The modern office survival guide

By UnkleBus

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 look like their heading for the pantry/canteen.People with a newspaper in their hands 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 they do.

User computers to look busy
Any time you use a computer, it looks like "work" to the casual observer. You can send personal e-mail, chat 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 how to use new software, thus saving valuable training expenses

Messy desk
Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like we'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 desk, bury the document halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.

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 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 though you're being a devious weasel.

Looking impatient and annoyed
Always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.

Leave the office late
leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines or storybooks that you always wanted to read but had to time until late before leaving. Send important emails at unearthly hours (9.35pm, 7.05am, etc.) and during public holidays.

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

Stacking strategy
It is not enough to pile documents on your table. Put lots of books on the floor etc. (Thick computer manuals are the best)

Build vocabulary
Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use the phrases freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember: they don’t have to understand what you say, but you will sound impressive.

Have 2 Jackets
If you work in a big open plan office, always leave a spare jacket draped over the back of your seat. This gives the impression that you are still in the premises. The second jacket should be worn while swanning around elsewhere. Remember to store the second jacket out of sight before leaving from work.