Financial jobs may often be lucrative — but some of them could make you seem boring and even incompetent to the people around you, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, asked more than 500 people across five different experiments about the careers and hobbies they considered the most "boring" — and what characteristics they associated with people who did those jobs. The study was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin earlier this month.
Finance was overwhelmingly tagged as the world's most boring industry, with finance-associated positions occupying four of the top five slots on the "most boring" list. The people occupying those "boring" jobs were also not seen as competent, according to the report, which surprised at least one of the study's authors.
"I would have thought that accountants would be seen as boring, but effective and the perfect person to do a good job on your tax return," Wijnand Van Tilburg, a study co-author and senior lecturer in the university's psychology department, said in a statement last week.
Tilburg said that stereotypically "boring people" are generally disliked, and often avoided by the people around them — largely due to unfair preconceived notions.
Your perceptions of people can certainly change over time, but folks dubbed as "boring" don't often get a chance to prove the stereotypes wrong, Tilburg said. "The very fact that people choose to avoid them can lead to social ostracization and increase loneliness, leading to a really negative impact on their lives," he said.
Tilburg said he launched the study to explore stigmas around boredom, and how it can impact the way humans perceive each other: "The irony is studying boredom is actually very interesting and has many real-life impacts."
Here are the results of the study, including top-five lists for most boring jobs, most exciting jobs and most boring hobbies:
- Data analysis
- Tax/insurance work
- Performing arts
- Health professional
- Watching television
- Observing animals
Some of those "boring" jobs do tend to pay more than some of the "most exciting" ones. According to compensation software and data company Payscale, the average salary for a data analyst is around $62,754 per year. That's approximately $10,000 per year more than the average salary of someone in performing arts — roughly $52,522, according to Glassdoor.
And while "sleeping" ranked as the single most boring hobby anyone could have, getting regular amounts of high-quality sleep is essential to your productivity, health and mental sharpness, according to research.