How to survive your job without working
12 tips on how to survive in your job (without slogging off your butt)
Some among us are born to do great things. These people break barriers, go where no man (or woman) has ever gone and achieve superhuman tasks, to reach the pinnacle of everything they do.
However, this story is not about them! This is the story of how the rest of us live.
Yes, the non performing, low ambition, safety players, who spend our lives behind desks, dragging along from one day to another, having given up hope that we will ever achieve big.
Don’t get me wrong… it is not easy being a non performer. It requires a lot of skill to stay afloat and survive your job. In a system that breeds sycophancy & inefficiency, it is not easy to go unscathed when the ‘shit hits the fan’.
Survival is the name of the game. And some survive better than others.
I have studied a lot of ‘performers’ in the ‘non-performing’ category and here’s what I learnt. Here are some priceless tips on how you can also become a ‘Guru’ in the art of surviving in your job.
1) Nobody likes a wisecrack:
Conform. Never stand out. Wear the most inconspicuous clothes. If possible dress like your boss (unless you are a male with a female boss. That would be asking for trouble).
For Example: Wear black / grey formal trousers, with a white / off-white formal shirt and a simple striped tie in black, blue and subdued red. Sport formal black shoes (preferably in buffed leather, so that it doesn’t shine) and a Parker pen.
Guaranteed to make you merge into the furniture. Less chances of being spotted or worse, being selected for a task.
2) Learn the jargon:
Invest time and effort into appearing knowledgeable. It doesn’t matter if you do not understand something.
It is, however, important that you project to your boss that you do.
3) Agree with the boss:
Arguing with your boss usually has two sides to it. Their side and the outside.
In order to survive, learn to nod… both ways.
Then track your Boss’ head movements.
Now mirror the same.
In fact it is recommended that you work on your nodding skills. 15 minutes of rigorous nodding practice every morning will take you places. If possible check your reflexes while training. The ability to switch between a ‘yes’ nod and a ‘no’ nod midway, is the difference between being looked upon as a top performer or an also ran.
4) Believe in ‘Nothingness’:
You have an opinion? Congratulations! Now keep it to yourself.
The one who survives, knows the truth, of believing in the value of silence. In fact always ask your boss for her / his opinion before you open your mouth.
Follow this simple rule:
“Never offer an opinion or advice on a matter, unless it is a matter of life and death.
Even then, if it involves the death of a colleague or your boss, it is advisable to not offer any opinion at all”
–– Wise man from ancient Chinese Corporate
5) Play the ‘Wall’:
Defence is the best form of offence. Cover your base before you show your face.
Deflect anything that comes your way. Ask for advice, input, approval, recommendations, anything… but don’t let the ball stay in your court.
End every conversation with ‘I will go with your recommendation… could you send it to me in writing please?’
6) Mailbox wizardry:
The ability to respond to emails gets you places. However, to survive, make sure that there is no content in your email.
It just needs to be quick and cc’d to as many people as possible. Achieving an average time of 2 minutes before it goes from your inbox to your outbox is the industry norm. Try to match that.
As with the above mentioned rule, end the email with ‘What do you think?”
7) The fine art of delegation:
Never take on responsibility and you will never be questioned.
If you do take on a responsibility, make sure to delegate all work to your juniors. Also be sure to make minor modifications in their submissions so that you can portray yourself as the ‘savior who salvaged the situation’ and take credit for their work. If it goes wrong, you can always show them down in front of the boss.
If you do not have a junior, get yourself an agency. Always sell them the big picture, promise them millions in revenue and then get them to do your work for free. As in the case above, if it goes wrong, you also have the added advantage of being able to blame them in a SHTF situation.
If you do not have an agency, delegate upwards. Ask your boss so many inane questions that they, out of frustration, decide to do the work themselves. Make sure to step in towards the end and relieve them of the duty before they finish, though. You will need it during your performance appraisal.
8) Turn the other cheek:
Make sure your eyes turn with it, as well.
When in a situation where you may be cornered into actually ‘volunteering’ an opinion or taking on an assignment, suddenly find the wall in the opposite direction very interesting.
Do not make eye contact with your boss, till they have successfully trapped another colleague into doing the work.
9) Memorize Dilbert:
There are wise souls who have been down this road before us.
Learn from them. Immediately!
Go out and buy the entire Dilbert collection.
Memorize. Imbibe. Gain from his experience.
10) Don’t rock the boat:
Don’t spoil it for yourself by trying to be creative or innovative.
If you truly want to be creative and innovative, do it on your own time.
The company does not and will not support your flights of fancy. They pay you to blend in.
Why should you want to change that?
11) Find someone to blame:
In the unlikely situation that you actually end up with work, study the problem at hand carefully.
Before you proceed, evaluate what could go wrong.
Now identify whom you will blame for the screw-ups.
12) Work on your English:
Understand your KRAs. (a.k.a Blue Chips, KPIs, etc.)
Study them carefully and in most cases you will realize that the HR team is achieving their own KRAs by developing complex, vague and verbose definitions for your targets.
Use this to your advantage when you self-appraise. It will get you places.
Follow the points mentioned above and you will have a successful career, growing organically in the organization. Nothing wrong with that… after all, a 10% increment per annum amounts to a lot in 20 years.
More importantly you get this benefit without actually putting in any work.
Performers slog their butts off for years before they get glory. You can get it by just covering yours.
Here’s to the CYA (cover your a@#) principle. The panacea for all corporate woes.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose. It matters how you play the game.
DISCLAIMER: This is a satire and a work of imagination. Resemblances with any person or persons in real life are purely coincidental and unintentional and have no bearing in real life. I apologize unconditionally to anyone offended by this blog. I value my job… need the money 🙂
Image © Digital Banjara Media Pvt. Ltd.