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?
Dictionary.com 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!