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This is a question Workplace Boredom

There's got to be more to your working day than loafing around the internet, says tfi049113. How do you fill those long, empty desperate hours?

(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 12:18)
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This question is now closed.

Puppy
In November 2007 I left my former employers "by mutual consent".

"Mutual" on their part, obviously.

Since then, I've been freelancing.

In early October last year, we got a new puppy.

In late October, we moved next door but one to Blenheim Palace (okay, the palace itself is half a mile away, but the gate into the park is only 100 yards or so away, and the wall is at the end of our garden).

So, instead of working/touting for work, a lot of my time is spent taking this little bundle of fun for walks around Blenheim Park:

www.flickr.com/photos/capo/3173777288/

Best waste of time ever :o)
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 19:17, 5 replies)
... so, if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?
Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh heh - and, uh, after that I just sorta space out for about an hour. I just stare at my desk; but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch, too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care. It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime; so where's the motivation?
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 19:15, 7 replies)
sad
this is what me and the bloke beside me made to mark the border between his desk space and mine:



edit: I've realised that this photo doesn't show the full architectural splendour of the bridge, but take my word for it that Brunel would have shat his pants in awe.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:59, 12 replies)
Biscuits
Remembered this incident today:

I worked for a company, about 17 years ago, that stored its biscuits / tea / coffee in a safe within one of the offices - this was because we obviously couldn't be trusted and they thought that the biscuits would go missing if they weren't locked away. Biscuits did go missing if someone happened to pass by a meeting room that had been lain out for customers. So yes, they were correct to be suspicious.

The chief culprit, Mr A, who had a very sweet tooth, was renown for his ability to consume ten jam filled doughnuts within the space of fifteen minutes.

The week prior to the Company Director (Captain S) going on holiday there was a sudden surge of biscuit eating. So we decided it would be `humorous' to fake a ridiculous letter to Mr A, containing an imperious rant about how such theft of biscuits could be viewed as a serious disciplinary action and was upsetting the customers, etc. This letter was timed to arrive on the Monday of the Captain's first week away...

Not surprisingly, Mr A was fuming about the pettiness of it all when it arrived and stormed off to see his immediate boss ... and then the whole thing escalated out of control. Nobody in management was quite certain whether the letter was real or not. They couldn't contact Captain S and spent the next few days having long meetings about it, meetings containing most of the company managers, and meetings that took precedence over actual work. Then there was the inquisition afterwards to find out who'd written it - which didn't seem `humorous' at all.

So, next time you're tempted to have an illicit biscuit, just remember that you could bring down the entire company...
.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:51, Reply)
I actually do the work I'm supposed to, in an efficient manner.
Crazy stuff, I know.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:45, 5 replies)
Modelling
We have built a model of our work colleague, who is on holiday. It has a body made from an empty water bottle taken from a water cooler machine, a face taken from Lon Chaney's portrayal of a werewolf, two hands, each cut out from outlines of mine made on one A4 sheet of paper, and two feet made in a similar way. The hands are attached to the water bottle sides and the feet are attached to its bottom but protrude from the front. He proudly sits on our colleague's chair, awaiting glorious instruction from our leader.

The resemblance is uncanny, but this new colleague is much quieter than the original. Occasionally, the door is opened and his hands and face rustle in the breeze as the leader talks to him. The leader is pleased: he can complete his instructions without any disobedience. Today, the leader advised our new colleague to shave more often - which he acknowledged using his trademark rustle and waving of hands.

He does not answer the phone, although he has many phone calls. The ladies of the office appear to like him, perhaps because of his quiet ways and impeccable manners, and because he listens, only waving his hands and rustling with gentle laughter at the appropriate time.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:43, 1 reply)
In the days of Windows 3.1
I wrote a version of Spacewar in QBASIC. It was pretty good.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:39, Reply)
among other things
thinking of questions to ask 118, failing to learn expression chips for Gmod, quoting eddie izzard (normally *wmmph* wasabi from sexie), arguing about practically anything, watching films on my psp.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:36, Reply)
Autopilot
my job takes boredom to a new level, as i'm sure anyone who has worked in insurance or data entry or both can testify. theres always plenty to do, but no one feels like doing it. whenever i dont feel like doing any work, i run a macro on my computer that runs through all the screens of our frankly antiquated insurance software for about 20 minutes, thus allowing any gazing manager in the distance the pleasure of a model employee whizzing through some rather tedious work. this leaves time for games such as guess the soup, getting the office mute to speak, forwarding the talking clock or 118 to other people or simply having a light snooze.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:33, Reply)
video editors are sly...
if you have ever worked with a video editor, you will know the interminably long time it takes for an edit to render... right?

Maybe.. maybe not...

An ex-boyfriend of mine used to make a screenshot of the avid screen at 40% or so rendered, and then load it up on the monitor while he sat and surfed the web on another machine.. or if he was feeling confident no-one would touch the computer take a long lunch.

If anyone came in and asked what he was up to he would simply nod at the monitor, and rolling his eyes say "waiting for the bloody render..."
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:25, 1 reply)
I actually love my current job
so I don't find ways to skive. Then again this morning I was greeted by a Rottweiler puppy who was intent on licking every patch of spare skin he could get at and then by a labradoodle who got jealous of the rottie and pushed him out of the way to get cuddles. But I digress...

I once worked for large video rental head office and within two months of working there, convinced my boss to hire my best friend and end her Woolworths hell. We were recent film graduates with big dreams ahead of us, so thought working there would be a good stepping stone into greatness. Not to be, as we shared an office that was about the size of a tesco express with no windows, no net access and racks and racks of shelving along all four walls.

The previous employees had always been agency staff that were keen to stay on there as it was a pretty cushy job, so would take their time over labelling each tape or DVD and stretch the job out over a whole day. The boss assumed that we would do work of the same standard, so would never be on site, preferring instead to be at the main head office.

We quickly worked out that the job was a dead end one with no prospects, but liked the fact that we could rock up around 10am, have as many smoke/ps2/xbox breaks as we liked and always leave on time. There was always the added bonus of the cheese toasty machine located in the corner of the office for snackage purposes.

The main lure and primary reason why I stayed there for longer than I should, was the sheer volume of VHS and DVDs that were placed in alphabetical order upon these mighty shelves. We'd get all the actual work done by midday, have a two hour lunch break and then watch films all afternoon.

All good things must come to an end and we were subsequently made redundant when chip and pin came into force as the vending machines we were supplying weren't able to cope with such advances in technology.

On a side note, we often had home videos returned with our stickers on instead of the original as the system was hardly foolproof. We'd always watch them and see if they'd sent back pr0n. So if anyone out there is missing a very very weird christmas special of a tape labelled 'Holm family video'...mindbleach is still needed.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:24, Reply)
Ignoring the first part of the question a little bit...
It amazes me just how much I can get away with so long as I'm actually tapping at my keyboard and clicking my mouse.

I can spend an entire day wandering about the internet, writing bits, clicking on stuff, even laughing occasionally, and people just assume I'm getting on with my work (and laughing to myself or something).

I've even had people say how busy I must be, the amount of clicking and tapping I'm doing, when the truth is I've spent the whole day doing approximately naff all.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:19, Reply)
Sleep...
I used to work in one of those prefabricated office environments.. plastic people and cheap partition walls. My chair backed up to a partition which connected to the door, and every time someone opened the door the wall would belt me on the back of the head as it shuddered on it's flimsy frame... but I found a way to love that wall.

1. Apply sunglasses to eyes
2. Place pencil in hand and position (tip down) on a pad in front of you.
3. Tip chair subtely back on 2 legs so that head is rested against the partition wall.
4. Go to sleep.

Any time someone came in the room I would be flung forwards as I awoke... and would immediately start furiously writing fractions and other complicated stuff on the pad - thereby appearing far too busy to be interupted!!
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:19, Reply)
My Brother works at the
sex clinic

He occasionally tells people (generally the scummy ones) that they have some sort of disease

waits for reaction

and then protends he's accidentally made a mistake and their okay

He's also made up diseases e.g rustiphallasitis
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 18:12, 2 replies)
Fork it.
When I was younger than I am now, but not as young as I've ever been, my parental home was located on the flats of Lincolnshire, more specifically in a small market town called Spalding, where they make basket balls.

Besides the fictional manufacture of sporting goods, agriculture provided employment for the local inbreeds, the holidaying students and, more recently, the newly settled Polish folk, who are actually willing to work for a living rather than signing on like the natives tend to prefer.

I was employed each summer from the age of early teen to early no-longer-a-teen by one of the larger flower bulb importers and distributors in the region. I spent my early years there unloading lorries, stacking boxes on pallets and heaving heavy nets about the place. I was in need of money, lazy and permanently stoned eager to impress, hard working and conscientious, and I was eventually rewarded by being given the most highly sought after job among the great unwashed: I was allowed to drive the forklift trucks.

Apparently my lack of driving license was negated (as far as insurance is concerned) by a single day spent watching an outdated safety video (RED IS THE COLOUR OF DANGER!) and cocking about for an afternoon, lifting pallets onto other pallets and driving around in circles. I turned up for work the next day with the single best distraction from work I've ever had.

We were a small team, all equally dedicated to avoiding work. We did everything we could to avoid doing anything: we drove to the furthest reaches of the site to smoke; we broke things (accidentally, of course); we had competitions to see who could carry the most precarious loads, who could overload their truck just right so it would balance on the front wheels (no one, ever), who could go on two wheels for the longest by cornering too hard; there was a running score board on who spilt the most bulbs throughout the season; and we had races, grand prix races that took in the whole site and invariably put ourselves and everyone else in more danger than we really appreciated at the time.

Over those summers I mastered the art of evading boredom, and there wasn't an internet in sight... truth is, there probably wasn't much of an internet at all back then, but we didn't need one anyway, we had vehicles that turned with the back wheels, that could spin in little circles and that had two big metal things sticking out the front. We had forklifts and we were ace.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:56, Reply)
Putting the con in conference calls
Having been unnecessarily present in far too many boring conference calls over the years, I and my like minded colleagues can do a few things to pass the time.

-Buzzword bingo, simple but good, bonus points for inventing new words for the meeting, even more points if you find the calls recipient using the words back at you.

-Write something hugely offensive on your notepad and then show it to the person next to you, they win if they don't disturb the call, otherwise it's your game.

-Subtly adjust your accent over the call, to slightly different regions, obviously it's bonus points if you manage to go from a Scottish brogue to a French lilt in just two sentences.

-Inventing extra people in the meeting is a particular favourite of mine, this is kind of an extension of above, but sort of with a back story. This one can go a bit far, like having the calls recipient request one of these fictional people the next time they call.

I'll have to rack my brains for a few more
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:47, 1 reply)
YAY!
Things either myself or colleagues (former or present) have done to alleviate boredom.

Forklift Spinning: a willing victim sits on a wheelie office chair and holds onto the back of a forklift truck. The driver of the truck then locks the steering wheel and floors it. Bets are taken as to how long the victim can hold on for and in which direction they will fly off when they do let go. YAY!

Racking Plummet: a not-inconsiderable amount of empty (but assembled - this is important) boxes are piled together then warehouse monkeys will scale the racking all the way to the top before hurling themselves onto/into the pile of waiting boxes. YAY!

Christmas Bingo: a seasonal game where I email out a Word document for my call centre colleagues and me to cross off when taking calls during December. Check those boxes for:
Patient names of Bell, Snow, Frost and Holly
Caller names of Carol/e, Noel, Holly and Eve
Customer is ordering coloured contact lenses in time for a party
Customer sounds giggly and filled with Christmas spirit
Customer wishes you a Merry/Happy Christmas etc.
Customer asks you if you've done your Christmas shopping
Customers asks you about your plans for New Year's Eve
Customer has festive hold or background music
Customer is singing carols to themselves.
There's also a variation on this with Specsavers or Vision Express where 12 stores at random around the country are selected and the first person to take a call from each store wins. YAY!

Myers, Parker & Stone Surprise: attempt to put a colleague off their call by bellowing one or a combination of the following at them:
Honestly? Who throws a shoe?
Zippit!
Get in mah belleh!
Ah ate a babeh!
If you're gonna spew, spew into this.
Matt Damon!
Timmeh!
Oh, herro!
launching into a rendition of 'I'm So Ronery'
Oh no? I've got Arec Bardwin!
Hey Hans
You little Bitch
Obviously the guys I sit with and I have a small obsession with the films of Mike Myers, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. YAY!

Reading: I lent my copy of Watchmen to one of my colleagues and that kept him out of mischief for two solid days while he read it at his desk. YAY! (Because he wasn't winding me up the whole time for once.)

Funnies: telling crude and/or pathetic jokes to various colleagues. YAY!

Typing: chatting to colleagues on Sametime. YAY!

Teh Interweb: the usual reading BBC, Holy Moly, B3ta, Empire Online, ICHC (and the similar Macro communities on Live Journal), shopping on Play, online banking, playing games on the likes of Game Fools etc. YAY!

Lolcats: making my own lolcats in a desperate attempt to get peer approval on the aforementioned LJ communities. (I'm rather proud of a black & white Shakespeare one I did which is also my current desktop.) YAY!

LinkedIn: this is for the odd occasion when I've finished reading the internet *snerk* so I trawl for my old colleagues and see if anyone's lurking about. YAY!

The Name Game: pick a character from Family Guy and give that name to the customer rather than your own. I tend to go for Lois or Meg. YAY!

Regional Rip-Off: unwittingly imitate the accent of the customer, especially those from NI, ROI, Wales and Scotland. (Actually, I can't help this sometimes, I've no accent to speak of.) YAY!

Email: I have a group of seven friends with whom we spend all day emailing each other. God bless Reply To All. We even named ourselves - Time Wasters Anonymous. One of them also loiters on here too. YAY!

No apologies for length: I'm bored!

Edited because I'm a damned moron.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:39, 2 replies)
Tick Tock Tick Tock
In times of meandering, postulating, meetings (enforced meetings particularly) I run a mental calculation of how much it costs the client to waste our time.

Not an astronomical amount by any degree, but it stops me from chewing my own tongue off in despair, and keeps me mentally active while they (the client) humm and haw about the everyday minutae.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:39, Reply)
Boring insurance
In between laughing at the retards that call me all day i make sure i go for a nice long poop on works time (my dad said you have to eat on your time so its only fair you deposit on works) i email the B3ta question of the week to myself the following week and read that (damn filters) (so hi future me) *waves* trips to the coffee machine and winding up the dotty girl who sits next to me. Did i mention i trawl the BBC website which never has enough stuff on. i sometimes do some work as well.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:38, 1 reply)
Ahh, the good times
I used to be able to access B3TA from work. Facebook was a good one too and occasionally I'd check out hints and tips on how to play my xbox games that little bit better.

But now they have filters.

My day now consists of at least three 30 minute toilet breaks, scouring the BBC news website thoroughly, taking an hour for lunch where I go and sit in the canteen and do nothing and the rest of my time is spent searching the web for a site that isn't blocked.

I now spend more time doing this than I ever have when I was on B3TA and Facebook.

Take that system!

(If anyone can think of an ingenious way for me to get round these controls I would be very grateful; I miss this lovely site when I'm stuck behind my desk)


Length..............
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:12, 9 replies)
Workplace naps
I currently work in an open plan office, no cubicles or privacy, so can no longer do this, however at my former workplace I had perfected the art of the work nap.

The simplest method is to push your chair back from the desk slightly, and drop a pen or pencil by your feet. Then, you bend forward, and rest your head on the makeshift pillow that is your left arm on the desk. Complete the setup by dangling your free right arm towards the ground.

Sleep.

Should someone knock on your office door (you did close it, didn't you?) you ask them to enter while you pick the pen up and straighten. All the interrupter sees is someone retrieving a dropped pen.

Note: Don't hesitate before saying enter, and don't act flustered when they come in, it makes people suspicious. Might not work if you drool a lot in your sleep.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 17:08, Reply)
Oh, and I inflict B3ta thinking on normal people.
I recently horserolled a member of our board who always has the sound on in an open plan office.

He was confused, but it got quite a few laughs
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:55, Reply)
Further to Prince Igor's post
I used to spend quite a lot of time emailing love letters from people's PCs when they were at lunch, to their colleagues.
Always from men to other men for some reason.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:50, 2 replies)
I used to work in a warehouse
Warehouse work is usually mind-numbingly repetitive a lot of the time with the occasional micro-moment of excitement (Usually when one of the forklift truck guys miscalculates where the tines are and then drags out a pallet and then watches as it falls to the ground, nearly crushing the worker assigned to assist the driver. Happens more often than you'd think it would.)

Also, there was no internet. This is important, as it will often encourage people to get creative.

The times when I wasn't actually required to do anything useful, like helping people count out 240 screws of one type and 150 of another type, or throwing myself out of the way of an airborne pallet, I used to either spend wandering around the main warehouse with anyone else I could find who was a mate and who wasn't working, and we used to invent sweary phrases and the like. We also used to tell the worst jokes, like "Got any naked pictures of your girlfriend on your mobile? No? Want any?" and so on.

The other thing we used to do, which was far more fun and yet more risky, as in the sense of getting caught and being ordered to go count out 540 nuts and bolts, was to go into the many storerooms at the back, and see what you could build. There was glue, a lot of different nails, screws, nuts and bolts, washers, and other odds and sods. So you could essentially construct little stick figures and the like out of a lot of nails and some glue and some bolts.

Dull, I know, but this is in a place where there's no internet, and does have some of the most tedious work, so to me and my mates, constructing stuff was a very fun and entertaining way of passing the time.

Never work in a warehouse unless you have some sort of ultra high tolerance to boredom.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:48, 2 replies)
I like to...
...find someone's PC that they've left unlocked and write poetry and e-mail it to the company.

A former colleague, now at a new employer, has STILL not escaped the reputation as a man who loves owls after my epic sonnet.

Sending "prank e-mails" is indeed a low art-form, but finding a rhyme for "strigiform" takes talent.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:47, 1 reply)
coke
My user name used to be a fairly common statement or mine. To the point of doing coke at work. I used to stash it in the toilets, in the ceiling void as my little morning pick me up. And at lunch (never really ate lunch at that time funnily enough), a bit later on for an afternoon pick me up, a couple more before going home (you know, for driving) and at any point in between really.

Added an element of risk to the day which I quite enjoyed for a while.

marvellous stuff. Would do it again A++++
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:47, 1 reply)
I play games with my colleagues
It's really quite amusing people watching around my office. I simply forward the link to a certain b3ta post and retire to study the facial reactions of my colleagues which seem to follow a set pattern:

1) The reader's brow will furrow with piqued curiosity

2) The reader will begin to smirk

3) The reader will register shock and surprise

4) The reader's expression will change to outright disgust.

I never tire of this game, it is guaranteed to lift my day.

The post? Here:
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:32, 4 replies)
I think
I spend upwards of 30% per day working out different ways of looking down HR Girls top. I spend about 25% of the day doing it. I think she's lovely.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:32, 4 replies)
simple
Coffee
Smoke
B3ta
MSN chat

repeat

Failing that work from home and watch day time tv, well top gear on Dave mostly.
(, Thu 8 Jan 2009, 16:27, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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