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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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Cardboard entertainment centre.
During the summer of last year, I went back to my old place of employment to earn money to pay the following year's university fees. Three of the guys on my team managed to make a cardboard entertainment center out of all the disused boxes we had scattered about. This comprised of:

tv set
ps2 controllers
sky plus box
remote control

They even made different pictures to stick on the tv so they could change the channel.

Fun times.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 18:10, 1 reply)
Work Games
I work in a supermarket which can,if i'm brutally honest,be mind-numbingly fucking dull.However there are ways to alleviate the tedium,my favourite being this.
This game can be played alone,but is better with an audience and has but two simple requirements.
1)An aisle busy with customers.
2)A gut full of beer farts (we have found that stella produces the most noxious odour).
Simply stroll down the aisle as though busy with your work,whilst secretly releasing as many trouser coughs as possible.They must be inaudible above the ambient noise or you will be rumbled.At the end of the aisle about turn and watch with barely disguised glee as the customers first begin to catch scent of your air crimes and then start looking accusingly at each other,unaware of the real culprit.
We've been doing this for as long as i can remember and it never ceases to brighten up the day.
So the next time you catch whiff of something foul in your local supermarket,look out for a smirking member of staff not too far away,they are the guilty party.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 17:57, 7 replies)
Petrol Station Boredom
I work in a petrol station, which during the day is stupidly busy and you don't actually get a chance to get off your seat. However, after about 9pm the place quietens down considerably, and inevitable boredom sits in.
So to aleviate it, various stuff we have come up with include:

Having to activate the pumps using your elbow/nose (which is suprisingly difficult on a touchscreen).

Inserting a predetermined word into the conversation. You lose if you break into a smile.

Attempting to sell the customer a product they don't have, such as butter when they have bought bread. Bonus points if they do buy it.

Singing along to the radio very loudly. Bonus points if the customers join in.

Woo, *pop*
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 17:07, 3 replies)
Throw the rubber (or eraser if you prefer)
My colleague Mark and I (names not changed to protect the innocent) have developed a game involving the launching of a pencil eraser at each other's desks. Not just any old part of the desk though, at each other's glasses of water.

This started out completely by accident when I requested the use of his eraser and he (without really looking) lobbed it about 10 feet and it landed directly in my full pint glass without touching the rim.

This has since developed (and we have moved desks) so that we have a divider between us thus rendering the target invisible. Standing for a look at the target is allowed, but throwing has to be done from a seated position.

If the rubber goes in, you have to down the water to get it out.

It's currently 4:1 in his favour (I think)

Good times
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 17:06, 1 reply)
I like to go the extra mile for the customer.
Not because I want to be helpful. But because I want to waste an extra 5 or 10 minutes with a pointless conversation or looking for stock I know probably isn't there.

I'm so zany.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 16:40, 1 reply)
I wasn't going to tell this story
But I just read a post about leaving work to go bowling and then on another day to see 'Borat'.

I can beat that.

When I worked at the not very well respected awarding body, I got so bored one afternoon that I just got up, left the office, walked into Soho and spent two hours in 'Sunset Strip'

Yes, it's a strip joint. I was single at the time, so I had no one to explain myself to.

I went back to the office just before 5 and, apart from the girl who sat opposite me (who I am still good friends with) who said 'what? been to the pub?', no one ever mentioned that I had been gone for three hours.

God, those were the days.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 15:58, Reply)
I do not work in a bar.
I am currently a lazy student type, and so spend a lot of time in pubs. However, if you do work in a pub, here's one for you.

Our local is a nice wee place, if a little boring. Most of the time there's less than 10 folk in there, and sometimes boredom can reach wrist slashing proportions. Something had to be done. That something, ladies and gentlemen, was Juke Box Buckaroo.

Despite being a miner's welfare in a tiny rural village, the club is well maintained and, surprisingly, has a fantastic juke box. It's connected to the web, and has an amazing range of weird and wonderful songs with others only a few requests away. The regulars, all of them silver haired, argue and deride each other for their choices, some like the Shadows, others hate Dire Straits in favour of teh Quo. Sometimes they become so mouth-frothingly enraged at a song that their eyes bulge.

Enter a small band of trusty saboteurs and let the game begin.

The rules are simple and can be tailored to any pub. Simply try to sneak the most outrageous, rotten or misplaced tune under the radar of the locals. If anyone notices and complains, you lose, but bonus points are scored if someone else gets the blame. If the song sneaks past unnoticed it's a win. There really is a huge amount of enjoyment in seeing a band of half pissed old guys arguing about horse racing while MC hammer croons in the background.

Some epic wins have included The Prodigy-Charly (during an old folks tea dance at the break), Rolf Harris, and one hilarious moment where I sat sniggering as 6 old dears danced around the snooker table to Priestess - Lay Down, saying "Oooh that's that Guns 'n' Roses".

Epic fails include The Pogues (in a pub in a big Rangers supporting area, bit risky *thumbs nose at bigots*) and one occasion where my mate played a 3 tune Rolf Harris medley. The complaints began halfway throuh "The Court of King Caractacus", continued through "Jake The Peg" and reached a crescendo as "Big Dog" began, but halfway through the song there was a power cut. Imagine our glee as the power came back on and the jukebox replayed all three songs.

They love us really.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 15:14, 7 replies)
Many moons ago, between finishing my A-levels and heading off to uni, I was fortunate enough to get a job in Blockbusters. This wasn't any old Blockbusters but in fact one of six flagship stores based in Sainsbury's stores across the country.

Because we were based in Sainsbury's this meant that we opened at a far earlier time than most Blockbuster stores do - 8 o'clock each morning. Now most people tend to want to watch movies in the evening and indeed this was when we most busiest. Before seven in the evening we'd barely serve a soul, before midday we would rarely even see a soul. Cue many, many hours spent in the staff room eating popcorn, listening to the radio, reading the papers and keeping an eye on the security camera in case a stray customer came in.

Of course if the manager was around during the day then we would actually have to do some work (the bastard!). He, however, left after three months (maybe it was the stress of the job?) and they couldn't replace him.

After a further nine months of doing largely no work and deservedly getting a pittance for it I moved to Oxford to go to uni. I managed to transfer to the Cowley Road store. Cue three years of actually having to work (the bastards!), deal with students (could people be more unpleasant?) and spend my time trying to stop the crack addicts from stealing our ice-cream (a losing battle).
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 14:36, 6 replies)
Why is it.....
At quiet periods at work if I whip out a gossip magazine and start reading, the boss doesn't mind too much but if I get a book out and start reading then he hits the roof.

Ask me anything you want to know about a celebrity....go on .....anything.

Ninja spelling fix
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 12:34, 7 replies)
"Yes boss, I didnt do the work"
I'm sorry too, and I wont let it happen again but you have to understand that there were videos of kittens on the internet. Fluffy, fluffy, kittens!
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 11:53, 4 replies)
toasty pea methinks - sorry
first posted on Pointless Experiments Sun 27th Jul 2008

Improvised flamethrower.

I fear this may be a little toff popic, although I’m quite sure any rational bloke would insist when it comes to desirable gadgets an improvised flamethrower is right up there with a Jessica Alba Android and TeleportationTrousers, therefore not technically a pointless experiment. However, whilst pyrotechnical experimentation should always be nurtured in the young and reckless, the choice of firing range in this instance may be at best filed as ill advised.

Many moons ago I worked for a fairly rubbish ‘New Media’ company with a lot of bored, disillusioned staff. Jinks were always high. We had a set of steak knives in the kitchen, not sure why but they were perfectly balanced for my burgeoning knife-throwing act – until that is the semi-psychotic boss (same bloated buffoon as in my ‘Only 14 Hours to Bristol’ post) raged into the studio during an all staff meeting demanding to know who had been using his office door for 'bloody knife throwing practice'. Cue blank looks all round. I did find it indicative of our work ethic that he immediately (and rightly) assumed knife throwing had occurred. Other experiments included creeping up behind people on the phone and liberally wrapping parcel tape round their head – securing the phone to their noggin (this works best when they are also resting their chin on their free hand so you can cocoon that too) thus ensuring they must continue an (albeit muffled) conversation with Mr Self Important Client Tosser. Other japes involved cutting the corners off large boxes then arranging the boxes as crumple zones for stunt man ‘death’ leaps from filing cabinets. Using the wet & dry vac to hoover up peoples coffee from their mugs in one greedy slurrrrp always got a response too - usually ‘for fucks sake Spimf, fuck off will you, you fucking idiot’. Shooting out the bulbs on the desk lamps across the room with an air pistol tended to unsettle/enrage the occupant of the workstation a fair bit as well. So you get the picture – a committed and focused bunch of highly trained imbeciles.

One particularly slow day I spotted some large heavy-duty cardboard tubes lying innocently, yet temptingly in a quiet corner. Like any right minded person I immediately thought: Hmmm… Big Arnie-style RPG launcher! I chose a fine sturdy tube about 4 foot long with a plastic end cap then selected a slightly thinner tube that would fit inside. A great big wodge of bog roll was taped around one end to make a sung and effective plunger for my makeshift munitions. Initially, this was simply ‘plunged’ to make the plastic end cap fly off with a satisfyingly low frequency ‘THHHONK’. Put simply i had fashioned the worlds biggest pop gun.

Soon my bodged bazooka sprouted a shoulder strap, side handle, plunger grip and nicely weighted cardboard ‘RPG’. Menacingly, I strutted around the studio attempting to shoot large things off high shelves and generally breaking stuff. With it's Kappa board fins and conical nose my ‘RPG’ flew surprisingly well. Boredom however, is a relentless staggering zombie that never lags far behind dear Spimfy. It was then I spotted the lighter fluid we used to clean Spraymount off stuff. I think I may have heard a small internal ‘ping’ as a little light bulb fluoresced in my head. A fist sized ball of bog roll was given a liberal soaking, lit to a near invisible Sambuca style blue flame by a willing assistant then rammed down the barrel with a broom handle, the plastic end cap was then popped on to provide a bit of back pressure. Clearly the restricted amount of air inside would only last so long, so launch had to be hasty. This however meant aim was a secondary consideration. I plunged the fucker with aplomb.

Fuck. Me.

It would be no exaggeration to say ‘a fucking great big fireball’ streaked from the end of my cardboard contraption with quite spectacular results. The pressure combined with a sudden rush of nice oxygen rich air produced angry red and yellow flames. It made a fantastic roaring noise as it soared across the studio trailing acrid black smoke and a deep thud as it slammed into the window recess resulting in an even bigger ball of flames. HOORAY! Everyone whooped and cheered - the few sensible ones (developers mainly) standing well back, shaking their heads and muttering about inadequate fire exits. The flames rapidly subsided to a little smouldering clump of blackened bog roll - the hilarity waned in harmony. Then, quite unexpectedly... Whoosh! The fabric window blinds went up in flames – big style, eagerly assisted by the dust and cobwebs around the ancient window frame (did I mention our office was a converted mill in a World Heritage site? Probably best not to). Dust and cobwebs and dead spiders burn like a motherfucker by the way, which I discovered while trying to ‘clean’ my garage with a blowtorch once.

In a blind panic I belted across the room and (with some difficulty) yanked the burning blinds down and proceeded to stamp on them with some considerable urgency. This had an immediate effect; being that it set fire to my shoes. I can honestly say the spectacle of me rain dancing with flaming feet did seem to lift the mood for a while.

A couple of days later the (increasingly psychotic) boss was eyeing the scorched, melted patch of fuzzy office flooring and looking for answers. Blank faces again. Good job he didn’t turn round to see the hastily installed non-matching window blinds stolen from another department.

length? fully extended about 5 foot mate.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 8:47, 1 reply)
Porn!!!! (knew that would get attention).
Way back when I worked with a guy who spent all hours of the day watching porn on his mobile......an ingeniuos way of wasting man hours you would think.

Except this was when mobiles were new....stick man porn, never could get into it, the graphics would have been better if he had just drawn a flicker-book......or bought some porn.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 8:11, 3 replies)
Work boredom/coursework crossover

Whilst scraping through an art/illustration foundation course (I was that lazy) and working at a news agents with a photocopier, i killed some birds with some stones.

I had a piece of coursework about everyday objects due the next day, so I planned to complete it after my late shift at work by drinking some cold booze, listening to music and sketching out whatever happened to be near by, however I was hit by a tiny bit of inspiration (and massive boredom) and came up with the following when I was still at work

Take 5 Kinder Eggs (this is the approved amount to guarantee you get at least 2 toys (or surprises) that you have to piece together yourself, instead of your toy (surprise) being a ready made crocodile on a surfboard/ shark on rollerblades/ monkey reading Razzle etc. that Kinder seem so intent on disappointing the kids with).

1.)Lay out all the bits of the toy in the photocopier and print.

2.)Lay out the build instructions in the photocopier and print.

3.)Build toy, put in the photocopier and print.

4.)Repeat with other toys.

I then turned these prints into beautifully inked technical diagrams with long winded assembly instructions (Highlighters and nonsense chat).

The result was adoration from lecturers (?)

Anyway, if you work somewhere with a photocopier, and have access to Kinder Eggs near where you work, you can fuck about for hours with it. Why not make cards for your loved ones? Or create a comic using the toys you have released from their plastic yellow prisons? Let your imagination take you places you've never dared venture.

The best feeling is pulling apart your egg and finding a robot to build. yumsk.

If you do find yourself bored enough to give it a bash, please send me the pics, my studies have finished, but in some ways you can never stop learning.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 4:19, Reply)
You may not pass!
Lots of file-filled boxes + boredom = this.
They were originally stacked up all the way around our office, with only a tiny gap to get in. Then we made them into a "great wall"...



That was built right in front of the lifts too! People coming up got a shock.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 4:00, 5 replies)
Whistle while you work?
I find that no matter where you are, preferrably a public place though I do it at work with mates now and then. The concept is to whistle the quality street tune (Perry Como - Magic Moments) and wait. I guarantee someone will whistle the same tune after you. Record is six people in the space of a 45 minute bus journey. If they just whistle it doesnt count, has to be the same tune!
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 3:53, 6 replies)
The Helm Game
This lil game I've encountered isn't necessairly just for the workplace, it can be played just about anywhere where there's plenty of unsuspecting people (my personal preference is in train stations). This game is best played with 2 or more people, and if the place you are playing in is particularly crowded then the further away you are from each other the better. Now the objective of the game is to say 'helm' or 'helmet' in a very specific funny voice (sort of like trying to say the word while simulataneously taking in a sharp breath) starting out quiet (barely audible) and increasing steadily in volume each time, now there are 2 conditions (1 or the other) to winning or losing this game, either making someone outside the group burst out laughing (you win), or if someone outside the group tells you to shut up (you lose).

The inventor of this game is my best mate's younger brother, who played it with a mate of his during his year 9 SATS exam, the result being he and his accomplice were thrown out of said exam, but to his credit he and his mate did get pretty loud before they were busted by the invigilators and no doubt gave the other students some half-decent entertainment at the same time.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 2:22, 5 replies)
Since I'm the boss.....
....I'm usually quite busy and interested. However, lately I've been laying off my workers, one by one. Watching them cry when they get the bad news - it's getting old.

(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 1:46, Reply)
My boss has no sense of humour
I got an official verbal warning for 'unprofessional behviour and putting lives at risk' ...for switching the 'N' and 'M' keys around on his keyboard so he couldn't log into his PC in the morning :P causing IT support to laugh at him.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 1:18, 5 replies)
Exam Invigilating
Possibly one of the most boring jobs there is. You're stuck in a room for three hours with 200 stressed kids who aren't allowed to talk. You can't read a book or text people because you're supposed to be watching the kids. There's nothing to do but stare out at a sea of downcast faces and hope that someone wants to borrow a rule to break up the hideous monotony.


Introducing: INVIGILATION PACMAN! [for 4+ players, requires grid-style exam room]

One teacher is Pacman. He must get from point A to point B in the room - variations include going via other points, having to pick up various objects on the way etc.

The other teachers are the ghosts. They have to 'capture' [surround or block movement of] Pacman.

You can only follow the grid-layout of the room. AND, you can only walk at a very sedate, quiet pace, keeping a straight face throughout. You have until the next child puts up a hand to ask something to catch Pacman!


Exam-Room Bingo!
[requires scrap paper, grid-style exam room or numbered seats]

Set up some criteria before the kids come in. For example: 'forgot a pen' 'brought whole stationery shop' 'first to cry' 'first to finish' 'won't even write his name' etc. etc. etc.

When the exam room is settled, all but one teacher will take their seats at the front of the room and note down the seat number of the child they bet will fulfil each of these roles.

The remaining teacher [who doesn't know the criteria] will pace up and down, noting down the seat number of anyone who catches their eye. When they pass the front desk, they hand their numbers to the contestants.

First to match all their numbers wins!

This game is good for post-exam gossip. i.e: "did you see the pus-factory in G7?" "i had to get the drama-queen in H15 another box of tissues, for fuck's sake!" and so on.

Remember kids: your teachers respect and care about you. yes.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 0:45, 2 replies)
I'm a journo.
'I'm working from home today.'

That is all.
(, Sat 10 Jan 2009, 0:45, 4 replies)
Dead pool...
I work for a certain large british broadcasting corporation. In the News dept, we have a rather fantastic (if a little crashy) online video storage/editing/archiving system

On it are stored all the days news, plus any archive stuff that may be used/needed in a hurry.

This includes obituaries.

So whenever someone looks a bit iffy in the mortality dept, the obit tape is hauled out, bought up to date and put online (except the Queens. Thats in a big fuck off locked safe).

So when bored, its quite entertaining to check out whos gone onto the system (kylie has been popping up a lot recently), and whos been updated.

Amy Crackhouse hasnt been off the system in the past year, and is updated almost daily :-)
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 23:19, 6 replies)
Has anyone mentioned
Danger wanking yet?

I want to get danger wanking nominated as an Olympic sport as well. Does anyone know anyone at the IOC?
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 23:14, 2 replies)
Would you like to play a game?
This one cropped up earlier on in the month, and I feel it needs to be taken off my chest before I get shrouded in legal bills.

In light of the current economic climate (read: end of the world), my delightful current employer has realised it might not be possible to fly sales people half way round the world for a failed computer deal, and have gone about promoting this new Windows Live Meeting (think MSN Messenger for people too far up their own arse to admit to using MSN Messenger) bundle they paid a pretty penny for in order to 'integrate with the external market through volatile conditions and the excessive need to avoid adverse costs'. This took the entire board of directors a 4 day meeting at a 5 star hotel's conference hall to decide, but that's another story of hypocrisy for a different day. In the meantime, here's how myself and my colleagues skived off for a bit...

The sales department have a student, much like myself, manning this new MSN shindig to talk to customers at will should they wish to ask questions. Customers can log onto the server, choose a name etc and then ask about new products and promotions.

Unfortunately, said student was stupid enough to give us the login details, and we so spent the afternoons logged on as the lusty [email protected] before replacing this ficticious character with LiveSupport_HAL, who would intervene at random moments with 'Technical Error 404: I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave' whenever the conversation got a bit raunchy. Did I mention my department is full of nerds?

Why did I need to get this off my chest? Is it because I'm gay, underqualified and emotionally fragile? Well, we eventually told Dave the Student what was going on, and he now knows when we're playing him so he can tell us kindly to 'reallocate your bullshit to the nearest waste disposal facility, cockmuncher'.

Who was I to know that the head of purchasing at our main partner was called Steven Connor and would cause a bit of a PR fiasco next time S.Connor popped online to ask about our mainframes?
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 22:48, 2 replies)
I work in a cinema etc etc. My work trousers don't have pockets, thus my breasts are used to store everything, which provides me with endless entertainment.
My phone is pushed between them, giving me a pleasant vibrating surprise whenever I get a text through (this also gives me an excuse to go to the stock room and have a cheeky feel while I get it out).
A pot of Vaseline is down there (no, taking it out is not a "proposition") and my glasses get tucked down there too.
Also good when you get cold, get a packet of hotdog buns from the bread warmer, and put them down there. It's a bit obvious though, you can't see the other things, but the buns are quite big.
So, if you've ever been in a cinema in Cardiff and seen a shifty looking girl rumaging in her boobs, hello!
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 22:19, 6 replies)
This happened earlier today...
...And whilst it's not technically about how I solve my boredom, I am involved in it a lot. It's also about how me and a few friends solved another friends boredom whilst he was at work.

I happen to be friends with a lot of postmen. I'm a dirty university student at the moment, so we tend to not see each other much until the holidays. And even then, due to my dirty studentness, by the time I'm just getting into the swing of things, they're heading off to bed, i.e. 9 pm.

However, the rare times that we're all together and I'm compos mentis and not half asleep, we have a lot of fun. Like today.

I got Gears of War 2 for Christmas. For those who don't know, it's a fun, exciting, highly violent game. There is a particular weapon in it called a Lancer, which is essentially an assault rifle, with a chainsaw attached to it. So not only can you shoot enemies, but when someone gets close to you, you can slice them in half or whatever particular amount of chunks you care to. All my friends have this game as well, and for the last few weeks, we've been playing it in our spare time a lot.

So, today dawns, and I get woken up earlier than I usually like, by my mate, who I shall call A, texting me. He's bored at work, and has to deliver a load of door to doors, i.e. junkmail. So I text him back to keep him amused, and concoct a plan with my other mates, C and N, who are off work because they booked time off. They agree to my plan, and I text A asking him where he is and if he wants a hand doing the door to doors (Technically illegal as I don't work for the posties, but nobody really cares if you get extra people helping you as long as none of the customers complain.)

A texts me back with his location, and my plan is sprung into action. I meet up with C and N, and together, the three of us descend on poor, helpless A.

The next scene is a very surreal scene for anyone watching.

Imagine, if you will, that you are a dogwalker out in the morning. You see the postman trudging around the local estate, looking bored out of his skull. The next thing you see is a car full of young men pull up, park, and all of them dive out of the car, run up to the postie and then huddle around him, all the while screeching out stuff such as "EAT SHIT AND DIE!" "GODDAMN SON OF A BITCH!" and other such pleasantries, interspersed with making chainsaw revving noises and pretending to chainsaw the postman. And then everyone stops, and starts laughing like madmen.

I think we livened up his boring work day by pretending to be a three man Delta Squad and trying to chainsaw him all at once. Good times.
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 21:35, 1 reply)
King Procrastinator
I could tell you tales of Facebook, B3ta and eBay but instead I shall pass on the stories of the time before cool jobs with unblocked internet access...

Working in a call centre. The most soul-destroying activity one can undertake. And one which inspires the cultivation of certain time-wasting hobbies.

My favourites included: hacking* into the company intranet and changing friends' About Me pages for funzies.

*cashing in on the fact that most people left their password the same as their username...

Sellotaping peoples' headsets on while they are on a call. One friend lost his eyelashes AND eyebrows to my ninja-like taping reflexes.

Bringing back outdated slang words and using them on the phone. 'The new Nokia? Oh yes, sir, it's a wizard phone, very swish.'

Creating giant spiders' webs of sellotape and affixing every item on someone's desk to it when they go for a cigarette break.

Swivel Chair Water Cooler Bowling. It's all in the name, really.

Random phrase generator. Pick a partner, write a phrase on a post it and swap when you each pick up a call. The phrase MUST be included before terminating the call. If the caller picks up on the rogue phrase, you lose. Hence delivering lines with confidence is key. 'Ok sir, I'll transfer you to the Automated Badger technical help team, they'll assist you in setting up your voicemail.'

There are more. I'll post them next time I'm at work...
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 20:32, 1 reply)
God Bless Water Meters....
I used to work for a large company supplying drinking water in the London area. I was a full time permanent employee, contracted for 37 hours a week.
The shortest week that I managed was an hour and a quarter. I went in for 15 minutes a day to check my e-mails & show my face then went home - I spent longer driving than I did at work.
What about my spare time, I hear you ask. Well I'm currently sitting in my big extension that was mostly built during working hours. (As was the extension at my last house).

And they paid me a $hit load of money when I took voluntary redundancy....
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 20:30, 1 reply)
Work in an office?
Got a computer in front of you?


Right, then.

The machine in front of you is the second most complex, sophisticated and fascinating machine you'll ever use (the first being your own genitals). Computers (like your genitals) are tools for the creation of rather impressive things.

All too often, people expect other people to "work" with computers. This is a silly way of looking at what computers can do; computers are supposed to be our slaves, not our taskmasters. The idea is that they do the boring shit, and we think about stuff and make things that require creative thought.

If your job involves anything that you have to do over and over again, you can automate it and let the computer do your work for you.

Copying sets of numbers from one application to another? Figure out the tab stops and keyboard shortcuts (use the tab key to move between buttons, and space to press those buttons - use the mouse as little as you can, the keyboard is always faster), write them down in sequence, and write a little program to do your work for you.

The above link will tell you all about AutoHotKey, a program (and accompanying simple programming language) for sending keystrokes and clicks to Windows. Over, and over, and over again, until you tell it to stop. The language it uses is really, really simple and easy to understand.

Even if you've never written a program or script before, just give it a go - even if you're computer illiterate, it's a lot easier than you think, I promise. And the worst that can happen is that you'll have wasted an hour on a very interesting if futile activity, and maybe learned something new.

Before too long, after you've realised just what a piece of piss it is, you'll be scripting like mad. You'll have 90% of your work automated, leaving you to do what humans can do but computers can't.

Thinking, and creating.

...now, if you think you were bored before, you're going to be really fucking bored now. You've set up your computer to do most of your work for you. Which is, y'know, what computers are supposed to do anyway, but it kinda leaves you with seven to eight hours each day with nothing to do.

So you turn up to work, you engage in soul-crushing boredom for a good proportion of your life, and waste hours of your best years that you're never, ever going to get back. Unlike money, you can't make more time.

Now, a quick shift in perspective is what's needed; your company is paying you to escape their evil clutches. They're giving you a computer, a salary, and enforcing eight hours a day where you'll be in the presence of this computer with nothing to do but use your imagination. They're practically pushing you out of the door.

Let's come back to what I said before about your computer (and your genitals). Sophisticated, powerful machine to make creation easier. Now, you're stuck in one place all day with a machine in front of you that can do anything, really anything you can think of except think and create. Your company is, bizarrely enough, paying you to be there.

This machine, and the money you're being paid, can help you to be whatever you want to be. You can be an artist, a novelist, a poet, a programmer, a songwriter, a businessman, or all of the above.

I bought some web space and a reseller account, and set up a little web hosting company. Within a little while, it was earning me some nice extra beer tokens each month. I did it all in work, using programs I ran from my flash drive. In between, I was writing some short fiction and posting it around here and there, soliciting donations from readers. It doesn't make much money, but it's something I enjoy and my company is paying me to do it, so why the hell not?

The most frightening part about being self-employed is quitting your day job. The security offered by consistent pay is very cushy, very safe, very comfortable. But if you've got a computer that's doing your work for you and nothing to do, and your company is paying you to be there, then you don't have to quit your day job. Your company is financing your start-up costs.

At least set up something to earn some extra money for you by doing something you enjoy. Preferably something where you do the work once, and then get paid forever.

Some suggestions:

Using your newfound scripting skills, write a nifty little freeware program that does something useful, and submit it to free software websites. Ask for donations from people who like the program.

Make a website. Learn a little bit of HTML and CSS, and use Geeklog or WordPress if you want a blog. Just jump right in, this is the sort of thing that you can learn as you go along. Put something on this website - whatever you want. Put up some ads, and earn some extra pennies. You can even do this in the office without Internet access, just use XAMP on your Flash drive.

Write a story. Again, post it for free on the Internet and ask for donations (you'll actually get paid more doing it this way than with getting published - the publishing industry is a fucking joke these days).

Write a game. This is what I ended up doing, and it's full of foetid midget brothels. /shameless self-promotion

If you don't want or need to make money, make something. Even if it's something internal, like knowledge or strength or self-knowing - change something from being in one state to being in another state, but make it something that will still matter to you after you go home. You can learn literally anything, research any topic you want, using Google and Wikipedia.

Did you know that the kangaroo's reproductive process is akin to a human woman having a baby one month into the pregnancy and then carrying the foetus around in her handbag for eight months? I should probably mention that this handbag has nipples in it. Thanks, Wikipedia. Ever heard of a guy called Nikola Tesla? Look him up in Wikipedia, he invented the 20th Century and his story is fucking fascinating. Look up Pykrete while you're there, too. Floating battleships made of ice and sawdust? Yes please!

Get a pair of these (don't pay that much, though), take them into work and give them a squeeze when you're contemplating what to do next. Give yourself forearms like Popeye.

Talk to other people who are bored at work, whether they're in your office or on the other side of the world. Talk to as many people as you can. Make friends.

If you really can't think of anything to do, think about why you're in this job, how you got here, why you're bored. Sit and think, really have a good proper think, about what you want and how to get it. Imagine what would make a perfect life, and what would make you and those around you happiest, and work backwards from there. Be totally and completely honest with yourself - figure out what you're good at, what you need to become good at, what's good about life and what's bad, and how to fix the bad shit.

But for fuck's sake, do something. Start something, change something, make something better. You, with the help of that frankly fucking amazing machine in front of you, can do whatever you want.

Don't be bored.

Fuck me, that was a long post. And I only wrote it 'cause I was bored.

EDIT: And another thing!

I really, honestly, can't recommend this enough. It's a free program that helps you keep track of all your projects and where you're up to with them.

The general principle is that before you can do anything, you've got to do something else. If something's big and daunting, the idea is to split it up into little bits, and split those little bits up into littler bits, and do them one little bit at a time. It helps you to answer the big question of "Where the fuck do I start," and that's not just for projects either, it's for sorting your life out in general.
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 20:14, 14 replies)
Used to work for Electronic Boutique in Swansea years back
Only for a few months. Easy as hell job interview ("You know games, which platform?" "All of them." "You can start Monday." "Oh, ok then.").
This awesome interviewing technique did lead to a few drawbacks, ie employing real numpties. One guy called Big Mike just stood there and smiled while wearing this big wax jacket, the big scary weirdo. He was only working there a few weeks and seemed to happily accept some other job and hand in his notice.
On the last day we got his wax jacket while he wasn't looking and wroteon the back of it, using electric security tags "HI IM MIKE" in big fuck off letters. The annoying glue on the stickers mixed and stuck firm on the worn jacket, and we replaced his jacket on the coat stand out the back and waited. We also planted one on his rucksack, clearly in view as to deflect suspicion.
He finished his shift early, saying goodbye to everyone. We held our breath....he didn't notice the tags. His coat was slung straight on, "HI IM MIKE" fully on display for everyone bar Mike himself to see. He walks through the security pillars and sets them off.......he looks at his rucksack and says "Oh guys!" while peeling that tag off. Yes, victory! He walks out into the much security pillared shopping centre with a spring in his stride and about 100 alarm tags stuck to his back. Mong :)
(, Fri 9 Jan 2009, 19:58, Reply)

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