praise from the boss, which motivates and encourages. Often, further indications of strengths and weaknesses can be derived from this observation and they are related to the values ​​in work and life, which I believe is so important.

Strengthening strengths is a good strategy if the strengths are in harmony with your values, goals, and your personality.

Case 3: Your strengths are unimportant for your environment

I had to think of this case when I read Svenja Hofert’s new book about the fish pond effect. She says: “People often develop better when their strengths are more pronounced than others. So it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small one in a big one. ”

Yes, strengths are always relative. Your strengths in the team are then relatively insignificant as long as there is a colleague who is better at it. Perhaps your particular strength is not even asked for: If you are great at using Excel and you really enjoy tables and formulas, but your task is to create colorful PowerPoint presentations, then your strength there is pretty worthless. It makes no sense here to get even better at Excel because strengthening this strength would not change anything in this environment.

Many bosses don’t delegate tasks because they think they can do them better or faster themselves. In this case, strengthening strengths can be a solution for an employee to move up to the top division again, but it doesn’t have to be. Because then he tries to be better than the colleague or the boss in an area and the race begins. Even if it can inspire a team in the short term, the expansion of this strength would be externally determined and does not have to correspond to one’s own motivation.

In this case, it would be smarter to either swim to a different corner of the fish pond or to specifically strengthen those “own” strengths that are needed in the small pond but are not yet available, making it easier for you to get a big one Can be fish.

Strengthening strengths is a good strategy if your strengths are valuable in the current living or working environment.