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That Guy’s Tips for Faking It: Plan Lunch Carefully April 30, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Tips for Corporate Success, Tips for Faking It, Wasting Time.
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This is the fourth entry in “That Guy’s Tips for Faking It”, a week’s worth of useful tricks to get out of working too hard while also looking like you’re worth keeping around.

Plan Lunch Carefully

While your boss is doing this, you could be surfing the net with impunity. (Photo by Tim Schapker)

While your boss is doing this, you could be surfing the net with impunity. (Photo by Tim Schapker)

When it comes right down to it, you report to one boss. Maybe two. But you’re not a manager. You’re a peon. Managers go out to lunch for more than an hour, pay on their corporate cards, stroll back in, and take half an hour to get back up to speed from all the e-mail accumulated in their inboxes. You, on the other hand, eat at your desk, in the break room, or (if you’re lucky) out on the patio, or you zip out to Wendy’s for a burger that you know you’ll regret later. But if you plan your lunch carefully, you can gain almost a full hour of down-time and still get paid for it.

First and foremost, keep a granola bar or two in your desk; you may end up going to lunch far later than you’d like to pull this off. Don’t forget that.

Now… watch your boss. Watch what time he* leaves for lunch. Watch what time he comes back. Figure out where he goes — is he more likely to eat fast food, medium food, or a real restaurant meal? Does he go by himself, or with the same crew, or with different people each day? Does he go early or late? Notice and record all of these things.

Then start planning.

The key here is to either leave within five minutes of your boss’s return to the office or vice versa. When your boss isn’t around, it becomes exponentially easier to goof off; all you have to do if a co-worker drops by is have a tab with Cute Overload or CNN open and flip to it. If the co-worker asks what you’re doing, show a cute picture of a kitten or a news story about the President**. Other managers probably don’t care as long as you look like you’re working, so as long as there’s not nudity or YouTube on your screen, you should be fine.

One more thing: bosses are known to change things up. Don’t lose track of your boss’s habits, or you could find him over your shoulder when you least expect it, and that defeats the purpose of faking it.

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* Or she, but typing s/he always takes so long. Just go with me here.

** Whether the target is a Republican or Democrat, this will instill confidence in you as a peer that you’re taking an interest in world events. This sometimes works on bosses too. As for the kittens… well, cuteness releases serotonin, and most people in offices need to relax anyway.

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