Chronic boredom is a mental disorder

Boreout: Why boredom and insufficient demands make you sick

Burnout is not uncommon in our performance society. What is less well known is that quite a few employees have another problem: They are under-challenged in their job. Diagnosis: Boreout.

When Homer Simpson has nothing to do at work and prefers private life, this is funny. But when boredom becomes a daily routine, it can make you sick. If there is insufficient demand, boredom and disinterest, resignation and illness follow.

The English authors Philippe Rothlin and Peter R. Werder came up with a term for this phenomenon: Boreout - "burned out" by boredom. Especially in the ears of those who suffer from the counterpart, the [intlink id = “14214 ″ type =“ post “] burnout [/ intlink], illness caused by boredom at work may sound absurd at first. But: The symptoms of bore and burnout are often the same. These include sleep disorders, depression, psychosomatic illnesses such as stomach problems, tinnitus or headaches and back pain.

How does a boreout come about?

Boreout occurs when the employee is bored, under-challenged or disinterested during working hours.

Boredom leads to listlessness, because why should you still work when you are bored and no longer know what to do? And even those who are under-challenged are unhappy because they constantly have the feeling that they can actually do a lot more than they actually do. Insufficient identification can also be a cause of motivation problems.

What all causes have in common is that the person concerned is unhappy, feels out of place and misses the meaning of the work. Because if you don't work, you don't achieve anything that you or your fellow human beings and colleagues could be proud of. So there is no recognition, neither for work nor for the person.

Although the symptoms of burnout and boreout are often the same, while burnout has become a socially “recognized” condition, most boreout sufferers do not dare to talk about their problems. After all, what should one think of someone who gets sick because he does nothing?

Look busy

So that he does not "attract attention", the Boreout sufferer tries by all means - and to find such, he has enough time due to his boredom - to appear busy. While Homer Simpson devotes himself to his donuts with a lot of love instead of working, in the digital age the employee surfs the Internet, books the next hotel trip or places a bulk order on Amazon. At the same time, however, he tries to give his colleagues the impression that they are working hard. That takes strength - even more strength than doing nothing. And this is exactly the reason why the boreout sufferer is stressed despite being bored.

Added to this is the constant fear that it will come to light that the employee is not doing any work at all.

But why does boreout occur in some companies?

There can be a number of reasons why employees start to get bored at work. Usually there is too little work in the respective area. Machines have eliminated entire areas of responsibility in certain areas. Dull routine work replaces the previous demanding tasks. Boreout can also arise if the order situation in certain companies is poor, but the employees continue to work.

Boredom can also occur when working in a job for which one is actually overqualified. For example, if you want to escape unemployment and take a job for which lower qualifications are actually sufficient, you can suffer from boreout just as much as someone who works in the right position but simply has nothing to do.

The self-employed do not suffer from boreout

That Boreout has a lot to do with identification with the company is shown by the fact that the self-employed almost never suffer from Boreout. Why? They put all their heart and soul into their work, because if they did not do this, bankruptcy would threaten. One way of counteracting boreout would be to ensure that employees identify with the company. After all, Boreout not only harms the psyche of employees, it also causes great economic damage to employers.

Where does boreout appear?

While a carpenter cannot pretend he is making a closet, administrative employees in particular are often affected by boreout. And: Of course, the internet and the digitization of the world of work contribute to the spread of the boreout.

Signs of boreout

The following symptoms suggest that an employee has boreout:

  • You feel stressed even though you are not stressed at all.
  • You ask yourself what is the point of your job.
  • You feel like you're just sitting off your 40-hour week.
  • You use a lot of your working time to chat with colleagues.
  • You do private things during work hours.
  • You feel under-challenged.
  • You feel bored.
  • Occasionally you pretend you're just working.
  • You are unhappy with your job.
  • You miss the deeper meaning of your work.
  • They would actually like to do something different.
  • You send private emails to colleagues while you work.
  • You often work overtime even though you have nothing more to do.

What Can You Do On Your Own If You Have Boreout?

In most cases you can change something about your situation yourself! The first step is self-awareness. If you can answer "yes" to any of the following questions, then you can change something about your boreout situation:

  • Can you change jobs to one where you won't get bored? Maybe even internally?
  • Could further training or retraining help to be able to take on further tasks or to work in a different area of ​​work?
  • Would a conversation with the employer help to change the situation? Explain to your boss that you would be happy to take on new responsibilities.
  • Could you make your current job more attractive and challenging yourself?
  • Can a change be expected in a few months, e.g. if the order situation changes?
Author: Sarah Dreyer
Published on September 8, 2011

Tags: Boreout, illness, boredom, underchallenge