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That Guy’s Tips for Faking It: Research Thoroughly May 1, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Pictures, Tips for Corporate Success, Tips for Faking It, Wasting Time.
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This is the fourth and final 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. I may do more of these again in the future.

Research Thoroughly

Randall Munroe, artist/author of the webcomic XKCD, explained how to waste time with research via this useful illustration:

Before you start any new project, it’s important to know if any new techniques have come along for you to make it work better, faster, or smarter. It’s also important to do market research; it’s highly likely you’ll still have to do the same job, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, if you believe Stephen King, there are only six themes anyway, so you’re bound to copy one. Obviously, King was talking about writing, but let’s be realistic: how many different ways can you mock up an ad? Or fill out an expense report? Or lay out a website in a way that your boss (and, more importantly, his boss) will say “great idea” instead of “dude, WTF?”

You’ve got the internet at your desk, right? If you don’t, you certainly should. And if you haven’t got a whole folder of bookmarks, then you’re doing something wrong. Before you start, hit the internet. Do your research. Check your Google news keyword catcher. Review your RSS feeds. Look around at what other people are doing. And if you happen to see a link to an unrelated site, don’t avoid it. Click it. Check out that site. Link farther and farther away from your comfort zone until you can’t see it without a telescope.

If your boss happens by, you’re doing research and trying to find new ideas.

See? That was easy. And fun, too! You might even have learned something about William Howard Taft along the way.

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