1. Never walk down the hall 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’re heading for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hand look like they’re 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 e-mail, calculate your finances and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren’t exactly the societal 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* get caught – your best defence is to claim you’re teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.
3. Messy desk. Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like you’re not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year’s work looks the same as today’s work; it’s volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you’ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.
4. Voice Mail. Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don’t 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’re not there – it looks like you’re hardworking and conscientious even though you’re being a devious weasel. If you diligently employ the method of screening incoming calls and then returning calls when nobody is there, this will greatly increase the odds that the caller will give up or look for a solution that doesn’t involve you. The sweetest voice mail message you can ever hear is: “Ignore my last message. I took care of it”. If your voice mailbox has a limit on the number of messages it can hold, make sure you reach that limit frequently. One way to do that is to never erase any incoming messages. If that takes too long, send yourself a few messages. Your callers will hear a recorded message that says, “Sorry, this mailbox is full” – a sure sign that you are a hardworking employee in high demand.
5. Looking Impatient and Annoyed. According to George Costanza, one should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.
6. Appear to Work 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’ room on your way out. Send important emails at unearthly hours (e.g. 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 very hard pressed.
8. Stacking Strategy. It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor etc. . . . Can always borrow from library. Thick computer manuals are the best.
9. Build Vocabulary. Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use it freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember: They don’t have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.
10. * MOST IMPORTANTLY: DON’T forward this to your boss by mistake.