Never walk down the hall without a document in your hands. People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they’re heading for the cafeteria.
People with the newspaper in their hands look like they’re heading for the bathroom. 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 you do.
Use computers to look busy. Any time you use a computer, it looks like work to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, calculate your finances and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work.
These aren’t exactly the societal benefits that everybody from the computer revolution expected but they’re not bad either. When you get caught by your boss–and you will get caught–your best defense is to claim you’re teaching yourself to use the new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.
You’re not a loafer, you’re a self-starter. Offer to show your boss what you learned. That will make your boss scurry away like a frightened salamander.
Messy desk. Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like you’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 cubicle, bury the document you’ll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives