The Art Of Boredom

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If you were someone close to me, you would know that I have been very bored at my corporate job. Extremely bored. I was getting to a point where I was starting to think about what I was going to do next. Leave my job? That just wasn't terribly practical, since I have a mortgage now, and do actually enjoy many of the benefits of "Corporation X".

Some of the benefits were a good salary (taking into consideration workload + effort = salary), decent benefits (healthcare, 401K, and free perks) and reputation (working here for 13 years - I know a shitload of people, know the internal system better than most people, and just have a hard-working reputation with many department employees and heads of departments).

It's hard for me to just walk away from that.

But it's also hard for me to work just anywhere. As a child I was diagnosed in 1977 with hyperactivity. At the time, doctors didn't call it "Attention Deficit Disorder", or ADD. They just told my parents to keep me off sugar and also suggested a new drug called "Ritalin".

My parents knew of another child on Ritalin, and they didn't like what it did to him. It made him like a zombie. They knew I could be a bit out of control, but used discipline, love and patience instead of turning to drugs to "fix" me.

I was never fixed, I still had to live with this my whole life and I did figure out a few tricks to make my life easier.

One trick I learned, was in high school, when I studied a subject that I didn't like.

In classes that I enjoyed (literature, history, social sciences)- I always got "A's" and "B+'s". I wasn't just passionate about the subject, I would immerse myself in it. I would find that my intense curiousity, coupled with desire to learn would just make everything easy.

In classes that I dreaded (math, physics) I would just fail. I would grow bored and sketch in my notebook for 45 minutes. Stare out the window. Do ANYTHING to occupy my mind with something interesting. It was like pulling teeth to sit in these classes. I would squirm in my chair, and daydream.

I soon learned that if I broke up studying for a subject - 30 minutes studying, then 15 minutes of "breaks" (like bouncing a ball off a wall), I was able to beat my concentration issues and focus on the subject at hand. I found that I could trick my brain - keeping my interest fresh in the subject by just breaking up a 2 hour study period into a 3 hour period, with four 15 minute breaks.

Life today isn't much different for me, when working in corporate life.

If I am at Corporation X and working on something I enjoy - i'm on fire. I also do very well when I have a job that has many, many tasks, with me constantly engaged. I'm much better working on a variety of jobs, and I excelled when I worked in the technical support department, because everytime i'd pick up the phone I had a different task to troubleshoot. It kept me fresh and interested, but the downside was that I hated getting angry customers on the phone. I eventually hated that job, only because by the end of the day I would be drained of all energy. I was happy to leave that department and try something new.

I worked in various departments, learning new things. But, like my personality...I would grow bored if it wasn't something that I felt was interesting and challenging.

The department that i'm in now was a good fit for me, it presented itself in an odd way - the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of the company, at the time, asked me to transfer in to the department, because they needed a boost from someone that had my background. I was flattered and excited to contribute. Things were good...but I think my growth got derailed a bit. The COO left the company. Her plan for me was in her head, i'm sure, and a new COO was never replaced! They just had department heads reporting to a CEO, instead of a COO.

I languished a bit, and even got into some management reponsibility. I quickly realized that management was really hard if you weren't a great "people person". I'm not great at that. I'm more like a military guy - do what I say, get the job done. It works with some people, but other people felt I was abrasive. I was removed from doing that after about a year, which I had mixed feelings on. Part of me wanted to be in a leadership role, but another part just was happy to be left alone and troubleshoot by myself.

Ok, so why am I writing all this?

Looks like another change in my life. Starting on Monday i'm switching roles, moving to the downtown Network Operations Center (NOC), and my life is taking another direction for the better. I worked in the uptown NOC before, and know a lot of the people i'm working with. The work I will be doing is more technical, but also very varied, which is something that my hyperactive head needs. They suggested that I would need to start up with getting my CCNA (which I did start to study for just before I switched to my current department).

It's a big move. I think it is also a good opportunity, with exposure to a lot of technical development, which is good for my value to Corporation X - and not to mention my resume if I were ever to leave. Also at our Corporation, people don't move around so much, lots of people just sit in the same department for years and years - and become a dinosaur. They know what they know, but don't learn new things and don't enhance their self worth. I feel like this will be something that will make me even more well rounded and also jumpstart my interest in coming to work again.

One cool thing is that my new office is its near Christopher Street. My commute each day will be walking to the PATH (which is like 5 minutes), taking it from Hoboken to Christopher Street (1 stop - 7 minutes), and walking 5 minutes to the office on West Street. I'm very, very excited about that alone - since my current commute takes from 45 minutes to an hour to get uptown (Hoboken to 34th and then the subway uptown).

I'm excited for the change, looking forward to something different. This may also affect the blog a bit, since my updates might be not as frequent - it was always easier to pen my thoughts when I was sitting bored at work.

1 Comment

You have described the life of a successful ADD personality very well. Not being afflicted with it myself I'm always fascinated by the behavior and coping skills of a multitasker. I'm glad you're applying yourself so well to mastering the pitfalls and skimming to the good stuff. I hope your new job turns out to be all that you hope -- and that you'll find time to blog more than you think.

Gives me some ideas on how to go about teaching you to cook, too!

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on August 10, 2007 12:23 AM.

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