How to look busy

Generally, this will not be a concern until you are promoted to an executive position. But once you’ve created the illusion that you serve even the slightest purpose at your place of “business,” there’s no telling how far you’ll go. In the real working world, productivity is all a matter of appearances.

Appearance: You are furiously taking notes while conducting an important telephone marketing survey.

Reality: You are pretending to take notes while talking to your friend who has called collect from Bulgaria.

Appearance: You are on the phone with a client in New York and you have said, “Yes sirree! That stock is about to shoot through the roof, now’s a great time to buy, I tell ya!”

Reality: You are on the phone with a friend in Guam and you have said, “Yeah, this job is terrible, and my boss is such a pushy whining… Yes sirree! That stock is about to shoot through the roof, now’s a great time to buy, I tell ya!”

Appearance: You are at your computer writing a serious business memorandum to your department supervisior.

Reality: You are at your computer telling dead-baby jokes to your e-mail correspondent in Namibia.

Appearance: You are urgently plugging numbers into a complicated spreadsheet.

Reality: You are playing Tetris.

Appearance: You are tapping away on calculator keys, helping out the accounting department.

Reality: You are paying your electric bill.

Appearance: You are reading the DOS manual.

Reality: You are reading the TV guide you placed in the DOS manual.

Appearance: You are staring at an empty computer screen, absorbed in deep thought.

Reality: You have pressed “Escape” just in time, erasing a MacDraw portrait entitled “Supervisor with Pitchfork Wound Clinging to a Cliff”


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