Recently, I read an interesting article which dealt with a yet to be clinically acknowledged syndrome called “bore-out syndrome”. You might already have heard of it; however, I am sure you’ve heard from its brother - burnout syndrome.
True, in fact, bore-out syndrome is quite the opposite of burnout syndrome but leads to the pretty same consequences: unhappiness at the workplace, frustration, depression, lack of life motivation and the inability to see any sense in what you are doing. Sounds familiar? Well, there aren’t any official numbers but I am pretty positive that most people at least once in their lives have suffered from it. Why would I make such a gloomy assumption? Well, because I believe that, if even, probably 95% of the population which financially and culturally would have the opportunity to do what they would like to do, simply don’t do that, but are trapped in headache-causing, boring jobs they never wanted to do in the first place.
Why is that? I would assume many people choose jobs because they sound like a lot of money. Banker, lawyer, doctor or marketing manager. Others choose jobs they assume to be without too much effort and good conditions (teacher); however, I believe the majority simply never has found out what they want to do or were actively deterred from doing it (don’t become an artist, how will you ever make money with that? Why not study law?). So, fundamentally, with everything I propose, this is a problem stemming from out insufficient school systems which actively prevent children from being individualistic and following their own voice and path. But let this article not be about the flaw-ridden school system (again!), and let’s return to the syndrome known as bore-out. Apparently, people who suffer from it are either not enough challenged in their work or the workload is simply too little. Many will now probably say “Hey, not working and getting paid for it? How great is that?”. Well, it isn’t. I believe people want to create and work - that is what we do. Sitting in front of the telly all day doesn’t make you happy. Additionally, people who are at work often still have to sit down the hours and can’t leave when they’ve finished their day’s work which means hourlong sitting about and watching the clock slowly ticking away precious lifetime. This can lead to a decrease of seeing sense in your lifetime and, therefore, to an all over lack of motivation for not only your work but anything else, which, in the worst case, can lead to depression and isolation.
Even when I was at school, I found the boring subjects much harder to bear than the slightly over-challenging ones. Nothing was worse than knowing you have to sit for two hours straight, listening to the droning voice of a bored high school teacher drivelling on and on about some ungraspable subject. I’d rather sweat in maths class than being bored to death in psychology and philosophy class.
The weird thing is that the occurrence and increase of bore-out syndrome does not surprise me in the least - rather the opposite. I just wonder how a society can continue with the old-trodden tracks even though most people are clinically feeling ill and most are unhappy with their lives in some aspects - even though we do not lack anything financially or infrastructurally. And let’s not forget all the other ailments accompanying most people’s lives: allergies, gastritis, migraine - in my opinion all ailments caused by too much stress, fears and a general unhappiness with the present situation.
But why are so many people content to move on with what they do even though it gives them so little satisfaction? Well, I am afraid most people don’t even know that there is another way through life - and why would they? School teaches exactly this. There is always something you don’t like but you simply have to accept it, you can never just do what floats your boat, just live with it.
Momentarily I am reading Ken Robinson’s book The Element: How finding your true passion can change everything and it resonates very well with what I have read in the article, only describing the opposite. In his book, Robinson has a collection of stories about people who have found their element and are tremendously happy to be able to live their dreams. I believe, and so do my parents which is why they founded their own Montessori school, that every person has an innate talent or passion which is worth living out and that any individual has this one (sometimes also more than one) element in his life which makes him/her happy and fulfilled. I believe that if anyone were given the opportunity to pursue their innate talents, illnesses like depression, burnout and, for that matter of fact, bore-out, would decrease dramatically, as would crime, physical ailments and general life motivation.
Imagine you have to do a task which neither ignites your interest, nor sparks any sort of passionate feeling day-in, day-out, every day for forty-odd years. For me, this image is hell and I would rather be poor in a great job than rich in a job which doesn’t make me happy (which is why I am a writer). I hope that a better understanding of such syndromes can lead to people realising that the paths we have trodden on for the past decades and centuries need to be reconsidered and that more people find the courage to jump and leave their safe, but unsatisfactory, haven to set on a journey to find something magnificent they would have never dreamed of.
So why don't more people set off and fulfil their dreams? I fear, once again, the answer lies within the early systems of life. At school, failure is stigmatised as the worst thing to happen and once you fail, you never get a chance to improve or try again. Failure is the looming doom which deters people from being creative and original and rather lets them proceed on paths others have already trodden down for them, simply because it is safer and easier to blend in with the rest. Additionally, change or courage is not necessarily considered to be something good in relation to career. If you give up a well-paid job to pursue a career as an artist because it is your inner passion, you are declared a lunatic and most likely everyone in your surroundings will try to talk you out of it. And they don’t do it because they’re assholes, on the contrary. Your parents don’t want you to end up financially insecure or unhappy or whatnot and, in our society, happiness is measured by how much you’ve got, which is why we’re all so unhappy. Doing something secure and supportable is considered more valuable than doing something which makes you happy. And here comes an extra twist. In Robinson’s book, there are people who have been very successful with what they’ve done, just think of J.K. Rowling who has millions of millions of pounds but was told she would never make money writing children’s books. If anyone set out to be an artist for the sake of money, the equation would fail, it wouldn’t work the way you imagined it, and you would be unhappy, too. Money has to be deleted from our minds if it is about finding your passion - and who says you have to do it as a career? Only yesterday my mother told my about my uncle who is a passionate musician and chose to work in the public service (maintenance and cleaning of streets) simply for the reason because it is a job interfering least with his passion. That’s a possibility, too.
But I am digressing...The irony behind all this is that, in my eyes, you fail fatally if you put money over happiness because then you haven’t understood something very fundamental. Failure is only measured by material shortcomings, but it should be measured by whether people are brave and courageous enough to jump and explore until they find something truly grasping or not. So, I’ve set my sails to not fail anymore and look until I find what it is I want to do - and if it will take me a lifetime, and if you feel the above in your job, take a step and leave.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.