I told my boss yesterday that I was bored.  I am tired of teaching the classes I am teaching.  I need a challenge.  And then today I got to thinking about boredom.  What is it?  Is it necessarily bad?  And is boredom really what is ailing me? defines boredom as

“the state of being bored; tedium; ennui”

but that isn’t very helpful.  At least I don’t think so.

So I checked wikipedia, which says:

Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and not interested in their surroundings.”

That seems a little closer to what I am experiencing.  I don’t have to think a lot about my classes; I just design a few new activities from time to time and then let the students work on the computer software the rest of the time.  I answer questions and help with problems as they arise.

So I decided to read on.  Under the heading of Psychology, wikipedia goes on to say:

In positive psychology, boredom is described as a response to a moderate challenge for which the subject has more than enough skill.

Now that is more like it.  I am bored at work because it isn’t fully utilizing my skills and abilities.  I was doing OK with that until I read:

Although boredom is often viewed as a trivial and mild irritant, proneness to boredom has been linked to a very diverse range of possible psychological, physical, educational, and social problems.

So maybe I am not so enamored of wikipedia’s Boredom page after all!

But I am still not sure if I think boredom is a bad thing or not.  It seems like it might be, and it surely feels like it on many occasions, but is it?  It seems to me that when I am bored, I am often led to start a new project.  This is especially true at work.  I want to develop more classes, work the kinks out of them, and then turn them over to someone else.

Oh, that sounded very egotistical!

I think I am suffering from boredom.  I have always hated to sit around with nothing to do.  I thrive on a challenge.  Now I just have to find a way out of it, to come up with a new challenge in my life.  Anyone who knows me would be fairly certain that I have about plenty of challenges in my life right now, but obviously I need another one — maybe one I can do something about for a change!


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