Think about how comfortable you are at home. You wear your sweats to watch TV. You might not do the dishes after dinner. You leave your bed unmade for several days at a time. Then all of a sudden, a friend comes in from out of town and wants to stop by. Now you are caught off guard. You need to run home from work and clean everything super quickly so that he or she won’t think that you are an incredible messy slob.

This is the same thing that happens at work. When you get too comfortable, you won’t be ready for the next opportunity that comes knocking. People won’t notice you as a go-getter, and will think that you are 100% satisfied in your role and not interested in anything else.

Some of you may be thinking that you like the status quo, but there are countless articles out there that talk about the importance of variety for motivation in the workplace. It keeps us engaged and wanting more. Therefore, if you are happy in your current role and not looking for anything new, try to think outside the box.

You don’t have to wait to be assigned a project. Instead take a leap and assign yourself something. Consider a new project that fits nicely in your role. Create and propose a new program, process or system at work. Think about creating or updating instructional documents or presentations. Prepare a training presentation that you and others can use in person or online to provide needed instruction. Team up with someone new or maybe explore a new department. Not only will all of these things get you noticed, they will also keep you on your toes.

Here are a few examples of things that I have done with current and previous employers:

  • Set up a new filing system for my office
  • Created a “how-to” manual for common questions when working with my college helpdesk
  • Cleaned out our old storage to create more room in the office
  • Introduced Dropbox as a central storage system for our team with live updates
  • Offered to coordinate the design of our new website and ended up managing the whole process
  • Joined two diversity focused subcommittees to help our division be recognized nationwide for its efforts

What have you done to get outside of your comfort zone at work?