boring job

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Go to the comments because I really want to read your answers to this question from Johan:

I work at the Swedish equivalent to UK’s Royal Mail. As a terminal worker at one of the biggest post terminals in the country my job is really boring and sometimes stressful. I sort packages big and small and unload lorries filled to the brim with packages, but it is allowed to have headphones at work and your podcast keeps me from dying of boredom.

So answer me this: what is the most boring job you have had?

That is a GOOD question, Johan. Now, as a freelancer with a very messy career path, I’ve had a LOT of jobs – so many that I can only remember about 30% of them. Which is probably for the best.

I’ve had jobs that plunged me into greater despair and discomfort, but for pure brain-chewing boringness, I nominate the job I once had compiling the index for a book about the Queen’s stamp collection. It was not only dullllllllll, but fiendish – I had to make sure there were different entries for, say, King George V the person and King George V the stamp, subdivided by country…Oh god, sorry; merely typing that sentence reopened the vortex of tedium, and this time YOU’RE ALL COMING DOWN WITH ME.

UPDATE: a giant thread on this topic has erupted on our Facebook page.

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10 Responses to “boring job”

  1. Berry Kercheval (@Berry_k) Says:

    The most boring job I ever had was delivering phone books, back when there were still phone books. Only I wasn’t the one driving all over handing them out, I was one of the guys stuck in the truck, giving bundles of them to the folks who WERE driving all over.

    The first day was pretty hectic, but after that everyone but me was let go, and I stayed in the truck to hand out books to the folks filling in for people who got missed. This happened a dozen times the second day, and once or twice a day for the rest of the week. Luckily I was paid by the hour, not by the book. I made a nest of phone books in the back and spent most of the time reading.

  2. Amy Says:

    I think the most boring job I have had – of which I have had MANY – was making sandwiches back in college. Every weekend I would get into the factory, put on my little shoe booties and hair net, walk over to a conveyor belt and stand there for 10 hours; with Queen on repeat. If you were lucky you got to spread the butter because that involved the most movement. The best part of the belt was the packing end but I got kicked off that for my lack of hand-eye co-ordination. A lot of mushy tomatoes and questionable bacon ended up on the floor.
    The most exiting thing that came out of that job was the realisation that a pack of sandwiches if actually two haves of two different sandwiches. Chew on that!
    Oh, and never make sandwiches after a two day bender because no-one wants to stop the belt so you can go and throw up, in a sanitized area, for the 5th time that day.
    I still can’t listen to Queen, or wear hair nets for fun; but my favourite food still to this day is the mighty sandwich.

  3. David Newell Says:

    I worked as a lifeguard at a swimming pool. What’s so dull about that? Well it was in a brand new, very expensive, private members gym and the pool was in the wine cellar (no wine) with no windows. The pool was 8 metres long and about one metre deep and used mostly for sitting – to the extent that it had a purpose build underwater shelf for sitting on. Not only that, because the club was brand new, there were hardly any members – ever. My job was to sit and look at water just in case.

  4. Toby Says:

    Possibly not the most boring, but the most insufferable (apart from the turkey slaughterhouse) was in a dairy.
    I had to fish notes to the milkman out of the tops of empty milk bottles as they passed by on a conveyor belt. Not just mind-numbingly dull, but done in a all-in-one white suit with white wellies and a hair-net; the noise was hellish (thousands of bottles bashing together over the noise of the machinery), the temperature was near freezing, there was broken glass and water all over the floor and the air stunk of weeks’ old milk. A real assault of all the senses.

  5. Ben Says:

    While I was training to be a stunt performer (a little more of an exciting and interesting job) I had numerous awful jobs. The most boring was when I was employed to just feed documents into a shredder. The company had worked out it was cheaper to pay a numpty to do it by hand than pay for another company to destroy them.

  6. Dan Says:

    I had a job for a few summers at a winery owned by a *well known celebrity*. Besides routine morning grunt work, the majority of my job was to stand around outside and politely ask people not to picnic or put their feet in the fountain. This was a job because the famous owner “doesn’t like signs”. I had a full-time job a piece of wood could do.

  7. as per eush (@eush) Says:

    One summer I volunteered to work at a marine park which also had a tiny zoo attached. One of my tasks was to watch these two monkeys in a cage for two hours and note what they were doing each minute — which part of the cage they were in, if they were eating or not, etc. Each. minute. for two. whole. hours.

    It did get interesting when the male monkey started, er, stimulating itself, and I had to figure out how to write it down on the log.

  8. annamhernandez Says:

    I had a temp job at an architectural firm in West London for about a month. For reasons still unknown to me, architects would write their emails in Word Documents and print them off. They would then call me and ask me to come and pick up the print out from their desk. I’d then go back to my desk, open Outlook and rewrite their email and send it to whoever it was meant for. Besides being the most mind numbingly boring job I’ve ever had, I was basically just doubling the opportunity for human error. I expect a few buildings to come tumbling down in the next few years.
    I never got a real answer as to why this tedious and ridiculous series of events needed to take place and left after a month when I found the receptionist rifling through my handbag. Good times!

  9. annamhernandez Says:

    I had a temp job at an architectural firm in West London for about a month. For reasons still unknown to me, architects would write their emails in Word Documents and print them off. They would then call me and ask me to come and pick up the print out from their desk. I’d then go back to my desk, open Outlook and rewrite their email and send it to whoever it was meant for. Besides being the most mind numbingly boring job I’ve ever had, I was basically just doubling the opportunity for human error. I expect a few buildings to come tumbling down in the next few years.
    I never got a real answer as to why this tedious and ridiculous series of events needed to take place and left after a month when I found the receptionist rifling through my handbag. Good times!

  10. Lyn Says:

    When I was a student, I had a couple of boring jobs. One was chopping the stems off celery to create ‘celery hearts’. The place stank of celery and I cannot for the life of me understand why it is considered food. Another was for a publishing company, cutting out sections from ‘Who’s Who’ and sticking them on top of another ‘Who’s Who’. I can’t remember why. I discovered filter coffee at that job and had the jitters for weeks before I realised 6 cups a day was a bad idea.

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