The Top 10 Ways to Look Like a Four-Star Worker
In this economy, it seems like every sentence starts with “in this economy.” That’s because everybody and their mother (and brother, and cousin) are getting laid off. Want to seem like an invaluable member of the team even though you’re chatting on Facebook even as you read this? Hit the jump to find out how.
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10. Dress to Impress
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Dress for the job you want to have is a maxim as old as cubicles themselves. However, it’s important not to take this too literally. I was let go from a perfectly good paint store delivery job because I wore a space suit to work. Maybe just go for a suit or at least a button-up shirt that’s been ironed this month.
9. Plan an Escape Route
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This is basically straight out of Office Space. When Peter knows Lumbergh is going to ask him to work the weekend, what is the first thing he does? Plan an elaborate exit strategy. Getting out of work quickly and quietly is more important and more complex than an Iraq exit strategy.
8. Drink and Smoke
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Coffee and cigarette breaks are totally acceptable, professionally-sanctioned excuses to stop work completely and just chill out. I have addictions, too (The Sega Dreamcast, your mom, etc.), but when I drop everything to play a little “Mr. Driller” with your mom, everybody gets all up in arms about it. Maybe I should just start smoking during instead of after.
7. Ask Irrelevant Questions
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Appearing to be involved, engaged, and constantly struggling to make yourself a better part of the machine that is your company is pretty important. It shows you care about what you do, and are committed to being one of the tiny balloons that floats your company to the top. But since you’re really just watching the clock, make up irrelevant questions like "Would you prefer files to be saved in .docx or .doc file type?” That way, no more actual work for you, but you appear to be just asking them to pile it on.
6. CC Ceaselessly and with Impunity
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Copying your boss on emails is a good way to let him know you’re active. In Sloane Crosley’s essay The Ursula Cookie, she describes the worst boss imaginable. One of the things Ursula constantly says is that she has no idea what her employee does all day. Well if she got 200 copied emails about the minutia of her day, not only would she know, but she’d likely give her a little space.