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:
- 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.
- 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.
- A Palm Pilot or similar device with its Alarm feature set to go off audibly every fifteen minutes.
- 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.
- A generally disheveled and distracted air.
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!