Bored to death?

I’ve always believed it important to find a job you love or at least consisting of activity you’d like to do 8 hours a day. Here’s another reason why:

People who complain of “high levels” of boredom in their lives are at double the risk of dying from from heart disease or a stroke than those who find life entertaining, researchers at University College London found.

Of more than 7,000 civil servants who were monitored over 25 years, those who said they were bored were nearly 40 per cent more likely to have died by the end of the study than those who did not.

Of cours there may be some confounding variables in this finding. Intelligence for one. The researchers seem to link it bored people being more likely to turn to excessive smoking and drinking.

3 Responses to “Bored to death?”

  1. Peter Patton Says:


    One of the most chilling things I have ever heard was somebody talking about the prospect of not going to work. They didn’t mean being unemployed, either. “I’d die of boredom if I didn’t work”. My response was “you poor sap”.

    In the early days of my career, I took jobs that involved face-time of 60 to 100 hour weeks. I thought this somehow meant I was ‘successful’. Anyway, not long after our first kid was born, I tore a cartlidge – the medial meniscus – so was off work for quite a while. Fortunately, the baby was weaned, and we had lots of help – family and paid – so I was pretty much a man of leisure, except if that leisure required mobility. 🙂

    The whole experience was a real eye-opener, I quit my job, and did an MBA. One of the electives was one of those real ‘touchy feely’ ones that 25 year olds sneer at. It was the most valuable course I have ever taken. It was all about finding out what makes you tick, and relating it to work.

    I – almost – seriously think it should be against the law to work more than 60 hours a week for an employer. If it is your own business and passion, go for it 24/7 for all I care. But working 60 hours a week making somebody else’s fortune is sad.

  2. Legal Eagle Says:

    Yes, it’s awful to work in a job which bores you. The most miserable I’ve been in a job was when I was an articled clerk and no one had any work for me to do. I felt like a fraud – here I was being paid, and there was nothing for me to do except sit in my office. It was totally dispiriting. Apart from that, I’ve seldom been bored in a job, even when there are mindless tasks involved. I suspect I can find interest in most things.

    I’d agree with Peter though that when you have kids your perspective totally changes. When I had my kids, work was no longer the focus of my life. Before that I was totally driven and a bit of a workaholic. Now I work to keep my family going as much as anything. Fortunately I also enjoy what I do, which does make it easier.

  3. Ken N Says:

    Peter, few people working more than 60 hours – whoever they work for – do it unless it’s satisfying. Or they want to stay away from someone at home.
    And boredom means different things. Some with a short attention span would say they are bored after working on something for ten minutes.

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