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Is it considered rude or negative to say that I am not challenged by my tasks I am responsible for in my role?

I currently work as a database developer (less than a year at this job). I have a good reputation and people are impressed with the work I produce. I rarely come across a task that I consider challenging or really takes me a long time to understand. This does not mean that my job is mind-numbingly boring, but the things that I find challenging and truly engaging are things that I get to do infrequently due to lack of a need for it (like complex query tuning or deep internal diagnostics) or do not have a direct connection to my work (Code-Golfing, learning new code).

When asked, will saying that I am not challenged by what I am doing or saying that the work I am doing it not hard paint me in a negative light?

  • I think the close votes were probably due to the title more than the question. The title raised red flags with me immediately too. So I changed the title to one I think will get you a better reception. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 24 '16 at 20:05
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    I don't even see the problem, most jobs are not particularly challenging to someone with thorough knowledge and experience in them, that's pretty much the point of hiring someone to do them. I wouldn't want a database manager who is struggling with his tasks frequently, I want one who quickly and competently resolves them. Most of my work comes precisely because I easily resolve clients issues with no fuss and no drama. – Kilisi May 25 '16 at 0:30
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There's no good way to say "my job is not challenging" because employers automatically equate it with "he will go find work that's more challenging".

If you truly want to remain with that company it might be time to take a more proactive role and find project for yourself such optimizing a database, etc.

If you don't have that sort of latitude you might simply propose those projects to your managers and advise them on how it might help the company.

Either way though, keep that particular opinion to yourself.

  • Agreed. That's how I do it, proactive. If there's a task bordering your work and responsibilities that needs to be done, ask if you can do it. If your reputation is good and people are impressed with your work, there's a good chance they will let you do the task. Expand your horizon :) – Sabine May 25 '16 at 8:00
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I'd put it this way: your work is interesting and well within your abilities.

It's the same thing really, it's just the way you put the words together. This is not unusual at all - there are good and smart people in every field, and I doubt everyone of them is doing challenging work every moment.

Of course, just because the technical work is easy for you doesn't mean you are not enjoying it. You can be producing high quality work, on time. You can also be learning other stuff like project management, communications because you wish to progress to senior positions. The trick here is, if somebody asks you, make sure your presentation is positive.

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The best place to bring this up is at annual review, where your objectives are discussed.

You can go through your performance, and if you have been absolutely nailing it so far, suggest that for the year ahead you set objectives and some stretch objectives: deliberately aimed at pushing you beyond your comfort zone.

This way you can discuss it not as a dissatisfaction with your current role, but as an additional way to prove your development.

I typically give my team stretch objectives in areas they want to develop in, or that may be a useful area for my team to develop new capabilities. That way I can benefit as well.

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Much of communication is about how you present the information. A good manager will want employees to be challenged (at least those that WANT to be challenged) and to give them opportunities for growth. Telling your manager, "my work is not challenging," focuses on the wrong thing. Nobody has work that is challenging ALL the time, and it is a negative statement that makes it sound like you are unhappy with your work.

Instead of focusing on what you don't want, try focusing on what you want instead. "Boss, I'd like to continue to grow my skills. Are there some opportunities for me to take on some additional, more challenging projects?" Now, instead of telling your boss that you are bored, you are telling them that you are motivated, ambitious, and want to grow. You could even suggest a project... "ABC report is running really slow. If I have some downtime, do you mind if I try to tune some of the queries and present my findings to you?"

Another thing is, before you pose this question, make sure that your current work is A+ and on-time, and not mediocre because you ARE bored. A manager is probably going to think twice about giving you challenges if he isn't confident in your abilities at the current level.

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