Modern industry, through progressive automation of tasks, has created numerous highly specialized, repetitive job situations which lead to a feeling of boredom in the worker. Workers who formerly actively participated in tasks have come to act as mere observers or checkers. Boredom sets in and sensory acuity is reduced, attention wanders, with serious consequences for efficiency. Employees who experience boredom frequently exhibit low morale.
Many people without regular jobs may also be bored, including the retired, the aged, teenagers, slum dwellers, the unemployed, and students. Boredom in the military is a particular problem and has lead to use of narcotics; thus presenting, among those who operate nuclear weapon systems, missiles, planes, and computers, the possibility of an accident under narcotic influence.
The word "boredom" dates from the 19th century. The state of being bored was defined only when society developed a fascination with the individual. Self-preoccupation is an essential for boredom. (This is why teenagers seem so bored: to be a teenager is to be absorbed in a fog of self-involvement.) Having been named, boredom ceased to be a personal failing for which we were responsible and became something inflicted upon us. We became victims of boredom.
Individuals and societies take ever greater risks to dispel boredom becoming the greatest threat to survival. Feeding the insatiable appetite to deal with boredom coupled with telling ourselves that disaster will never happen to us leads the individual to putting off visits to a doctor when obvious treatment is required, to not wearing seat belts or to taking greater chances. It leads societies to take greater risks, as did the Jews of Germany, the Americans in Vietnam, and the Europeans and Americans in World War I.
Showing that one is bored is a claim of superiority, a sign of one's refined sensibilities.