Ask The Bunch: Dealing with Micromanagement and Lack of Motivation in the workplace

Today our friends at BUNCH Magazine offer advice on how to address micromanagement with your supervisor, and tips for finding the positive when your job has you lacking energy and motivation.
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Welcome back to our collaboration with our friends at BUNCH Magazine! Over the next year, they will be sharing some of their infinite wisdom by answering pressing questions about career aspirations, transitions and callings. We welcome their knowledge on the creative, professional and entrepreneur space, and think you will love their insights as well.

I have been working in a small marketing agency for two years. When I first started, I was excited to dive in and bring my creativity to what seemed to be a stagnant pool. I have so many great, creative ideas to share but they are constantly ignored for the old and mundane even though I am called the "artsy girl" in the office. I have my creative side projects that keep me charged, but I am starting to lose steam because of the lack of creative motivation in my full time job.

How do I stay creatively motivated in my full time job while I nurture my side projects and look for a more creatively fulfilling job?

The Caged Creative Bird

Dear Caged Creative Bird,

It’s very common that as creatives the yearning to express ourselves through our work is inescapable and when we feel unfulfilled, we start to question our career paths. I have been in your shoes and I hear this story quite often! So what does a girl do?

It’s All In The Delivery

You mentioned that your ideas are often overlooked or dismissed in favor of the routine. Might I suggest that you try a different approach: how are you presenting your ideas? If your ideas are completely left of center, your employer may be nervous to try out something that feels like a deep departure from their style. They hired you for a reason and refer to you as someone with a flair for creativity, so they obviously respect you. What you see as old and mundane is most likely their formula for success. Instead take baby steps and incorporate fresh ideas that still maintain the core style of the agency’s approach.

Talk It Out

Don’t be afraid to schedule one on one time with your supervisor or another trusted team leader to get feedback. At one of my previous jobs, every employee had weekly mentor meetings with senior management and I found that to be the best time to review new ideas, brainstorm and express my professional opinion. As a result, my boss understood my thoughts and process and became my biggest advocate when presenting those ideas to the decision makers. If these type of one-to-one meetings are out of the norm for your agency, don’t be afraid to request one. I’m sure your manager will appreciate the initiative!

Glass Half Full

I found myself at a complete impasse with my previous job. I was a little over a year into my passion project/creative business (BUNCH Magazine) and I was feeling stifled by my 9-5. Like you, I didn’t feel that I could grow in the environment, I didn’t feel that anyone was listening to my ideas or feedback, and I was so very ready to get out of there. But bills don’t pay themselves so I would have to stick it out a little while longer. Full of resentment that was quickly dragging me down, something suddenly clicked and I decided to look at things differently. Rather than focusing on how much my job sucked or how it was keeping me from my passion, I focused on the fact that I was employed and that the job gave me enough money and freedom to sustain my side business. My stable job was no longer the enemy, but instead was my biggest resource. The frustrating things like bad bosses and monotonous routines became life lessons on how to build a company culture that promotes creativity and teamwork. I started to think of it as bootcamp for when I would one day become the CEO.

While the easy answer to your question is to leave for greener pastures, there are always ways to make your time at your current job less soul sucking! Wishing you the best.

Lizzy Oko

p.s. How to know it's time to revaluate your path