Even though you may have a great job, you can still experience work stress. Who hasn’t been sitting at the computer feeling pressure? But the cause of your stress might surprise you: it could be you are suffering from boredom at work.
Boredom can unhinge even high-performing professionals, resulting in sabotage, withdrawal, abusing team members and purposely failing at tasks, according to a Forbes article that reported multiple university studies.
I also recall reading research by management-consulting firm Gallup, that reported 71% of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged from their jobs, with highly educated and middle-aged workers the least likely to feel involved in and enthusiastic about their work.
This feeling of boredom can cause anyone to question the meaning and value of just about everything. Boredom isn’t just wasteful, it is stressful. If you’re busy, and yet still bored, it’s even more so.
“My boredom stems not from having nothing to do but from having nothing that seems worthwhile doing. We human beings are addicted to meaning, and this kind of existential boredom signals its unhappy retreat.” ~ Mark de Rond, “Are You Busy at Work but Still Bored?” Harvard Business Review, July 2012.
If boredom came solely from a lack of things to do, we could eliminate boredom by simply having more to do. But this solution only works in the short-term when what we are asked to do does not feel meaningful.
What about you? Have you experienced boredom at work, and what do you do to combat it?
In my next series of posts, I’ll take a look at the causes of boredom – even in the best cultures and jobs – and what you can do to escape that feeling.