“This news should not taste good for employers: more than one in three German millennials want to change their employer within the next two years at the latest” (source Horizont.de). Studies on this topic are also currently being discussed in the well-known TV channels. Depending on the study, every 3rd or 5th employee has already resigned internally and would like to change soon. I found these figures alarming and looked more closely at the background of the studies. Also, the leading career magazines and blogs seem to have understood this trend and I notice for some time that I find more and more articles in my newsfeeds like: If you cancel, how do I prepare a termination, dismissal, how I tell the boss and much more.

The diagnosis: Boredom in the job

The studies point to boredom in the job as a cause. So we are not talking about burnout or overwork, but about boredom. According to Slaghuis, boredom in the job can have several reasons:

  • Permanently nothing to do
  • Monotony of activities
  • Intellectual under-demand
  • Senselessness of work

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Was ist ihrer Meinung nach der häufigste Grund?

Most of the studies point in the same direction. But where does this actually come from? Slaghius continued: “Boreout initially seemed to be a systemic problem. The public service was seen as the nucleus of boredom in the job. This is also wonderfully in keeping with the image of the lazy and slow official. It is now clear that this is by no means just a matter for the authorities. Even in large corporations there is yawning boredom in some offices”.

The reasons given are sentences such as: “Jobs must be filled”, “The boss does it himself”, “seasonal business”, “overqualification”, “little room for manoeuvre” and many more.

Boreout? The sweet doing nothing

“Bore-out arises from too few or wrong tasks, often in administrative or service jobs, in which work is rationalized away or done by software. After the merger of companies, tasks are eliminated, customers break away in order slumps, elsewhere teams are structured too large. It mainly affects civil servants, the financial industry, office jobs: “Maurers cannot pretend that they are working.” (Source Mirror).

What is the reality?

With this statement in my luggage, I set out and talked to some of my friends from the consulting as well as contacts in corporations. Frighteningly, I was confronted with similar statements. Often it was the too little room for manoeuvre in corporations or in consulting the phase in which no project was available or the project was filled with a non-“value-adding” task due to the residual budget. In this way, current specialists are looking for filling and meaningful tasks. I admit that my questioning unfolds on my circle of acquaintances and is certainly not complete. However, even this small sample shows a big wave of “boredom in the job”. But no one wanted to talk about Boreout. I also think that this goes a little too far, but the common tenor is: “Work should be meaningful and exciting”.

“I can’t do anything”

Slaghuis has cited many reasons for boredom in the job or Boreout. In my sample, however, the case was true: there was no room for manoeuvre. So Slaghuis: “I can’t do anything” I hear from many corporate bored people. They have no freedom in the form of decision-making and room for manoeuvre in the job. Today, every employer wants independent thinking and acting employees – at least that’s the fine writing on the career pages.”

The harsh reality, however, is different. Employees are often “100% foreign-determined and trapped in work instructions, daily voting rounds, meticulously defined processes, and IT-supported, rigid workflows” (Slaghuis).


What do you think? Do these studies and are our jobs so boring or are these statements exaggerated and the expectations of skilled workers too high? Not only have I found negative examples, but I generally find such studies as a “wink with the fence post” that we should question. Since I myself come from the consulting, I would like to end by pointing out a satire article in business punk: because of sweet inaction, Boreout in everyday work. Here the author reports on Boreout in the case of a management consultancy. The column is primarily very entertaining, but also reflects some experiences of my interlocutors.

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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