Laugh Your Way Through a Boring Job

Last Updated Aug 12, 2009 2:55 PM EDT

Most of us have taken a mind-numbing job to pay the bills. Mine was washing dishes by hand at a restaurant. Yours might have been back-room filing, cleaning bathrooms or mixing the secret sauce down at the local chicken shack.

It's dirty, dispiriting, demoralizing work that somebody has to do, and at one point in your life that someone was you. Maybe you have tasks today that bring back those feelings.

Steven DeMaio tackles the issue in his Harvard Business Publishing post, How to Make the Best of the Worst Job. His solution:

"The ways to cope with dehumanizing work are many, but I think one trumps them all: turning the misery itself into a source of joy."
For DeMaio, that meant creating a game with his colleagues around his job of copying death certificates.You'll have to read his post to see how fun death can be.

So how did you get through back then, or today?

  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.