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How To Look Busy At Work – Office Humor

May 14, 2013

Disclaimer: I think you should work hard and earn what you are paid.  Nevertheless, I like to see the levity in things.

George Costanza’s 10 Commandments For ‘Working Hard’

1 – Never walk without a document in your hands.
People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they’re heading for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they’re heading for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you do.

2 – Use computers to look busy.
Any time you use a computer, it looks like “work” to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, chat, and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren’t exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about but they’re not bad either. When you get caught by your boss — and you will get caught — your best defense is to claim you’re teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.

3 – Keep a messy desk.
Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we’re not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year’s work looks the same as today’s work; it’s volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you’ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

4 – Use voice mail.
Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don’t call you just because they want to give you something for nothing — they call because they want you to do work for them. That’s no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a voice-mail message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they’re not there — it looks like you’re hardworking and conscientious even though you’re being a devious weasel.

5 – Look impatient & annoyed.
One should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.

6 – Leave the office late.
Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and story books that you always wanted to read but have no time until late before leaving. Make sure you walk past the boss’ room on your way out. Send important e-mail at unearthly hours (e.g. 9:35 p.m., 7:05 a.m., etc.) and during public holidays.

7 – Use sighing for effect.
Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.

8 – Opt for the stacking strategy.
It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor etc. (thick computer manuals are the best).

9 – Build your vocabulary.
Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember; they don’t have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.

10 – Don’t get caught.
MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t forward this page’s URL to your boss by mistake!

OTHER HELPFUL HINTS:

Never smile when I’m on phone talking with someone at work and it isn’t about business. If you smile, then people won’t think that it is work-related.

Hold a pen in your hand at all times in between keyboarding tasks… keep it in your hand even while on the phone… have your writing pad there as well and occasionally jot something down… you’ll look as if at all times contemplating something really intelligent and ready to write it down.

Keep a really complex spreadsheet or lengthy document file (or both) open on your desktop.

Use an extended monitor with your laptop.Run a regression suite or that long  build on your monitor and continue to do whatever you are doing on your laptop.

Keep your office communicator/jabber connected even when you are home.Gives a notion to your colleagues that you are really working Do it even the weekends.

Send one email a day to the team.if you don’t have anything just make up.

File bugs in your own name and keep solving them.

Go into a technical discussion and just listen even if you are not  remotely interested in it.

Keep your white board messed up. Change the text everyday.

Add your manager on Facebook and show no activity when you are working.
Updating any open ticket that is being monitored by a manager on an irregular but time bound basis. Ie they love updates so give them updates. The more the better.

Narrate facts at meetings that the manager can use with his own manager. Depending on the stupidity of your manager, you’ll have to coat these nuggets with  verbal accordance – ie., you’ll have to spell out exactly what you mean and then obtusely mention that your manager’s manager might find that interesting.

Sick days – well everyone knows that.

Really understanding how your boss thinks.
If you can really figure out how your boss thinks, you can focus on those activities except at deadline time. Even if you don’t hit the deadline your boss is usually confused enough between what he sees and your results to give you 1 more chance till the next review. so this method gives you 2 review cycles worth of time to phone it in.

Use the Outlook email scheduler to send out emails at 4 am. Note: for important emails only, don’t send out “FYI”-type emails about interesting work articles you’ve come across, no one believes you’re browsing Bloomberg for work at 4 am.

And the most popular time strangler, go to a meeting.  It’s a place where idea’s get stranded in a cul-de-sac.

UPDATE: Now there is an app for your computer from Corporate Avoidance to look busy!

I’ve just come upon some great sites that give unbelievable advice on how to maximize your appearance while minimizing your work.  The first is Mastering the art of looking busy;

Looking busy has a bad rap. Sometimes you have to look busy so you can actually work on the things that matter. Here’s how to trick others into believing you’ve got a full plate so you’ll get the breathing room to actually get things done.

The point of looking busy is to remind your boss and your coworker that your time is valuable, that there are only so many things you can work on at once, and to give you some breathing room so you can actually think. In short, looking busy reminds everyone that you are busy, and gives you some freedom at the same time. Whether you use that freedom for valuable brainstorming or wasting time on your favorite tech blog is a choice we leave to you.

In this post, we’ll walk through some way to make sure everyone you talk to—whether it’s your boss or a distracting coworker—knows that you’re busy without you beating them over the head with the fact. Some of this is just good sense when it comes to productivity, but a few of these tips may seem counterproductive, but stick with us, we’ll explain why it all works. Let’s get started….

And this gem: How to do as little work as possible without getting fired;

Look Busy Without Really Trying

Shaving five minutes from the start and end of your day can only do so much. If you really want to slack like a pro, you’re going to need to figure out how to appear occupied even if you’re not. First off, read this most illustrious guide from Lifehacker on how to look busy. It’s packed with helpful hints and tips on how to keep your boss satisfied with your workflow even when it’s more of a “work trickle”. That’s not to say you should be doing zero work—unless your endgame is unemployment—but this guide explains how to keep your boss from piling a bunch of busywork on your desk.

Once you’ve memorized the Lifehacker guide, you’re ready to take your slacking game to the next level. We’re not talking about standing around with a clipboard or staring intently at your computer screen whilst wearing headphones; those techniques are as played out as licking your palms to fake clammy hands and get out of school. No, what you need are a legion of unknowing allies, namely, your co-workers.

In short, be a Chatty Cathy. Roam the halls of your office building, stopping by any open door, break room, or cubicle stall to “synergize” and “collaborate” with any co-worker that is even halfway willing to listen. Be sure to ask about their kids, people love talking about their kids and will do so at length—allowing you to not only “build rapport” with your co-worker but also shave valuable hunks of time off your work day. Just keep them talking.

You can try a similar technique with your supervisor. At my old office, we’d routinely receive memos from management so laden with industry buzzwords and random acronyms that could only be deciphered with a Cracker Jack decoder ring. While some see this as just one more office-place hassle, you can easily spin it to your advantage. Take the memo to your supervisor and ask for a detailed explanation of what on earth it’s talking about. You’ll be shocked how often Hey, I don’t really understand how we’re supposed to collate the GRE reports with the ACTA file turns into a 30 minute discussion of proper sorting and stapling methodology.

The best part of this technique is that it doesn’t even need to be done face-to-face. With a little practice, you can turn any email chain into an eye-glazing morass of replies, corrections, and clarifications. Just be sure not to overdo it; you want to be just persistent enough to keep stringing people along, not so obtuse that they get fed up with your endless line of questioning.

And while we’re on the subject of emails, you should strive to craft the perfect email. Every. Single. Time. Don’t say in five words what can be said in five paragraphs. Don’t assume that your reader has a single clue about the topic at hand (even if they’re the ones that started the thread); explain every single detail in as much detail as possible. If it takes less than 45 minutes to craft a response to “where are you going for lunch today?” then you’re doing it wrong.

But sitting at your desk, staring at an email client can get lonely, so be sure to break up the monotony by taking as many meetings as possible. Even if you aren’t directly involved in the project, sit in on the meeting. Slink in just right and nobody will notice you’re there until the house lights come up. Just remember to have a feasible excuse for sitting in ready before-hand in case someone calls you on it.

It can be hard work not doing any, but with a little practice, you can get away with just about anything—or doing just about nothing—on any given weekday.

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2 Comments
  1. i especially like 5. ALWAYS DO THAT!!!

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  1. More Ways To Goof Around At Work – Office Weapons | Delusions of Adequacy

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