Who’s your business hero?
Is it the hard-charging, hard-working CEO who saves a company from bankruptcy? Or the high-tech entrepreneur whose years spent slaving away in a cold garage creates an entire new industry? Or the spunky intern who works around the clock to help their team avoid a company-wide cutback?
My business heroes are people who work hard to not work at all. They get paid. They even get promotions, but when it comes to getting things done, they don’t. In fact, they don’t even try. They’re so busy trying to look busy that they don’t have time to get busy.
If you aspire to be my kind of business hero, Emily Stewart can help. Stewart is the author of a recent Vox article, “How Some People Get Away with Doing Nothing at Work.”
Like fintech employee Nate, who “works one hour a day at most.” Nate would definitely qualify as a hero, except for the fact that he is not working because he is not being given any work to do.
“I don’t have a problem with being asked to do work,” Nate confesses. “It’s just that I’m not really being asked.”
Clearly, Nate’s attitude is reprehensible. The truly heroic non-worker goofs off on principle. When given work to do, the right response is not relief, but resentment. “You can pay me, but you can’t own me” is the proper attitude toward any manager rude enough to assign you work to do. “I’m going to take a long lunch, instead, and yeah, it’s going on the expense account.”
“Funployment” is a name for those fortunate enough to have a job, but no actual work. This happens frequently in poorly managed companies, which, if you’re honest, has to describe any company that would hire you.
Of course, if you’re working from home, not working at home should be your jam. Your 65-inch Neo-QLED TV with Wrap-Around Sound is only a click away. And what desperate office worker would not rather spend their workdays bingeing on “Desperate Housewives,” especially if they can get paid for it?
(Speaking of clicks, be careful if your company has installed insidious click-counter software. It’s a pain to get up from the Barcalounger every 15 minutes and jiggle your mouse, but be honest: It beats working.)
To help you succeed at work by not working, here are a few “don’ts” that should reduce your daily allotment of “do’s.”
No. 1: Don’t worry about your manager.
Haters gonna hate and managers gonna manage, but even the most hateful managers won’t care if you’re not working, just as long as you don’t get caught. Having direct reports who don’t report is not a good look for a manager, but if you can stay below the radar, you won’t get into trouble. In fact, your chances of getting fired are significantly reduced, since the less you do, the fewer blunders you’ll make. Plus, your no-work manager will be happy to have a no-work pal to hang with during those endless, arduous hours doing nothing.
No. 2: Don’t be afraid to go into the office.
It’s a drag to be dragged from your cozy home office hidey-hole. Ease the pain by thinking of yourself as an intrepid explorer out to discover new places to hide out during the workday (skip the supply closet. That’s my spot.) You could also use your tech savvy to crash your computer, or put your nose to the grindstone and disconnect all power to the building. Sitting in the dark with a bunch of disgruntled co-workers who can’t get their work done is not only relaxing, it’s romantic.
No. 3: Don’t assume anyone knows you work there.
There’s an endangered species in companies today: the middle manager. They’re dropping like flies, these interstitial individuals who come between you and upper management. As result, the top brass may no longer know you work there (which, of course, you don’t.)
No. 4: Don’t admit you aren’t working.
You’ve achieved the ultimate in workplace success — permanent paid vacation. Don’t ruin it by not griping constantly. “I’ve got too much to do,” is a classic complaint, as is “Looks like I’m going to have to pull another all-nighter,” and “These deadlines are killing me. I’ve got to get a new job.”
You won’t, of course. Applying for work takes a lot of work and could distract you from the one job that is absolutely essential for every workplace slacker: asking for a raise.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected]. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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