Bored at work? Read this. A third of all U.S. workers struggle with 'boreout.' But there are remedies.

This article was printed in The Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2008. by Marilyn Gardner Nicole Haase would like to work harder than she does. But as a receptionist and payroll administrator for a manufacturing firm in Milwaukee, she finds limited opportunities to take on more duties. “Work is slow, and we’re a small company, so it’s not always easy to find other things to do,” Ms. Haase says. To fill empty moments, she e-mails friends and works on freelance writing assignments. “The Internet is my friend – anything to make the time pass,” she says, adding that the strain of having too little to do creates its own kind of burnout. Now there’s a name for this kind of underemployment: boreout. In a new book, “Boreout! Overcoming Workplace Demotivation,” authors Philippe Rothlin and Peter Werder call it a pervasive problem. Studies show that one-third of workers in the… Read More

How do you eat an elephant?

As I sit here with my 12 year old helping him to study for his Humanities final I am bored and interested…and inspired to re-read an article I clipped a couple of weeks ago. I loved the May 12th issue of The New Yorker. Chock full of interesting articles about innovation. One article, by James Surowiecki, really grabbed me: ‘The Open Secret of Success’. It made me think of the riddle about how to eat an elephant: one bite at a time. In Surowieki’s article he discusses Toyota’s approach to innovation…they implement a million new ideas a year — small process oriented ideas. What I thought was particularly interesting was that he states, parenthetically, that ‘Japanese companies get a hundred times as many suggestions from their workers as U.S. companies do.’ Why is that? Are our companies not willing to hear ideas from workers? Are US workers not looking for… Read More