Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


When you interview for a job, they tell you it's going to be exciting.

Companies, though, are venal entities.

If you get on their wrong side, they can frustrate you, sideline you and squeeze the will from your pores.

Of course, you don't actually need to get on their wrong side for this to happen.

Still, Frédéric Desnard says his former employer really did try to bore him into quitting.

As the Telegraph reports, Frenchman Desnard is demanding 360,000 Euros (roughly $420,000) in compensation after Interparfum -- the perfume company for which he worked -- allegedly turned his life into a Groundhog Day of stinking monotony for four whole years.

He says his managerial role was whipped away from him. Instead, he was given things to do all day that he would normally have sniffed at.

Among the side-effects on Desnard of this allegedly mind-numbing management were, his lawyers say, "epilepsy, ulcers, sleep problems and serious depression."

Interparfum says it smells something ratlike in these accusations.

It claims Desnard first insisted he was suffering from burnout and, when that didn't work, he tried the opposite.

Bosses do, though, have various ways of sending "messages" to staff. 

It wouldn't be unheard of for a boss to decide that inflicting boredom is the finest way to get rid of an employee you no longer want.

The purpose, of course, is financial as well as cruel.

You simply hope doing it this way won't cost you anything -- other than a little internal dignity, perhaps.

This seems mightily short-sighted.

How will that person's fellow-workers feel? They will surely see what's being perpetrated. They will see someone being marginalized, treated like a cipher.

They will surely wonder if, one day, this might happen to them.

And how long before the marginalized employee says something or does something -- such as ranting, raving or, yes, quitting (which Desnard ultimately did) and suing?

Some might be too frightened, especially if they think they're might not get a better job elsewhere.

One of Interparfum's lawyers claimed of Desnard: "If he actually had nothing to do over these years, why didn't he mention it?"

Could it be because he knew what was happening and why it was happening? Or could it be because he was actually happy taking the money for precious little effort, until even he couldn't take the boredom anymore?

There's clearly more to this tale than has so far emerged.

One wonders, however, whether Desnard might have had an annual performance review. Would he have been told he was performing wonderfully?

Or was the whole charade avoided?

The seriousness of this case is demonstrated by the fact that the French press have given the alleged crime an English name: the bore out

This is not to be confused with the Borat -- a fine actor who now rather bores people. (Did you see The Brothers Grimsby? Oh.)

Of course there are many companies that bore people out of their jobs without necessarily wanting to get rid of them.

Some managers simply don't care enough about their employees to realize how they're making them feel.

But if a tribunal can be persuaded that a company deliberately made an employee's life boring, what a delicious prospect.

Can you imagine how many times a day a French millennial might go up to their bosses and say: "If you don't stop boring me, I'll sue you"?