Sunday, 11 September 2016

Bore Out

A BBC online article recently asked whether there was such a thing a 'Bore Out'? This was occasioned by a French man suing his former employer for "bore out" - boredom's equivalent of "burnout". He claimed to have been turned into a "professional zombie". Whatever the rights or wrongs of the case - and I don't know (or really care to know) its outcome - I suspect that there is something in it. 

To the question posed by the BBC article, my immediate response was a resounding, 'Yes!' I have worked in academia and parts of it are certainly not mind-expanding. Rather they are totally mind-destroying - the endless admin., the petty problems they students should be able to solve for themselves. It seems endless.

I chose academia because I have something of a 'perpetual student' mentality, while also wanting to share the knowledge and insight I was intent on discovering. That combination I would describe as that of a typical teacher/lecturer. Or, at least, what I used to be that of a typical teacher/lecturer in the past. Now I have colleagues who are just going through the motions; just doing it for the money. Wanting not too much hassle, they ensure that not too many students fail - even though the standard of those students is not necessarily very good. The exchanges one has with students - which, in the past, were essential to the enjoyment of working in academia - are no longer stimulating. Instead, they have become banal and mundane; largely about what has to be remembered in order to pass an exam. These exchanges are rarely about the subjects I have spent over 40 years studying and pondering over. Were it not for the fact I am still fascinated by my subject - the more so given that I have more time now that I work only part-time - I may well have gone the way of the intellectual zombies I see on campus.