Monday, March 20, 2006

What Color Is Your Unopened Parachute?

An astonishing new development in the field of Work Avoidance has come across the Jingo Desk, and we'd be terribly remiss if we failed to pass it along to out Brethren and Sistren in Sloth.

First-person empirical research conducted in the Jingo Laboratory of Lassitude has confirmed a hypothesis that has long been employed in professional Work-Avoidance circles but never hitherto empirically proven: If everybody thinks you're way busier that they are, nobody will dare to give you work.

The hypothesis was proven using laboratory equipment that is available in any corporate office:
  1. Three folders stuffed with 8.5 x 11" paper. This paper need not be written or printed on, although credibility is greatly enhanced if it is, and accidental discovery of its blankness will greatly skew the results of the experiment.
  2. Several writing implements (at a minimum, one ball-point pen, one number-two pencil and one yellow highlighter pen) placed about one's person in visible locations. The research team found the placement of the pen behind one's ear to be particularly effective in establishing credibility.
  3. A Palm Pilot or similar device with its Alarm feature set to go off audibly every fifteen minutes.
  4. A cellphone set on Vibrate. This should be placed in one's shirt pocket or a similar hidden spot. It should not be left on a table or desktop, as this placement will make apparent to the Bestowers of Labor the fact that the phone has not, in fact, rung.
  5. A generally disheveled and distracted air.
The subject of the experiment should then spend the bulk of one (1) working day striding purposefully from place to place in the corporate office with items 1) through 4) in plain view of coworkers. Any coworker attempting conversation of any sort with the subject should be fobbed off with "Woah, love to stop and chat, but I've really got to be [somewhere at the opposite end of the office] in two minutes!" Any coworker who simply catches the subject's eye but does not attempt conversation should be greeted with the elaborately rolled eyes that bespeak a highly put-upon cube rat. It is vital to the success of the experiment that all perambulation should be done at the highest possible rate of speed. Heavy breathing, like that produced by the adrenaline of heavy stress, cannot but help.

If the subject cannot avoid conversation, a sudden patting of the pocket containing the silent cellphone, an apologetic "Sorry, I have to take this," and a quick departure from the room with the phone clapped to the ear will end any further interaction.

If the subject is called into a meeting, the PDA should be placed on the table while every attempt is made to appear attentive and solicitous. As the PDA is set to sound an alarm every fifteen minutes, the subject has only that amount of time to wait. When the alarm sounds, the subject should let out a quiet but intense "Shit!" consult the display, gather his belongings and quickly excuse himself from the room, waving angrily at the PDA and muttering dark imprecations about admins to arrogant SVPs who don't check for conflicts before scheduling meetings.

Any coworker who pokes his or her head into the subject's cubicle should be greeted with the apologetic but firm impression that the intrusion at this particular moment is an enormous imposition. Words like "crashing," "deliverable" and "slavedriving bastards" should be employed liberally. Making up meaningless acronyms ("I've got to get this report to the ACPA Committee by COB or my ass is grass!") is entirely permissible.

This strategem may appear to be overelaborate, but the technique has been proven 100% effective. My monograph on the subject has been accepted for publication in the June edition of National Review of Unbelievably Lazy Swine.

See you at the top of the pile, suckers!


roxtar said...

Do I have a meeting with a client?

Why, yes....I do.



When will I be leaving?


Will I be back this afternoon?

Oh, gee....probably not.

See ya' tomorrow!

Akatabi said...

Spot on, except for the part about meetings, attending which should almost always count as a slacker win, except when one is expected to actually contribute concrete evidence of having worked. Try to get invited to or just drop in on meetings as far as possible from one's actual expertise or job description. Meetings in compliance with government regulations like safety, EEOC, workplace niceity, substance abuse and anything related to HR are especially favored, as is anything related to quality assurance, imaging, branding or the godsend of ISO 9000. Field trips are another great boon, where one can give the impression of making a great personal sacrifice to hand-deliver crucial documents or pick up essential materials from a remote location as far away as possible from one's picket stake and chain. An added lagniappe is that afterwards, one can make lengthy excursions to far places to get reimbursed from petty cash for out-of-poocket expenses on cabfare.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber
ygzpsig - young users of GNUzip special interest group

Wren said...

Masters, every last one of you! I'm breathless with admiration and awe.
Unfortunately, however, I can't quite figure out how to put this incredible system to work in a small community newspaper office, where I'm the editor, and the publication deadline looms week in and week out, even when the rest of the world takes actual holidays. I'm afraid in my chosen career, this wonderful System of Sloth would soon see me packing up my AP stylebook and requisite red pen, and applying for work at the local McDonalds. I might actually make more money with Ronald and Friends, but I wouldn't enjoy the dubious perks of a PPO health plan and 401k.
Still, one can dream. I definitely should have overcome my math phobia 26 years ago and taken that class in Basic.
With a deep sigh of envy,

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Ahhhh, yes. When I was a I.T. dude I stumbled upon the most wonderful trick of pulling network connections. Then I'd have to go "into the walls" which meant going to the beach and drinkin' for three hours.

"Going into the walls"!!

I still use it as code for fucking off.

Kevin Wolf said...

While I do not doubt your findings, Ned, putting this into action sounds like, well, work. Especially the walking fast part. And carrying things.

Oh, shit - gotta go reroute the NGFPBPVX!

An Upstep or a Downstep said...

A regular Ignatius J. Reilly.

jogkhzta - a running festival

Employee of the Month said...

You forgot to include in the avoidance accouterments a half-eaten totally inadequate foodstuff to paint the picture of working through lunch and this was the only thing I could grab because I am so busy but everyone else managed to take a proper lunch. Most effective if you shamble past the employee lunchroom.

Hey, ixnay on the miziay!

Mike said...

For code monkeys: a one line shell script that makes a particularly large build over and over again. Post It note on monitor that reads, "build in progress, don't touch."

I had a project that took five minutes to build that bought me many 2.5 hour lunches with the simple expedient of just building it over and over again til I came back. I also complained that if I had a faster machine, compiles would go faster. and wound up with a new, more Doom playable(this was some years back) machine.

gfsjcmu, the joy of man's desiring.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Mike's in, guys.

How fuckin' funny is "gfsjcmu, the joy of man's desiring"?

eh? THIS funny.

blue girl said...

Hi Jeddie,

Being the Master Of All Sidetrackers that I am -- I'm just droppin' by to say -- congrats on the Koufax finalist thang.


blue girl said...

Should that have been: