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ways to avoid work November 11, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Economic Downturn, Pictures, Seen Elsewhere, Wasting Time.
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Dilbert.com

Sometimes I wonder what kind of office Scott Adams used to work in; the people there must have been really forward-thinking in their cubicle insanity, given how accurate nearly every one of his strips is.

Let’s examine the points made by Dilbert here:

Ten Minutes of Explanation. This one is my personal favorite when it comes to doing things I don’t want to do. I’ll often find ways to foist a task back onto the person requesting it by saying I need more information or I don’t have time or my computer is updating. Anything to avoid actually doing a distasteful task, even if it’s a quick one. Yesterday, for example, I had to build a test page on one of our websites. It’s drudgery, it’s annoying to do, and if even one step is missed the entire thing has to be started over. If I do it right, it takes 20 minutes.

I put it off for almost four hours. The person I was doing it for totally accepted my BS explanation.

Incompetence. I’ve always been good at this one. When I worked for an office supply store, one of my tasks was cleaning the floor. I have never, ever been any good at floor-related cleaning tasks (except mopping; I’m good at mopping). Vacuuming the carpet in my area was a nightmare, and I was often asked to vacuum the carpeting in the furniture area as well. My coworkers eventually figured out that I was no good at it, but when I worked in the copy center, I was the only one who could do the job. I actually almost got written up because my vacuuming was so bad.

Company Policy. Whenever I didn’t want to do something before the reorg, I would simply say it was company policy for me not to do it. Most notably when artists and photographers were supposed to write their own copy. I could do it faster, and I could do it better, but it was technically their job to do it. (Still is, I suppose.) The whole point of it was to get them to be better at their jobs by getting more practice, but they just did it half-assed and it became my job to fix it so my work didn’t look crappy. Company policy always comes back to bite you in the ass.

Forgetfulness. I keep a list of everything I have to do. I actually write it on paper. I tried putting it in Outlook, but that was a failure; I never felt like I accomplished anything. Nowadays, with e-mail being the primary form of requesting people to do things, it’s easy to simply say “your e-mail got lost” or “I deleted it by accident” or “it’s in my inbox but I missed it between these other tasks”. You can still forget things; it just takes more work.

Falsehood. This is the one that always made me feel bad when I used it. I only ever used it sparingly, and really only when I was pissed off at a co-worker or customer. The perk of doing the kinds of jobs I do is that, for the most part, people don’t actually know what I’m capable of. I can lie about my time, my skills, software I use, my workload, whatever. I usually get the job done, but a carefully applied lie is a great way to buy some time.

Which of these is the one you use the most?

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