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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Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
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- A cognitive bias called functional fixedness causes difficulty in recognizing new uses for familiar things. It also makes for difficulty in recognizing devious uses of everyday behaviors. Here's Part II of a catalog of deviousness based on functional fixedness. Available here and by RSS on July 25.
- And on August 1: Strategies of Verbal Abusers
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