n. Physical or emotional exhaustion and feelings of depression or disillusionment caused by being underemployed at work.
Mike might be suffering from "boreout," a condition coined by Philippe Rothlin and Peter Werder, two Swiss business consultants who recently wrote a book on work-related boredom. In a society where a person's job often defines an important part of his or her identity, they say that someone who isn't challenged at work can soon feel worthless and frustrated.

Their book, "Boreout: Overcoming Workplace Demotivation," was a bestseller in Europe last year and will appear in the U.S. in September. In it, Rothlin and Werder write about people who have too little work or lack stimulation from their jobs. Yet, instead of rejoicing at the abundance of free time, they said, bored workers grow disinterested, exhausted and even depressed.

"One might easily call them lazy," explained Rothlin, "but that's not true. People suffering from boreout want to do something. They want to work, but their company won't let them."
—“So bored it hurts,” Chicago Tribune, April 30, 2008
The resulting profile of a boreout victim is remarkably similar to characters such as Tim in the Ricky Gervais BBC comedy series The Office, and Homer Simpson. Boreout, it appears, is such a profound taboo that it can only be shown in a comic context.

Boreout works like this: a boss re-fuses to delegate work, frustrated underlings ask for more to do but are trusted only with mind-numbing tasks. After a while they stop asking and enjoy the free time at their desk, stretching out the low-intensity tasks with a series of strategems.

But mimicking work day after day erodes self-esteem. Result: the boss hurtles towards burnout while at least some of his staff edge towards boreout. The symptoms are almost identical.
—Roger Boyes, “Forget burnout, now it's boreout,” The Times (London), September 15, 2007
1995 (earliest)
Common stressors, gleaned from recent research into the subject and from surveys of the wide range of clients who attended WUP courses over the past year, range from external factors such as workplace noise, lighting, and temperature to organisational problems such as lack of training, bad communication, unclear work tasks, boreout and burnout (work underload or overload).
—Julie Bertagna, “Learn how to work under pressure,” The Herald, April 11, 1995
This term is a play on burnout, exhaustion and depression caused by overwork or stress, which first entered the language around 1975.