Bored of work? You may have a case of "boreout"


I've had a few boring jobs in my day, but the most depressing one was my first job out of college. I was bored stiff, and I didn't want to be.

It was an exciting job for a then-22-year-old. I had landed a job as an office production assistant, working at the studios of 20th Century Fox. One of my corny highlights was looking out a window into a parking lot one afternoon and seeing Sean Connery get out of the car. I had arrived, sort of.

But while the office needed help, it turned out that they didn't need all that much help. Within a few days, I had organized the filing cabinets, ran several errands and helped get this television production office running smoothly. But I was an assistant of an assistant, and after about a week there, it started to become apparent that there was no longer much for me to do. Every day became more and more boring, and I became more and more desperate to look busy. I think it worked too well. When I resorted to polishing the picture frames on the wall, the assistant came over to me and said, "I think we both know what has to happen..."

So I was "let go," but given two week's severance pay, which was really very decent of them. And then I promptly found a job where I was even more bored, and the location -- an office building miles and miles from Hollywood -- wasn't exciting either.

I won't bore everyone by going through my history of every boring job I've ever had, but I've been thinking about my earlier stabs at gainful employment because of a fun story in The Orlando Sentinel earlier this week about "boreout," a condition coined by Swiss authors and business consultants, Phillippe Rothlin and Peter Werder.