It seems clear to me that we're more likely to thrive when we're plugged into Reality. And I've noticed that some people who are bored at work are unaware that they are, because they find things to do that disguise the boredom, or at least make it more tolerable. For these people (a little tongue-in-cheek) I offer this list of boredom indicators.
- You can't sleep at night, so you sleep at work.
- You've figured out how to sit at your desk so that nobody can see that you're actually sleeping.
- You wonder if anyone heard that snore when you woke yourself up just now.
- On the way to the coffee machine you look down at your coffee cup and you notice that you already have coffee.
- You look forward to your bathroom break.
- You just arranged lunch with two people you can't stand, just to get out of the office.
- During lunch, you find yourself thinking about what to have for lunch tomorrow.
- You enjoy deleting sp*m.
- You read your sp*m.
- You send sp*m.
- You're usually current on your expense reports.
- You look forward to required training.
- It's all you can do to keep yourself from correcting obvious typos in Wikipedia.
- You correct obvious typos in Wikipedia, but you do it under an assumed name.
- No matter what you're doing, if it's work-related, you feel relief when you're interrupted.
- At work, you surf the Web looking for a new job.
- You do your Web errands (shopping, gifts, etc.) at work. No point wasting time at home on this stuff.
- You've learned the keyboard commands for quickly displaying the next or previous browser tab so you can switch quickly to a tab more suitable for work when someone suddenly enters your office.
- You listen carefully to the phone conversations of the person next door.
- You look at your boss's home in Google street view — again.
- You got pretty good at some of Google's more arcane commands by searching for your ancient love interests.
- You've figured out how to use the Internet All your paper clips are
pointing the same wayto spy on your dog sleeping on your sofa at home.
- All your paper clips are pointing the same way.
- All your paper clips are pointing the same way except the ones that you intentionally turned around so that they wouldn't all be pointing the same way.
- You've discovered that your office is in a time warp, because the clock, while not actually stopped, is moving so slowly that it might as well be stopped.
- You send long email messages to colleagues debating the finer points of stuff that even you don't care about.
- You send email messages that are so long that if you were a recipient, you wouldn't read them.
- Under an assumed name, you hold the daytime North American record in an Internet computer game.
- When a random question comes into your head (like which tree species leafs out first in springtime) you immediately get onto the Web and find the answer.
- And the Number One Indicator That You Might Be Bored at Work: You've read all the way through this list to get to the number 1 indicator that you might be bored at work.
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More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Names and Faces
- Most of us feel recognized, respected, and acknowledged when others use our names. And many of us have
difficulty remembering the names of others, especially those we don't know well. How can we get better
at connecting names and faces?
- Virtual Conflict
- Conflict, both constructive and destructive, is part of teamwork. As virtual teams become more common,
we're seeing more virtual conflict — conflict that crosses site boundaries. Dealing with destructive
conflict is difficult enough face-to-face, but in virtual teams, it's especially tricky.
- Tactics for Asking for Volunteers: II
- When we seek volunteers for specific, time-limited tasks, a common approach is just to ask the entire
team at a meeting or teleconference. It's simple, but it carries risks. There are alternatives.
- Why Don't They Believe Me?
- When we want people to believe us, and they don't, it just might be a result of our own actions or demeanor.
How does this happen?
- Workplace Memes
- Some patterns of workplace society reduce organizational effectiveness in ways that often escape our
notice. Here are five examples.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 8: Multi-Expert Consensus
- Some working groups consist of experts from many fields. When they must reach a decision by consensus, members have several options. Defining those options in advance can help the group reach a decision with all its relationships intact. Available here and by RSS on July 8.
- And on July 15: Disjoint Concept Vocabularies
- In disputes or in problem solving sessions, when we can't seem to come to agreement, we often attribute the difficulty to miscommunication, histories of disagreements, hidden agendas, or "personality clashes." Sometimes the cause is much simpler. Sometimes the concept vocabularies of the parties don't overlap. Available here and by RSS on July 15.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.
- Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?
Decision-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think. Briefers who combine the bullet-point format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions. Read more about this program.