Chapter 5: Getting out of doing work

Slacking will only allow you to stall completion of your work. Eventually you’ll have to dig in and actually do the work. However, this guide wouldn’t be complete without tips for how you can avoid doing the work altogether. These suggestions are not for the faint of heart and involve serious exercises of willpower and psychology with your coworkers. If you’re not comfortable tinkering with the free will of others, don’t even think about trying this…

In case of emergency

Always have an escape plan ready at a moment’s notice. These suggestions are for the situation where you’re in your office space and you need to get away right now. If you’re not in your office space, some of these ideas can be adapted to apply no matter where you are.

  • Have a way to make your phone ring, whether it’s by calling yourself on your cell phone or emailing a coworker to do it for you. When you answer, fake like it’s an emergency phone call and insist you have to go right now.
  • Invoke a sudden health issue like “I have to inject my insulin now,” fake a heart attack, or say you have a bathroom emergency.

Find a lackey

You should always be able to find some unsuspecting person to be your unwitting slave and take care of your dirty work while you waste away the hours. You have a few people to choose from as you select your lackey. Here’s how to take advantage of them. Did I say take advantage? I meant convince them to do your work for you.

  • The new guy: The newest person in the office has no idea of what kind of power structures are in place and is probably not keen enough to do anything about it. Shovel all your shit on him and you’ll have a lackey for life.
  • The nice guy: You need a little cunning to make the nice guy do your work. Try something like “I’m going on vacation next week and really need this done. Can you help?” or something like that. He’s certain to help you out.
  • Temps and interns: They’re slaves and you and they know it. Make them do anything from writing your presentations to answering your phones. Be sure not to give them any duties that involve slacking, such as getting lunch or coffee. Do those things yourself.

When all else fails

When your slacking has turned into laziness, you probably have five minutes left until your big presentation is due and you have nothing to show. In short, you need an excuse, whether to beg for more time or to place the blame for why you won’t be able to produce your required output. Here’s some ideas for what to do…

  • Start a fire. Always carry around matches in order to pull this one off. If you’re not feeling the pyromaniac spirit, you can pull the fire alarm instead, then sneak off in the ensuing chaos.
  • Find a scapegoat. If you’re on the bottom rung. you probably don’t have anyone to point a finger at. In any other case, you should be able to find a person to blame for this mess.

Remember that the more unusual and complicated the excuse is, the more likely it won’t be believed. Keep it simple. blame one or two people, then reschedule the deadline far enough ahead to actually get the work done next time. And whatever you do, don’t try the same excuse twice. Managers are dumb enough to fall for it once, but not twice.

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