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How To Slack Off Successfully At Work

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28608097

At some times of the year work feels more of a chore than at others. Summer is one of those times, when if you are stuck in the office, the mind strays to work avoidance strategies, writes Lucy Kellaway.

For inspiration I've been studying two colleagues, both the same age, both equally talented.

One is a magnet for extra work, which gets dumped on him all the time. The other man never does any surplus tasks. He isn't exactly lazy, but only works on things that interest him. In his spare time he sits in his office watching the tennis on his iPhone.

Which of the two is more handsomely rewarded for their unequal effort? Mr Obliging or Mr Not-so-Obliging?

The sad truth is that the first has received no benefit from his drudgery, while the second has suffered no punishment for his shirking.

I have been trying to understand how Mr Not-so-Obliging gets away with it. At first I thought it was a matter of saying no.

Yet it turns out skilled work avoiders hardly ever say no. They do something far more ingenious - they avoid being asked in the first place.

Be scary

There are some well-known strategies for this, including bustling around with a clipboard looking busy or wearing headphones and staring intently at the screen forbidding anyone from approaching.

Sorry I'm already far too busy, but I might be able to do it next week....

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Who would have the cheek to intervene when looks like already overworked and underpaid......wouldn't like to risk the loss of a highly profitable and hard to come by worker. ;)

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Extra work above the core work, unfortunately counts when I'm compared to my peers. Being rated on a scale from 1 to 3 every year (and not just superficially). Massive impact on pay and promotion opportunities.

Yes I work in a quasi religious structure where you can always do better - e.g. an american biggie comapny.

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So someone gets called a slacker for doing the work that they're given but not being prepared to make their life more miserable by going out and finding more to do in some sort of overwork race to the bottom? I've got a lot more respect for the so-called slacker.

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After working closely with someone who had an anxiety issue about not working hard enough 'they might fire me attitude' drop dead I learnt my lesson. ;)

It's really not worth working hard for other people. I work hard on my own projects and business ouside of the 9-5, but at work I always do the minimum required to get teh PAYE £££ at the end of the month. If I was to get extra money from working harder then I wouildn't bother wioth my own projects and business that at time earn more than the day job.

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After working closely with someone who had an anxiety issue about not working hard enough 'they might fire me attitude' drop dead I learnt my lesson. ;)

It's really not worth working hard for other people. I work hard on my own projects and business ouside of the 9-5, but at work I always do the minimum required to get teh PAYE £££ at the end of the month. If I was to get extra money from working harder then I wouildn't bother wioth my own projects and business that at time earn more than the day job.

Yes I agree with you.

I work very hard for my own projects even if there's no financial gain. I learnt years ago that I'm highly unlikely to get extra money or personal gain for working harder for employers so I do the minimum I can get away with.

20 years ago I was called into a manager's office in a bank branch at 2pm and it was alleged I wasn't pulling my weight. I'd finished my day's work by 11.30am and was helping the juniors sort piles of filing when I was summoned. WTF? What more can one do? Up until that day I always done extra in every job I'd done. Since then I've become expert at appearing to be working hard.

Especially nowadays with the decline in treatment of employees I've noticed over my life. F**k them.

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I try to do as little as possible to earn as much as possible.

I do a decent job though - and it must be acceptable as people offer me work.

Today I was hungover - so I did about 4 hours work from home and got back on the beers :)

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I once had a fantastically poorly managed position within a matrix structure. For around three years I had no boss and did precisely what I chose to do. Because I was known to be skilled in certain areas people from all over the business would ask me to do stuff. If it looked interesting I did, if it didn't, I didn't. I was total master of my time and worked from home (or the beach) if I felt like it and did the hours I saw fit. I earned my salt but without all the corporate cr@p of annual appraisals and SMART objectives.

Oddly, it seemed to do me no professional harm. I've survived multiple rounds of redundancies and restructurings - even when I put my name forward for a voluntary departure.

I'm still a bit of a slacker but not to the extent of those glory days.

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That article is so true! I could easily categorise my co-workers like that..

The other problem is those people who huff and puffs about being so busy, yet I know people can get more work done in less time!

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I worked with a guy who always seemed to manage to move onto another project before he finished his current one. On more than one occassion I was asked to pick up the work on the basis that S had nearly finished everything and every time he'd not even started or had gone off in the wrong direction. I explained this to my superiors who were understanding but said "you know how S is, if we bother him too much he's likely to go off on one". S avoided getting too much work dumped on him by having prima-donna hissy fits on regular occassions so everyone gave him a wide berth. I never understood why they didn't just fire him but there you go.

Talking of dying colleagues I was asked by a sick colleague to give him a few minutes time on a problem he was stuck on, I maybe spent 30 minutes with him but our boss went mad at this and pulled me aside to say that sick colleague was a waste of resources and I'd have to work that 30 minutes as overtime. Sick colleague died a couple of years after that incident, he was only 30. I must say I was upset about it and wondered if there is more I could have done to help his work life but that was nothing compared to the Greek chorus of wailing and euligizing from our two faced ***** of a Boss.

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Sick colleague died a couple of years after that incident, he was only 30.

They guy I worked with was just 38 when he passed away from an aneurysm, I am sure it was teh stress of the job however much of that stress was self inflicted as he was the only person in work on a Saturday morning out of 200+ people.

He didn;t go down as a hero and was never thanked for his time.

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I'll do the minimum possible on boring tasks, but work happy to my guts out on interesting, creative ones that genuinely make a difference. Also find that energy, interest and motivation ebbs and flows so make sure I'm highly productive during the peaks.

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I'll do the minimum possible on boring tasks, but work happy to my guts out on interesting, creative ones that genuinely make a difference. Also find that energy, interest and motivation ebbs and flows so make sure I'm highly productive during the peaks.

Snap.

Although you need a job with a fairly free reign to be able to do that. I would say I am fortunate to have such a job but if it isn't such a job then I move on.

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I suspect that many so-called slackers are just treating their employer with the amount of respect that their employer has for them. Besides, if this place is at all typical with the drivel that emerges from HR (and does anything else ever emerge from HR?) then you're supposed to turn up at this time, follow this procedure, that rule and so on, but never actually any mention of doing any work.

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I try to do as little as possible to earn as much as possible.

I do a decent job though - and it must be acceptable as people offer me work.

Today I was hungover - so I did about 4 hours work from home and got back on the beers :)

If everyone adopted the ccc stance we would be economically on a par with St Lucia; all UK women would walk around bow-legged, and Wetherspoons would top the FTSE...

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I used to work as a software developer. Now work in more the planning and management side but have applied my coding skills to make all sorts of scripts that write reports for me and track stuff. It's a real godsend and makes everything chilled out despite me actually organising and communicating a lot of different things. My colleagues and boss are seriously impressed with what I can make. Just need to make sure I don't do myself out of the job but then I'm the only one that can really run them.

Excel/Outlook/Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) can work wonders. It's easy too if you grow up with it. My incentives to doing this is to do as little as possible.

They talk about teaching software development skills to school kids - if done properly, I think there's a lot to be said for its impact on productivity...

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If everyone adopted the ccc stance we would be economically on a par with St Lucia; all UK women would walk around bow-legged, and Wetherspoons would top the FTSE...

That's the plan for post-independence.

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I used to work as a software developer. Now work in more the planning and management side but have applied my coding skills to make all sorts of scripts that write reports for me and track stuff. It's a real godsend and makes everything chilled out despite me actually organising and communicating a lot of different things. My colleagues and boss are seriously impressed with what I can make. Just need to make sure I don't do myself out of the job but then I'm the only one that can really run them.

Excel/Outlook/Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) can work wonders. It's easy too if you grow up with it. My incentives to doing this is to do as little as possible.

They talk about teaching software development skills to school kids - if done properly, I think there's a lot to be said for its impact on productivity...

I do similar stuff. Not from a techie background though - I just quite like doing macros and all that stuff.

People are very impressed. Sitting in the 'business' and being able to do this sort of stuff as well - is well paid and well thought of.

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I'm not passionate about my job and have landed in a role where I don't have that much to do. Thanks to 'meetings' it's fairly easy to slack off, also manage to do lots of reading and web browsing.

I'd trade it for a role I loved (as long as not too severe a pay cut) but have no urge to do extra work for the sake of it whilst I'm here. After being a keen ambitious young graduate, work is now just a means to an ends and I'm pleased I have a role with no stress and lots of autonomy

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