Tap. Tap. Tap. As the end of your pen repeatedly hits the surface of your desk, your eyes begin to shut and your head slowly draws closer to your chest. The second hand of the clock on the wall creeps forward at a snail’s pace, each second seemingly separated by an ocean of monotonous, wasted time.
All of a sudden, your phone vibrates as you receive a notification. You’re once again present, but no less engaged in the task at hand. The spreadsheets on your computer screen are open, demanding to be worked on, but you simply can’t seem to get anything done. The numbers on your monitor seem to blur together in a formless, colorless and wholly incomprehensible mess, as you desperately try to finish your work before the clock strikes five.
For many, the scene we just described is no more than an average day at the office. Mind-inundating menial labor punctuated by uncomfortable interactions with insufferable superiors, performed in a space more blank and featureless than the inside of a padded room is the order of the day for many white-collar workers.
Believe it or not, there are actually things that can rival this type of menial office work. There are positions, uncommon though they may be, that are so mindless and mundane that workers filling them often cannot even stay awake while performing their duties. Sometimes the worst consequence of this is reduced productivity; in other positions, it can result in death. Let’s look at a few of these jobs, shall we?
What makes a job boring?
No matter what field you work in, how much you make in a year or where you live, there’s a good chance you’ve complained that your job is “boring” at one point or another. This may have been the case at the time, but we want to raise a question; what makes a job “boring”, in the most universal sense of the word?
For a job to be boring, it needs to lack things that make it interesting. It can’t present you with any significant challenge, nor can it be particularly varied in terms of day-to-day tasks. Additionally, for a job to truly be boring, you need to lack passion, either for the work itself or for the company you do the work for. Now that we’ve established these criteria, what are some truly boring jobs? Let’s find out!
In theory, this one doesn’t seem so bad at face value. The wages are good, and you get to drive a massive machine pulling thousands of tons of cargo, passengers or both. Once you dig a little deeper, however, you’ll quickly find that things aren’t exactly all fun and games when you work as a train engineman.
In order to see why, one must only for a moment consider the fact that the actual job of being an engineman consists of very little besides waiting for the train to reach its destination. From time to time you’ll adjust the speed and direction of the train, but the vast majority of an engineman’s job is to sit by and do nothing.
As a result of this monotony, many enginemen fall prey to exhaustion and boredom. Unfortunately, this inattention can result in tragic loss of life for their passengers or bystanders along or on the tracks. And, although regulatory bodies have done their best to improve safety as much as possible, the problem persists to this day.
Textile factory worker
Unless you live in a nudist colony, chances are clothes are a pretty central part of your life. Which clothes you wear determine who you present yourself as, how you perceive yourself, and how other people perceive you. They are, for all intents and purposes, one of the most important things in life somehow.
For those who make your clothes, however, things are a lot less eventful. Working in a textile factory is hard, thankless work, and it’s most often done by underpaid, overworked and sometimes underaged workers. Things are monotonous, hot and often dangerous, as workers are pressured to crank out as many units as possible in as short a period as possible.
No matter what country you live in, chances are you’ve benefited from the hard work of a truck driver. As they truck across the country in their eighteen-wheeled big rigs, they provide a vital service to the people of the country or countries they work in. Bringing food, goods and merchandise to any and all, they serve as the capillaries and arteries of any developed nation’s transportation infrastructure.
The job of driving a truck, however, isn’t nearly as glamorous as this would make it seem. It’s an exhausting, thankless job, marked by long periods of monotony punctuated by cities that you can’t stop and explore. To make things even worse, trucking companies often pressure their employees to work excessively long hours, leading to exhaustion, mental health issues and even traffic accident deaths.
Here’s one you might not have seen coming: technical writer! If you’ve ever read instructions, put together a piece of IKEA furniture or perused the manual of a digital camera, you’ve benefited from the work of a technical writer. Anywhere instructions need to be detailed, a product needs to be explained or a complex concept needs to be understood, a technical writer will happily take the task to task.
Well… happily might not be the best way to put it. While there are certainly technical writers who enjoy their work, most take the job as an intermediate step towards better paying or more prestigious work. Technical writers often put dozens of pages to paper each day, forced to write thousands of words in one of the most dry and emotionless contexts in existence.
Night shift security guard
Security guards get a pretty bad deal. Not only do they get paid barely more than minimum wage, they’re also relentlessly panned by people who think that making fun of security guards is the pinnacle of comedy. What’s more, they often have to deal with unpleasant confrontations involving people who hold them in very low regard.
Those that get the shortest end of the stick, however, are night security guards. Not only do they have the blank, monotonous task of having to patrol the property of whatever company they work for, they also have to put up with an entirely different set of uncomfortable and unpleasant interactions with would-be evil-doers.
While it’s true that these jobs are often monotonous and unpleasant, we want to make it one hundred percent clear that nothing in this article is intended as a slight to those who work in these fields. Everyone has to put bread on the table somehow, and standing between your loved ones and hunger by doing a job that you don’t enjoy is a noble thing indeed.
If you work in one of these fields and feel that you could be doing more, we’d encourage you to start taking small steps towards a better career. Whether this means enrolling in night school or simply developing your skills on your own, there’s a good chance that you’ve got some unutilized potential that you aren’t taking full advantage of; we encourage you to take advantage of it!