Fighting against work boreout

In the Finnish coding related Slack community, Koodiklinikka, was a good discussion about work boreout.

That discussion got me thinking, and I almost said that I’ve never suffered such a thing. In fact, it has happened once. So I thought, why not share few tips on how I battled it then and how I battle it today.

Before diving deeper, it kinda makes sense to describe what boreout is. Simply put, it is opposite of the burnout. You simply just have too little to do in general or there are not enough challenges to overcome at work.

Okay, now straight to the deep end then. My first and (so far) only boreout experience was eight years ago. The company I was working for, just didn’t have enough work at all and sometimes weeks went past by just waiting for the clock to be five. The majority of the work was maintaining legacy codebase, putting together some lame Facebook competitions (remember the days when you could embed your own webpage inside FB?) and pulling the winners from databases.

How did I overcome this boredom? Ultimately by dismissing myself and switching the company I worked for. Yes, it is a privilege to be able to do that.

But there was more. Before leaving the company, and these means are still in use, I fought the boredom with getting involved with the OSS community (WordPress ), developing new internal tools and boilerplates to help my future work and coding some things by myself even though there would have been ready solution available.

Nowadays I’m more involved with WordPress Community and I get to use some of my paid hours to contribute to the project. I’ve learned to dare to say “yes” for little too big and complex projects from which I’m unsure how I’m able to complete those. Getting involved with sales and helping our salesperson with defining offers for large projects. Maintaining our company servers. And the list of small things continue…

I guess the takeaway from this post should be, that if you experience boredom, there are ways to fight against it! You don’t need to do the same thing from week to week every day nine to five. Talk with your employer, see if it’s possible to get some completely different things to vary the days and weeks.

In the Koodiklinikka discussion, someone also posted this good article on how to find meaning in your work. It’s definitely worth reading.

If you really suffer from boredom for a long time, it is a sign that you should be preparing to switch jobs when it becomes possible. Nobody deserves a job that they don’t enjoy doing.


This post is part of my 30 weeks of clicking that publish button. Thank you Cory Miller for the inspiration!