The Top 10 Ways to Look Like a Four-Star Worker

April 13, 2009

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.

5. Check Your Breathing


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It’s not like you’re doing sit-ups at your desk.  I mean, I do.  I’m jacked as hell, though.  But most people just sit there all day and stare at the glacial ticking of the Windows clock. However, if you purposefully huff and puff people will think you’re breaking a mental sweat.  At least once an hour just let out a gigantic sigh as if you finished the first draft of chapter one of your new novel.  Whew!  Good job, tiger.

4. Camouflage Your Workstation


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If your desk faces away from your boss’, it’s probably not an outstanding idea to spend all day on Perez Hilton. However, if you are going to questionable sites, you should take a screen shot of your monitor with Excel sheets on it, so when you minimize it looks like you’re accounting.  Also, leave a jacket over your chair maybe a third of the time when you leave the office so it looks like you’re still working but just went to grab a coffee. 

3. Calvin and Hobbes it

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Hey there sleepy beepy, did you maybe tie one too many Pabst Blue Ribbons around the old oak tree last night?  Give anything for a nap right about now, wouldn’t you?  Well you probably will have to give less than you thought.  Just buy yourself some Sleep Safe Tape and pull one over on the ol’ bossman while you catch a snooze.

2. Be Kind of a Skank


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Really, what could go wrong if you fool around with a few of your superiors?  Absolute worst case scenario is you get laid off, but don’t kid yourself, that would probably happen anyway.  At least now you can blackmail your superior (try and sleep up the ladder) and maybe get a better severance package or at least a gig somewhere else.  Plus: free sex! 

1. Love What You Do and You Won't Work a Day in Your Life


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So, by that I mean you should do all the things you like doing while you’re at your job that you hate.  Let’s just say you don’t work at and you don’t have NBA Jam and a keg, like, 100 feet to your left.  Maybe you spend your time writing Livejournal entries about how you’re confused about what your cat has been coughing up lately. If you’re in an office and you’re not watching online TV, you’re worth less than nothing.

Just do something to take your mind off how dark the tunnel of your life has become since you had to buy special, eye fatigue-reduction glasses for your crap job.