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This is a question Workplace Boredom

There's got to be more to your working day than loafing around the internet, says tfi049113. How do you fill those long, empty desperate hours?

(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:18)
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Buzzword Bingo
I was at a conference a few years ago; one that involved a lot of theory and a lot of theoretical bullshit terms. Bored, and wanting to be in the pub instead of listening to the latest epistemological/phenomenological/post-processual waffle, I decided to play buzzword bingo, where you keep a tally of all the pretentious terms that have been used. I kept a tally on the back of my conference proceedings, along with a fine selection of doodles and caricatures. I then went to the pub and got drunk.

Two weeks later, when I was back on my native soil and mysteriously missing my conference notes, I received a package from the rather esteemed conference organiser. It contained a handwritten note saying "Dear Dr CHCB, you forgot these, signed: Rather Esteemed Conference Organiser", and the note was paper-clipped to my conference proceedings, which were prominently covered in my scribblings, cartoons, and a tally of pretentious words prominently entitled "Fucking Wanky Jargon Buzzword Bingo".

I will not be passing the time like that again.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 13:09, 8 replies)
Back in the 80s
I worked in a large building in the City for a big firm of insurance brokers, seven floors, very open plan, helped by the fact that there was a huge atrium in the middle that had escalators going up the sides.

I was office-based, and looking back now, we did very little work - as long as you got the important stuff done, you could pretty much spend the day taking the piss, chatting, smoking and drinking coffee - if anyone pulled you up for slacking, you could say you were waiting for something to come back from typing (no computers then), or waiting for one of the brokers who had to go out to the Lloyd's Building each morning to talk to insurers about the risks we needed to cover to come back.

Now these guys had the best gig going - they'd pop out of the office mid-morning, go into Lloyd's for a while (plus any company offices they needed to go to), but pretty much spent the whole day on the piss, including lunching with the people they needed to see work-wise, so they could expense that.

More often than not, they would come back shit-faced, just as the working day was drawing to a close. Sometimes you wouldn't see them till the next morning. And one had a breakdown mid-afternoon, threw all his work off London Bridge and never came back at all.

Unfortunately I was on holiday the time one of the directors came back and threw up in his waste paper bin.

Oh back to the open plan/atrium bit mentioned at the start - we once bet one of my office-based colleagues to walk around the entire building from 9-5 with a file under his arm to see if anyone would challenge him - no-one did, even though he must have gone round every part of the building several times.

Happy days.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 13:06, Reply)
My job
...consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off, while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble hell.

Lester Burnham
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 13:04, 1 reply)

EDIT: Bordeom????
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 13:02, 1 reply)
I 'worked' 9am to 5.30pm as a database programmer. My days were supposed to be spent filling out forms in triplicate to request a change to a semi-colon. In actuality, I wrote porn and emailed it to my work colleagues. The IT support department were also delighted when the emails keyword flags went "BING!' as it gave them a break from monitoring Internet usage logs. In the evenings we'd all get horrendously drunk and engage in interesting sexual activities to fuel the next chapter of filth.

I then quit and became an academic which is a much harder job than it sounds and has slightly less porn involved, but no one monitors your Internet usage.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 13:01, 1 reply)
The Real World...
In 2004, I was trying to find an academic post that paid enough to attract income tax, but was beginning to lose hope. I got a job with my local council, not knowing whether it'd be a stopgap, or whether it'd turn into something longer-term.

The money was pretty good, and I figured that it would be easy to jump between jobs, getting promoted each time, and find myself earning quite a bit quite quickly. (I have insider information that this is comparatively easy in local government.)

I was taken to an office, which I had to share with one other person. The job was explained to me - but very cursorily. Or maybe not - maybe this was all there was to it.

I spend a couple of days sniffing around, working out how I had to do what needed to be done, and then working out that this would take no more than a couple of hours each day. I was salaried rather than waged, so this ought to have meant that I could just go home. However, for some reason, the council decided that I had to clock on or off, because, clearly, how many hours I spent at the office was much more important to them than whether the job was done. So I had vast chunks of the day to fill.

Fortunately, I also had a council-wide parking permit, and a few sites around the area that I was responsible for overseeing.

Thus I would spend a lot of the day driving around "meeting project managers", "overseeing" and so on. Not usually because I had to - more often it was just to get out. And that was how I spend my day - and your council tax.

All the same, doing nothing to the clock is a horrible thing. I was getting more and more stressed with the thought that I must have missed something important. I hadn't, but for the money, the job seemed ridiculously undemanding. So when, four weeks in, Keele University offered me more work in return for less than 15% of the money, I jumped at the chance and resigned.
"Oh," said the Director of whatever-department-I-was-in. "We thought you'd not be in this post long, but, frankly, we didn't think it'd be this quick. But you've been here a month now. That means you've generated two days' paid leave. I suppose you ought to take that as well."

So I did. I've not worked in the real world since.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:56, 4 replies)
Ode to a suicidal shop floor employee
I wasted 3 solid years of my life at one of Britain's finest retailers (rhymes with Besco) with such mind-numbing tedium that I seriously endangered my health on an almost daily basis.

To say I'm a bit competitive and a slightly narcisstic perfectionist is probably summarised by the fact I've unconsciously spellchecked this post 4 times and will search out this post every day for the next week to see how many replies I've got. My leap of desperation into an environment of move box, open box, fill shelf, go home quickly turned my acts of passing the time into a pedantic bloodsport. While playing against myself relieved the frustration, I soon needed a reckless idiot to occupy my time. Sounds like my love life.

We'll call this fellow idiot John, as that's what his mother did. John was to intelligence and self-respect as sumo wrestlers are to anorexia, and a fantastic little plaything at that.

As filling shelves occupied all of 20 minutes in my 9 hour shift, we soon began destroying our chances of repopulation with such hilarious sports as:

Coffee Grinder: Drink as much coffee as you could in a 15 minute period. First person to lag from tiredness loses. I was determined to average 1 per minute regularly and see my dynamic duo as responsible for the fact the coffee machine in the canteen was always knackered and I had to piss every 30 minutes. This kept us going for a few hours (which utterly flew by), along with fuelling us for:

Frozen Morning Glory: In as little clothing as possible, lock yourself in the industrial fridge with said partner. First one to bail out or die of hypothemia loses. We abandoned this game when the head of the company himself (Sir T. L) was on his once-a-year inspection of the store and was guided into a chiller armed with fish, a very cold author, and a smug skinhead bloke wearing only his boxers.

Thankfully he didn't come to the conclusion we were leeching his organisation's funds, but just giant dogging cockmunchers.

Which leads me onto the best game possible....

Super Mega Shelf Stacker Trolley Skittle Jamboree: 12 idiots. 11 trolleys. One large, abandoned forecourt. Idiots take it in turns to line up skittles in a bowling pin style (occupying inside them for added weight), and enjoy another idiot launching yet another trolley-bound idiot into a group of 10 idiots. Led to lots of bruises and a fractured wrist.

And that's how I continually managed to avoid not only my responsibilities, but also the mental deprivation which would have compelled me to stay on as a manager.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:54, 4 replies)
I can't stand the staff restaurant at my work
So I sit in my car, smoking and listening to the Archers/World at One/The Now Show/whatever else is on the best radio station in Britain.

I think it might've harmed my chances for promotion. Oh well.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:54, Reply)
Sweet release
I work at a desk, in front of a large window, in a tiny taxi office which is rarely frequented by drivers or customers alike.

To relieve the boredom, I like to have a sneaky wank under the desk, keeping as still as possible so neither the passers-by nor the CCTV suspect anything.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:44, Reply)
I don't really get a chance to get too bored in my current job.

That has not always been the case.

My first job after Uni, back in the haylcon days of 1996-2001 was for a well known and not very well respected educational awarding body.

I have never suffered such tedium in my life.

After moving 'up' through the 'ranks' one of my tasks was reading course proposals submitted by all the desperate ex-polys that were trying to attract students by offering weirder and weirder courses and then making recommendations as to whether we should put our name to them.

It didn't take me long before I realised that both the senior verifier (who I made my recommendations to) and his and my boss, who had final sign off, weren't actually doing anything other than taking my word and approving or rejecting courses on sole basis of what I said.

So I started to test the limits, to see what would get through, just to give myself some amusement.

I started saying yes to things that I didn't think would have a hope in hell of being passed if anyone was really paying attention.

And that is how, in 1999, Thames Valley University found itself condemned in The Daily Mail for making a mockery of our educational system when it offered students a HND in 'making curry'

Follow up:

Before posting this, I just googled it to see if I could find the news story.

I couldn't.

Instead, to my surprise, I found a BBC news article from 2005 saying this:

"The shortage of curry chefs is being exacerbated by a lack of training courses in Britain.

Customers are also becoming more sophisticated, demanding higher levels of skills in the kitchen

Being a curry chef is a highly skilled profession and the training can take several years.

But there simply aren't the training courses available to bring on a new generation of curry chefs.

The only large scale training academy is based in London.

The Academy of Asian Culinary Arts at Thames Valley University launched the UK's first curry course in 1999.

The university offers an National Vocational Qualification in Asian Culinary Arts.

Over the last five years the academy has been producing chefs skilled in the art of preparing a tantalising tikka or the perfect pasanda."

OK, so apart from misremembering the type of qualification I approved, it looks like I inadvertently did our nation of curry eaters a favour.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:40, 12 replies)
Office chair rugby anyone?
Think 'Murderball' just with pastier guys, who are much more unfit, using a squashy 'gilette' ball.

It also requires most of the directors to be out of the office (apart from S who is a legend and occasionally referees).

Matches are limited to 2-a-side due to space limitations apart from one memorable time when we put a boardroom table on its side and held a 7-a-side grudge match. Unsurprisingly this was on a Friday afternoon and was in fairness more productive than anything else we would've done.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:39, Reply)
I spend all day emailing the lass who sits six feet away from me. What would take 10 minutes to say to her face, takes all day to do via email.

We spend all day gossiping about colleagues and discussing our sex lives (and how they might invove each other)
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:39, 5 replies)
My strategy this morning...
Faced with a backlog of work stretching back to October and an end-of-week deadling, I did what any right thinking person would do.

I went into town and spent money.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:39, 4 replies)
I've had lots of boring jobs
I was once a lollypop lady during a time when it was raining very hard, all day, every day.
Hardly any kids walked to school during that time because they obviously didn't want to get soaked.
I basically spent my time standing by a road, in the rain, doing nothing for four weeks.

The only thing I could think of to do was to see how fast I could spin my stick around without dropping it.

Imagine a girl wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket, spinning a giant lolly in the rain by the side of the road.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:33, 2 replies)
oh sweet shuddering fuck
I put Bordeom into Google for something to do instead of stare at my cup of tea

edit: Bordeom gets 11,500 hits Boredom 11,700,000
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:31, Reply)
try to work out
if i have a wank at work
if that counts as sex..

does that make me a prostitute?
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:30, Reply)
My sister
Spends the day working on answers to previous QOTWs.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:29, Reply)
Amazingly we're all not just office monkeys.
Some of us have to work when we start our shifts and only get on the internet when we are at home etc.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:27, 3 replies)
Sandwich Joy
The formula:

1 - Work out exactly how much you earn, per second (this should pass a depressing 15 minutes or so, and look like work, with spreadsheets and stuff).

2 - Purchase a sandwich.

3 - Consume said sandwich at your desk in such a period of time that your post-tax income in the sandwich-consumption period was exactly the same as the cost of the sandwich.

4 - Free sandwich!

5 - Repeat.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:25, 10 replies)
there is making the tea, wandering to each department and reading the daily newspapers, making another round of tea, the internet, tea, lunchtime!, coffee, internet, coffee, tea, internet, home

edit: Hurrah the d is back where it belongs!
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:24, 3 replies)
I'll put something more meaningful here later.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:23, 1 reply)
At my work experience when I were younger...
Those tedious hours were spent inflating latex gloves and banging hammers on desks and tables to annoy the office staff.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:23, 1 reply)
Singing softly under your breath.
If someone else starts singing the same song without realising you've influenced them, you win!
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:23, 4 replies)
innapropriate comments to other employees
*Im in a hot meeting room trying to pay attention to a presentation*

“so I worked with IBM for 3 years then I spent a bit of time with ‘Rank Hovis McDougal’”

“he sounds like a Scottish paedophile”
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:22, 3 replies)
I am listening to
student radio from Delaware: www.wvud.org/listen_online.htm

instead of working.

So not at all bored at the moment.

(This plug for my friends radio show was also my attempt to get first post, back with something real later)

edit: 5th, oh well.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:22, Reply)
Bored Bored
I tend to fill those long hours by smoking, drinking lots of coke, reading Beta, emailing friends and nipping of to the toilet for the occasional 5 knuckle shuffle. Oh and if I'm really bored I do some work.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:22, Reply)
In the pub at lunchtime most days
and on the phone to BT for the rest of it!

But b3ta is always in the background for when I do get a minute.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:22, 2 replies)
LOL second

(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:21, Reply)
I just read B3ta all day
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:20, 2 replies)

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