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Ten Commandments For Looking Like You Are Working Hard

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There is one thing that is certain in this world and that is if you don’t look busy at work, people will think you are being idle. So, here are ten commandments for looking like you are working hard, even when you are not.

I don’t know about you, but there have been a number of occasions in my life when I have been working really hard, and I mean REALLY hard. I stop to take two minutes break and who walks in but the boss. Naturally, he assumes that I have been sitting idly doing nothing instead of working, when the truth is rather different.

Then of course, like me, you have probably also experienced those times in the office when you literally have nothing to do, but you still have to look as if you are busy. These ideas below should help you to get through these times as well.

Disclaimer: Should you get caught, please don’t tell the boss we told you to do it. We are just giving you ideas, what you do with them is up to you.

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 are heading for the cafeteria.

People with a newspaper in their hand look like they are 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 email, chat and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work.

These aren’t exactly the social 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 most likely 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 are not working hard enough.

Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the casual observer, last year¹s work looks the same as today’s work; it¹s volume that counts. Pile them high and wide.

If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you¹ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

4. Use Voice Mail To Your Advantage

Never answer your phone if you have voice mail.

People don¹t 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 are not there. It looks like you’re hardworking and conscientious even though you’re being a devious weasel.

5. Look Impatient And Annoyed

According to George Costanza (from the television sitcom Friends), 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 storybooks that you always wanted to read but have no time until late before leaving.

Make sure you walk past the boss’s office on your way out.

Send important emails at unearthly hours like 9:35pm, 7:05am etc and during public holidays.

7. Creative Sighing For Effect

Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are under extreme pressure.

8. Stacking Strategy

It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor as well.

Years ago you could do this with thick computer manuals, but nowadays of course pretty much everything is in PDF format.

9. Enhance 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 management.

Remember: They don¹t have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.


DO NOT forward this to your boss by mistake!

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