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How to Fake A Hard Day at the Office 546

futileboy writes "There's a great article in the WSJ about how to use technology to avoid work, while giving the impression of working. At the bottom of the article is "A beginner's guide to making it look like you're working when you're not." "
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How to Fake A Hard Day at the Office

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  • by linuxbaby ( 124641 ) * on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:34PM (#5968500)
    Having this story posted on Slashdot is like having an article on a paid porn site called, "A beginner's guide to masturbation."
  • easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:35PM (#5968509)
    Just watch office space. Lots of hints
  • ghostzilla+slashdot (Score:3, Informative)

    by SHEENmaster ( 581283 ) <travis@nOSpAM.utk.edu> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:38PM (#5968521) Homepage Journal
    If you need help getting motivated, just get onto a project whose code you can share w/ your own projects.

    Then again, it might be easier to IM friends and browse /. with ghostzilla.
  • Faking? (Score:5, Funny)

    by joelt49 ( 637701 ) <joelt49@nOspam.yahoo.com> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:40PM (#5968544) Homepage
    If you use MS products to try and fake a hard day at the office, it would probably just be easier to put in a good, honest day's work.
    • a dream (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spotlight2k3 ( 652521 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:43PM (#5968566) Journal
      no matter what my personal opinion is.... i have a dream that one day someone will let a thread ride, without a ms or *nix comment. ok so it will never happen, but a dream is a dream
      • Imagine... (Score:3, Funny)

        by realdpk ( 116490 )
        a Beowulf cluster of threads that do not have a ms or *nix comment.
      • Re:a dream (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:05PM (#5969067) Homepage Journal
        "no matter what my personal opinion is.... i have a dream that one day someone will let a thread ride, without a ms or *nix comment. ok so it will never happen, but a dream is a dream"

        Windows 2000 and XP users find BSOD jokes stale. It's the Linux equivalent of jokes about over-reliance on the CLI. "Tee hee, if Linux were a car, you'd have to have to use the keyboard just to start it." "Hehe yeah! And if the car fails to start, it's probably because the caps lock is on! Snicker snicker, snort snort." If you rolled your eyes at that joke, then imagine how an informed Windows user responds to BSOD jokes. "That is soooo 1999."
  • Dilbert (Score:5, Funny)

    by jfedor ( 27894 ) <jfedor@jfedor.org> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:41PM (#5968546) Homepage
    Learn from the best, learn from Wally [dilbert.com].

    -jfedor
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:41PM (#5968549)
    Is it possible to fake a hard day and read slashdot at the same time? I hope so.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:41PM (#5968550)
    Today's violation of copyright:
    (Let's hope they consider it a free sample)

    Shirk Ethic: How to Fake
    A Hard Day at the Office


    By JANE SPENCER
    Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    David Wiskus gives new meaning to the term "working lunch." The Denver tech-support worker installed a program on his Handspring Visor hand-held that allowed him to manipulate the screen on his office computer from a booth at a local diner.

    As he lingered for hours over burgers and fries, he could actually open windows and move documents around on his screen via the hand-held -- creating the impression to anyone who walked by that the diligent Mr. Wiskus had just stepped away from his desk.

    It has never been easier to be a white-collar slacker. While the uninitiated are still grousing about how mobile technology has created a 24/7 work culture and sabotaged their private time, a savvier crowd has moved on to a more rewarding pursuit: using technology to make it look like you're working when you're not.

    The tactic isn't new, but the tools have gotten a lot more powerful. Executives have long discreetly asked their secretaries to flip on the office light to make Friday absences less glaring; leaving a jacket on the back of your desk chair is also an old trick.

    But the latest generation of office accessories, from cellphones to the RIM BlackBerry, have brought a new level of sophistication -- and a host of new strategies for manipulating perceptions of your diligence.

    The new options allow people to do far more than send e-mails from the beach. Services like GoToMyPC.com -- similar to one Mr. Wiskus used on his hand-held -- let you operate your office computer by remote control. You can even move the cursor on your screen, opening documents and printing them on the shared office printer.

    Other strategies involve using existing technology in new ways. E-mail timers, a standard feature in Microsoft Outlook, let you send e-mails hours after you have gone to bed -- a painless way to suggest to the boss that you are burning the midnight oil. (In Outlook, open up a message, go to "options," and fill in the "do not deliver before" option.)

    Instant Message programs, a more-immediate form of e-mail now used by millions of employees, can also be reconfigured. Typically, if you haven't touched your computer in a while, the people you chat with online see an "idle" message next to your name. Diehard slackers can crack into the program settings to make themselves appear perpetually available.

    Psychologists call these games "impression management," a field whose rules have been transformed now that so many people communicate through technology rather than a handshake and a conversation. In some ways, the e-mail that arrives at 11 p.m. is the modern sign of a dedicated worker.

    But others see all this as yet another legitimate technology that has been hijacked by people with skewed ethics. "If you're out playing golf, and you look like you've spent four hours in the office. ... If everybody does that, the company goes bankrupt," says Stuart Gilman, director of the Ethics Resource Center in Washington.

    Even some lower-tech tools, such as call forwarding, have grown more sophisticated, making it a snap to answer your desk phone from your daughter's soccer game or the pedicure chair. Phone company SBC Communications Inc. currently offers five different call-forwarding services, including a new one that lets you transfer your phone to different phone numbers throughout the day.

    E-mails Read by Jenni

    Services like Yahoo By Phone also let you pick up your e-mail from afar, even without a hand-held gadget. For $4.95 a month, a computerized voice named Jenni will read your messages aloud over the phone.

    Wireless e-mail gadgets like the Palm Tungsten W and the BlackBerry can also be tinkered with to help cover the tracks of an office absence. E-mails sent from a BlackBerry, for example, automatically sign o
    • Hungry Man (Score:3, Funny)

      by Puu ( 596370 )
      ... to manipulate the screen on his office computer from a booth at a local diner. As he lingered for hours over burgers and fries, he could actually open windows and move documents around ...

      This guy is probably XXL.
  • by L. VeGas ( 580015 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:42PM (#5968555) Homepage Journal
    how to use technology to avoid work

    Buy a vibrator.
    • by mcpkaaos ( 449561 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:48PM (#5968611)
      I'm sorry to be the one to bring this up, but if your wife is suggesting you buy a vibrator, I think you might have a, ahem, bigger problem than slacking off at work.

      --
      m, k.
  • Virtual Office? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clambake ( 37702 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:43PM (#5968561) Homepage
    So, from what I read, it seems like an aweful lot of "wor" to not actually do any work. Manipulating the screen from your hand-held, sneaking around flipping on and off lights, printing phantom documents to the printer... It seems like you are doing just as much work as you would actually being in the office, except it's relativly unproductive...

    It seems to me the way to go would to be use virtual offices where people can do REAL work from the coffee shop or from home without having to feel guilty that they aren't in a cubicle. Why is that concept so hard for many companies to understand and implement?
    • Re:Virtual Office? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:57PM (#5968683) Journal
      it seems like an awful lot of "work" to not actually do any work.

      It really is. But sometimes (and I speak form personal experience) there's just either really nothing to do, or you really want to avoid doing something for whatever reason, or you just want to buy some time... depends on the situation.

      Once or twice I've deliberately created "network problems" (Very small office, doesn't effect the productivity of anyone else) - typically with the printers or something... then spend a good hour or so "fixing" it, since it happens to require standing next to the server and occasionally fiddling with the keyboard. (Which is out of sight from my boss, whom normally I sit right in front of all day long).

      Sometimes you just need to escape, and since I don't smoke, cigarette breaks aren't an option :)
      =Smidge=
    • Bums on Seats.

      If 50% of people working from home 50% of the time. (shouldn't be too hard in office land)

      You've just reduced the traffic(and pollution) by 25%.
      you get an extra 1hr in bed because you don't have to travel, so...
      Your employees will be fresher when they are at work.

      Working remotely from home is the next logical step in employees rights, calling an employee up at any time of the day or night because you know they can work remotely is the next step in corporate abuse.
  • cron, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Burnon ( 19653 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:43PM (#5968563)
    Seems like a lot of trouble to go to, huddling over a wireless doodad, trying to remotely connect to your desktop, when you can plan a script in advance at your desktop, with a real keyboard and display, and save the script for reuse later.

    That said, please take the wireless approach - I work for a company that makes wireless doodads :)
  • by linuxwrangler ( 582055 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:44PM (#5968568)
    This article makes it appear to be a lot of work to avoid...work.

    It seems like it would be a lot more exhausting trying to appear to work and worrying about getting caught - especially since a lot of the "avoidance" such as checking and responding to email and voicemail actually IS work - than it would be to just work at the office.

    I guess some people just need to feel that they are getting away with something.
    • by smilingirl ( 608655 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:54PM (#5968662) Journal
      Yeah I agree with you.

      And to me they act like it is some secret that you can turn the idle off in instant messengers. Oooo! Let's ::CRACK:: into AIM like a big time hacker!!! Oooo I'm soooo sneaky!

      Come on, it's just a simple check box. If someone hasn't figured *that* out, then, well, I'll refrain from commenting...

    • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:27PM (#5968873) Homepage
      Kind of like how young children avoid brushing their teeth or washing their hands by going to the trouble of running water, wetting their toothbrush, and making it look like they did, taking just as long as it would to do it, but not actually doing it. What's the point?
    • by ralico ( 446325 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:40PM (#5968941) Homepage Journal
      Who knows why people go through so much work to avoid work? I don't.
      Between high school and college, I used to be a cook. I had one waitress who would bellyache for 15 minutes about doing something that would take 30 seconds. I came up with a song, lets see how much I can remember...

      If you worked as hard as you bellyached,
      you wouldn't have time to complain.
      You wouldn't cuss and fuss,
      or make a muss
      causing trouble for the rest of us.

      If you worked as hard as you bellyached
      you wouldn't have time to complain.

      Well, that was some of the song. Enough on that tangent. We can all fake work and make the fake work. That is until the deadline is due.
  • by Isca ( 550291 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:44PM (#5968570)

    Add a bunch of fancy titles to your name, including every known Microsoft cert you can get by using cram session, and maybe some of the new Linux certs as well--- and "consult".

    Leave the real work for the grunts whom you are helping, and learn how to ask open ended questions to techs who don't express themselves like "normal" people do, so that they come up with their own answers. Don't forget, if you get into a bind, you can always check your resources and go ask on the internet, and just bring them back the emails/posting using the biggest words. More than likely this will cause a light bulb to go off above those tech's heads, and they will go code away for you. (While you consult with that cute secretary down the hall, of course!)

  • Not All That Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zentec ( 204030 ) <zentecNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:44PM (#5968572)

    Articles like this may seem cutesy, but the sad fact is that corporate leaders see this and assume all IT workers are/can or will do this. This furthers the mistrust some corporate types have of IT managers and workers.

    Worse, it'll make it easy for corporate leaders to rationalize moving *YOUR* IT job to India. The article doesn't seem too funny now, does it.
  • Grrr (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcpkaaos ( 449561 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:44PM (#5968573)
    Damnit, my boss is a /. reader. Thanks for blowing my cover Taco! =P

    --
    mcpsoaak
  • I use remote control software to get my PC to play an audio file of snoring right after lunch. That way everyone will think I'm right here in my office, taking the usual nap.

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:46PM (#5968585)
    Don't have it automagically send out on the tens or fives.

    I liked to keep it on the odd minutes.

    1 am is nothing, the 3 or 4 in the morning message have that feeling of really busting your ass.

    I always liked Apple Remote Desktop for my control the machine from afar.

    Hell I could sit at my Mac at home, remote in, turn on Virtual PC and admin the Novell Network.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:46PM (#5968588) Homepage Journal
    (Un?)wittingly copied to /. of course. They manage to plug the RIM BlackBerry Handheld, GoToMyPc.Com, and Yahoo By Phone -- even going so far as to provide prices for the latter two items. Unfortunately the wsj does not appear to have an online advertisers index so I can't just look it up.
  • by EMDischarge ( 589758 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:47PM (#5968596)
    The sudden realization of the real reason behind all the dupes on Slashdot... posted by Taco, nonetheless.
  • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:48PM (#5968601)
    I really don't care how hard you work as my employee. All I care about is results. If I need a project working flawlessly by next week, and its done, I don't care if you spent half the time playing Quake.
    As a programmer myself, I know that code often gets done in spurts, and that a break (especially a nap!) can improve productivity quite a bit.

    The problem is there are some people who can do it, and some that cant. If you aren't the type that can do it, you really can't fake it. The people you work for and work with all know what needs to get done. They won't be fooled by late night emails. When the due date arrives and you arent done, they will know you weren't up to snuff.
    • by enkidu ( 13673 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:05PM (#5969071) Homepage Journal
      Hey you sound like my ideal boss. Actually, my current manager is pretty close to ideal. In work, I want three things from a manager:
      1. Give me interesting, challenging work.
      2. Give me honest feedback on how I'm doing.
      3. Keep people (including my boss) from interfering with me and my work.

      In return I do the following:

      1. Do the work expected of me to the best of my ability.
      2. Keep the boss informed as to what I'm doing and how it's going.
      3. Give him honest feedback on him and my work.
      I've given this mini-spiel at every interview I've had with whomever would be my immediate supervisor and I can get a good feel for what kind of company I'm interviewing at by their reaction.
    • As a programmer myself, I know that code often gets done in spurts, and that a break (especially a nap!) can improve productivity quite a bit.

      I think the key here is that YOU know that, but your BOSS may not, so by using these tricks, you can get your work done on time, take breaks (and naps) as needed, but trick your boss into thinking you've been working the whole time at the same slow plodding steady pace, because that's what bosses like.
    • It is good to see a manager / employer with a level head who likes to see results rather than reports and finger pointing. If I learned anything from the way my father treated his employees back in the day, is that employees with managers like that "shit gets done," rather than people getting away with "doing shit."

      The unfortunate thing is that sometimes when a company is large, employees can point fingers in circles when they need to explain why the work isn't getting done.

      It is completely amazing where
  • by stwrtpj ( 518864 ) <p,stewart&comcast,net> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:48PM (#5968608) Journal

    Had this article come out about a year ago, I might have used some of these techniques just to prove to some people I was doing the work that I was legitimately doing.

    On my present job, I am blessed with having a boss that allows me to set my own hours. I typically come in at the crack of dawn (6 AM), have lunch at my desk, and leave by 2:30PM. Combine this with needing only 5 hours of sleep a night and it gives me lots of free time (handy considering my wife and I have a new house with landscaping that is in awful shape, so I suppose "free time" is really a misnomer here :) ).

    About a year ago, though, I had trouble with people from other groups thinking I wasn't working my 40 hours a week (which I was), and a whispering campaign started. My boss fortunately stood up for me, since she knows I work those hours, but I had to prove it to everyone else. So I got in the habit of answering all my email from the previous day the moment I got in at 6AM.

    Finally one of the ones that I suspect complained about me tested me by coming in early and dropping in at my desk at 6:15 AM. Surprise, surprise, I was actually there like I said all along.

    I haven't had any trouble since.

    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:12PM (#5968786) Journal
      Lots of technical people have the opposite problem - they're not working 6am-2:30pm, they're working 11-9, and getting criticized for slacking by the kinds of people who think arriving before 8am and leaving by 5:02pm is the way to work hard and don't know or care how late you're working because they've stopped thinking about work by 5:01pm. Sometimes you get their attention about this by sending them email at 8pm, though it can be more effective with some of them to leave voicemails (if your voicemail system gives timestamps, which most seem to.)

      This is especially a problem for programmer-types who need to get uninterrupted concentration, and can't do that in the daytime because they have cubicles rather than offices.

      I tend to check my email before going to sleep, and one of my coworkers in Boston often gets started early in the morning - we've had email conversations at 2am on occasion.

      • This is actually a classic management problem.

        The fault lies NOT in the worker, or the worker's needs to set certain hours.

        The fault lies in the management and the business process, for failing utterly to provide accurate metrics on productivity. This is a basic need of business that simply is not met in MOST environments I'm familliar with. So they attempt to measure worker productivity via inappropriate methods like: hours worked and MLOCs. (Millions of Lines Of Code).

        But should engineering majors r
  • dupe!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by stonebeat.org ( 562495 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:49PM (#5968613) Homepage
    Scott Adams has covered this topic many a times in several of his books and comics :)
  • Amateurs (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pointy_Hair ( 133077 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:49PM (#5968617)
    Regular readers of the WSJ don't need this advice any more than /. readers.

    Most have trancended to such an advanced state of slacking that they can appear/disappear at their desks at will. They can read e-mails via mind control, and need no lowly cheater devices. Mere mortals fear their omnipresence! Bwahahahaaahahaa!

    I don't know why I know that.
  • by planux ( 598669 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:50PM (#5968621) Journal
    Irony: When slashdot posts an article about avoiding work.
  • by gklinger ( 571901 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:52PM (#5968640)
    George Costanza (from Seinfeld [imdb.com] in case you've been living in a cave) said the best way to fake that you're working hard is to look angry and/or frustrated.

    As ridiculous as it sounds, it works.

    Of course, George didn't seem to have that much success at work so YMMV on this nugget of advice.

  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <giles.jones@zen . c o .uk> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:53PM (#5968651)
    Then spend a year surfing the web to test it :)
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:58PM (#5968691) Homepage Journal
    I read this somewhere on the 'net, so don't give me credit for it.

    Step 1: You must have an office with a door, otherwise this won't work.

    Step 2: Scatter some paper clips about the office, making sure to get some under your desk.

    Step3: Close the door and lie down on the carpet. Place your feet firmly on the door and reach for a paperclip under your desk.

    Step4: Sleep the day away.

    If someone should try and opne your door, you will be jarred awake and you can say that you dropped some paper clips and were just reaching for them.

    --

    From my own personal experience, this works very well.
    • by anonymous loser ( 58627 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:06PM (#5969072)
      [sound of door hitting me]
      Me: *groan*...oh, hi Bob, I was just picking up some paper clips!
      Bob: Do you realize you have 3 of them stuck to your face?
    • 15. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

      14. "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the last time management course you sent me to."

      13. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper"

      12. "I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm!"

      11. "This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!"

      10. "I was testing the keyboard for drool resistance"

      9. "Actually I'm doing a "Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan" (SLEEP) I learned it at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend.

      8. "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work related stress."

      7. "Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

      6. "The coffee machine is broken...."

      5. "Someone must've put decaf in the wrong pot."

      4. "Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won't wear off!"

      3. "Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the workaholic!"

      2. "I wasn't sleeping, I was trying to pick up contact lens without hands."

      And the #1 Thing to Say If You Get Caught Sleeping at Your Desk is...

      1. "Amen..."
  • My secret (Score:3, Informative)

    by codexus ( 538087 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @05:59PM (#5968696)
    This one is simple but it really works. It comes from two simple observations:

    - If there are serious looking stuff on screen and you use the keyboard a lot, it looks like you're working.
    - Your boss has probably no idea what you're doing with all the terminals windows. (Besides if you're like me they are using tiny characters that can only be read by the one sitting in front on the monitor)

    So just use lynx to browse the web, (re)play the great classic infocom games, code fun little games and then do the gameplay tests, read ebooks. Just make sure that emacs is open with the current official coding project loaded and NOT always on the same page.

    Easy, have fun!

  • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:00PM (#5968702) Homepage Journal
    Faking it does not work. Most of these techniques are the pathetic kind of thing that only fools the person playing the trick. Notice the dummy remote controling their windoze desktop got canned. This also made me laugh:

    "If you're a boss, and you send e-mails at all of hours of the night, the subtle message you're sending employees is, 'I'm working, why aren't you,' " says Anne Warfield, a career coach in Edina, Minn.

    Poop. If I believe the email time was not caused by exchange choking all day on viruses, I conclude that the boss does not have his shit together. These days everyone is just hanging on to their job at companies and you are lucky if your company is at 60% capacity. The only reason to work late is make work, usually the kind that's laid down to make life hell before firing a bunch of people.

    There is no substitute for real work and everyone knows the difference between it, slacking and make work.

    I'm not recomending that everyone "wipe the counter" whenever they are underutilized, but cleaning the desk is not a bad idea. Everyone has some down time, and NYC desks are filthy. When that five minute's worth of work is done, there are plenty of things to do with yourself besides sit in a dinner for three hours. You might read trade publications, email your family, hit slashdot and do other normal things. Sitting in a dinner for three hours, that's like punishment.

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:03PM (#5968721) Homepage Journal

    Ever had this happen to you?

    * On a project deadline, they feel your timeline to build the servers can be cut down from a 2 weeks to day, to make the project on time?

    * Engineering forces a product down your throat, best of the customer blah blah. And forget to include an admin interface? Places the server 150 miles away, and puts it in a DMZ so you cant remotely manage it.

    * Vendor builds a unix box, on the oldest version of an os known to man, and wont run any standard tools, and the only monitoring is a log file with "ERROR" in it.

    * Customer is down, on a new service that dropped form the sky into your lap... No support tools, no access, and your Manager is asking why you are taking so long. Dont even think of asking for documentation.

    * Your manager learns a new technology buzzword, and all the sudden, you have 10x more paperwork, and nothing has changed.

    * The software you run crashs all the time, causing outages. The vendor blames you, and points to internal documentation they wrote "last week".

    * Vendor A blames Vendor B for not following the SPEC, but your service is down, and neither will help you get it back in service.

    * You call Tech support in the middle of the night to find out your contract number isnt correct, doesnt matter you are the biggest customer and have super duper platnium support. Call back tomorrow.

    * In all staff meeting, managlement tells the staff about new work methods, which happen to just only affect you.

    * You ask a question to one manager, and 2 hours later, an All Employee email goes out about the same subject, that everyone should have already known!

    * You accept a new project, no training, no tools, no documentation, and its now production. Then they fire the Project Manager, Engineer and consultants the day after.

    * Marketing sells wizzbang new product, forgetting to see if its really possible.

    I tell you, the reason Dilbert and BOFH are so popular, its almost like real life....
  • by TheAwfulTruth ( 325623 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:07PM (#5968754) Homepage
    That was maybe 20% of a real story. None of those methods could be used more than a couple times before you got caught. Send mail at 2am, then the guy that really was there at 2am tells the boss you weren't there. Doh! And one of the examples wasn't even trying to get away with anything but was a great example of being able to stay in touch even while away!

    And don't think your hard working peers will let you get away with it either. Good luck with that slacking guy, I'll just take your job when your booted out thank you!

  • by jrl87 ( 669651 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:13PM (#5968799)
    I'm sure there's one out there somewhere (in a galaxy far, far away).

    Seriously, there's got to be a way to trick everyone into thinking that you are at school while your at home coding or whatever.
  • by brer_rabbit ( 195413 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:14PM (#5968804) Journal
    the other day I was playing nethack at work, thinking that if I'm going to play a game it ought to be one without fancy graphics or anything too out of the ordinary from typical unix like work.
    A couple minutes later the boss walks by my desk, drops his jaw in amazement and says, "Is that Rogue???" He was fairly impressed having not seen the game in years and asked for a copy of the source code.
  • Job Saver (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dwedit ( 232252 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:15PM (#5968808) Homepage
    I remember an old Windows 3.1 program called Job Saver. It came in the book Windows Sound Funpack as shareware. It played .wav files randomly, with specified frequency (how often), and among the default sounds were 3 different wavs of keyboard clicks, coughing, throat clearing, and computer beeps. It could be set to go off automaticly at after a certain time of Inactivity.

    Not sure if anyone actually tried it at work though :) Google isn't turning up anything on it, so it seems to have disappeared.
  • right... (Score:3, Funny)

    by mschoolbus ( 627182 ) <{travisriley} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:16PM (#5968815)
    Crack the settings in your Instant Messenger program and disable the "idle" feature, which tells coworkers if you're online. (In AOL Instant Messager programs, go to "preferences," then "privacy.")

    I thought this is aimed at people who use computers at work, not retards?
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:17PM (#5968818) Homepage Journal
    ... then the employer is screwed anyway. Only a totally mismanaged outfit would judge an employee by how busy they look. If management actually cares about whether employees are earning their pay, they're keeping close track of what they're working on and whether they're delivering on time. They're not going to be fooled by Ferris Bueller tricks.
    • by Snoopy77 ( 229731 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:37PM (#5968930) Homepage
      I would like to welcome the /. community to my work place then. About the time I started here (3 and a bit years ago) my company have been trying to get more productivity out of a certain co-worker (I user the term worker quite liberally here). It is now at the stage where I check my watch against him. When he arrives at work it must be 10:30am unless it's Tuesday in which case it is 11:30am. When he goes to lunch it is 12:50pm (in order to beat the rush). When he's finished his lunch and starts proclaiming to the office the latest whacky news stories it's about 1:10pm. When he calls up his friend it's 1:30pm. When he finishes his call it's 2:00pm. When he finally asks someone for help calling a method of an object (cause he can only program in Fortran) it's 3:00pm. And you know it is 5:00pm when he makes his grand departure. Drink breaks are taken every hour on the hour.

      This guy doesn't even bother faking it anymore! Rumoour has it that he is writing his own science fiction novel (no joke). I'm guessing the title will be 'Timesheets' (bad joke).
  • by R33MSpec ( 631206 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:18PM (#5968827) Homepage
    Typically, if you haven't touched your computer in a while, the people you chat with online see an "idle" message next to your name. Diehard slackers can crack into the program settings to make themselves appear perpetually available.

    Sheesh, in MSN you can "crack" this setting by going into Options and unchecking the checkbox for 'My Status'

    i.e. setting "Show me away when i'm inactive for 'x' minutes.

    I wish 'cracking' other Microsoft products were this easy ... hang on ...
  • E-Mail Timers
    Yeah. Okay. Most users barely know how to send regular e-mail.

    BlackBerry
    That's why bb mailboxes are separate from regular mailboxes.

    GoToMyPc.Com
    Aside from probably getting you fired, every good admin blocks crap like this at the firewall. The only out from your PC is through the proxy and firewall. The only way in leads to the DMZ.

    Instant Messaging
    Also blocked at the firewall. Get to work!

    Yahoo By Phone
    You can't forward your mail an SMTP address, only local accounts.

    Call Forwarding
    Not our phones.
  • by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:35PM (#5968915)
    According to George Costanza, the best way to fake it is to look and act annoyed. And, quite honestly, it works. Just sigh a lot and run your hands trough your hair (or lack thereof). People always think that you're working hard if you're annoyed.
  • A Little Trick... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rbilli ( 325613 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @06:40PM (#5968940)
    ...I use is to set the timer in the BIOS to boot the computer at 0900. When I roll in around 0920 it looks like I've already arrived and I'm just away from my desk somewhere.
  • Rookies... (Score:3, Funny)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:02PM (#5969052)
    Way back when a Mac Plus was state of the art, there was a Space Shuttle simulator/game, that had a panic button for when the boss walked by. Hit that button, and a fake spreadsheet would cover the screen. :)
    • Re:Rookies... (Score:3, Informative)

      by marko123 ( 131635 )
      And MacPlaymate, on the first macs, which had drag-n-drop playtools for a line-drawn nudie.
      God, the audio in that kicked arse at the time. Of course, the boss screen was a plain old spreadsheet.
      Unfortunately, I was at school at the time, and we didn't use the macs for spreadsheets, so it was pretty useless.
  • My tricks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joshv ( 13017 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @07:02PM (#5969053)
    1. Deactivate the screen saver and energy saving features of the monitor. This gives your cubicle that fresh 'just stepped out' feeling all day long. No need for remote control products. If you don't like leaving your computer unlocked, set the screensave to a screenshot of your desktop with some important looking spreadsheet open.

    2. When leaving early, use the stairs, or if in a taller building use the stairs to go to another floor to wait for the elevator. Nothing like getting caught by the boss at the elevator banks at 4:15.

    3. If you can, ride your bike in to work every once in awhile. You'd be suprised how impressed people are by that shit. It gives the impression that you are dedicated and athletic - the boss will think that these qualities will transfer to your office work - coworkers will think you have a life outside of work, and be jealous, thus increasing your status in their eyes. Make sure to leave your bike helmet and gear prominently displayed in your cubicle to maximize the benefit.

    4. Use dialup and remote control products to send emails on the weekend. The time of an email can be too easily overlooked - the date not so much. It's easy to log on for a few minutes on the weekend. Saves some Friday emails to respond to.

    5. The time you leave work is much more important than the time your arrive. Nobody cares that the idiot that leaves at 3:30pm actually gets into work at 6am - the general perception will be that he's a slacker. Even if you get in at 10am, if the boss sees you hanging around at 5:45pm, you'll look dedicated.

    6. Try not to carry a backpack or bag - on days when you don't need a coat this allows you to enter late without making it look like you just got there.

    7. If you are planning to be late, call people and leave random unimportant voicemails early in the morning. When you see them at 10am they'll think you were there all along (note, some voicemail systems reveal the source of the call, so be careful).

    8. Slacking in the middle of the day is much better than showing up late or leaving early. People are paying the most attention in the morning and at quitting time. Arriving early and leaving late will give the semblance of dedication, even if you are taking 2 hours lunches, and hour long trips to the bookstore in the afternoon.

    9. Find a sleep hideout. Most places, especially larger corporate offices, have some nook or cranny where nobody goes in the afternoon. Maybe it's a corner of the caffeteria, or perhaps a storeroom somebody forgot to lock. These places are great for sleeping off a hangover, or just reading the newspaper when doing so at you desk would be too conspicuous.

    10. When pushed for work, create documentation. Management loves documentation, and doesn't realize how little time it takes to create. A well formatted ten page document with a table of contents and some nice graphics might take a day to create, but the boss can easily be convinced you've been working on it for many days. Frequently submit 'drafts' to the boss (which he will never read) - this will make the boss feel guilty for holding you up, and give you an excuse to take more time.
    • Re:My tricks (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EmagGeek ( 574360 )
      "3. If you can, ride your bike in to work every once in awhile. You'd be suprised how impressed people are by that shit. It gives the impression that you are dedicated and athletic - the boss will think that these qualities will transfer to your office work - coworkers will think you have a life outside of work, and be jealous, thus increasing your status in their eyes. Make sure to leave your bike helmet and gear prominently displayed in your cubicle to maximize the benefit."

      == snip

      I do this every single
  • my technique (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gyratedotorg ( 545872 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:13PM (#5969457) Homepage
    get a job doing something you enjoy.
  • by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) * on Thursday May 15, 2003 @08:18PM (#5969480)
    If you really think that the corporate world doesn't know the producers from the dead-weight, especially in _this_ economy, you're sorely mistaken. I get projects thrown at me almost daily, and right now I wouldn't have it any other way. Right now, I consider myself _privileged_ just to have a job (and doing what I enjoy I might add); and as such I'm busting my hump just to help my company (and my job) achive it's goals.

    The slackers out there that are hiding behind their bash scripts, are sure to be disovered and their jobs are sure to get passed along shortly thereafter.

    I'm not quite sure what the Win/MCSE crowd is going to do though. I highly doubt that Win/MCSE certification/experience are going to be in high demand anytime soon...

    Especially with *nix/*BSD kicking in the door like it apparently has been.

  • by drgroove ( 631550 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:10PM (#5969633)
    ...by Jason Blair, formally of the NYT
  • by elmegil ( 12001 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:27PM (#5969713) Homepage Journal
    Forward your office e-mail to a Yahoo address. When you travel out of e-mail reach, you can call in to make sure you're not missing anything urgent.

    Most places, this will get you fired as soon as confidential/company proprietary info gets forwarded outside the firewall and you get caught.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @09:44PM (#5969787) Journal
    I do not know about you all but I get anxious and bored without doing anything in the office. I can not sit still knowing things need to done while I am taking money from them.

    Yes sometimes you need a break every couple hours so I tell my boss. A good one will know that it will increase productivity. I am not a workaholic but I love the satisfaction when I am done.

    Its great to kill time and I do not feel uncomfortable doing it obviously. After all someone is paying you? How does it feel that someone is handing you money while you do nothing?

    If you were at a Mcdonalds and ordered a BigMac, would you be happy seeing the staff just sit there after you paid the cashier? Same is true from a company owner or manager standpoint.

    I have no respect for people who do this. Especially in this economy like another poster mentioned "gives an incentive to kick your job to India". American workers are more productive if they have more experience but if they do not apply themselves what is the point? Would not Indians will provide a better value then?

    Its also not fair that I am unemployed, applying to subway and starbucks, and live at home with my parents in total missery, while those reading this make 65k a year and piss off on the job. I would work for 20k right now doing help desk type stuff.

    Hmm, come to think of it, if any Las Vegas employers need help and are having trouble with slacking employee's feel free to respond. :-)

  • by SurfTheWorld ( 162247 ) on Thursday May 15, 2003 @10:13PM (#5969894) Homepage Journal
    Some employees are hard working, self motivated go-getters that are willing (under the correct circumstances) to burn the proverbial "midnight oil" in order to accomplish a goal. Other employees are pay-check collectors that look for hand-outs and will come up with a dozen excuses of why they can't accomplish their assignment in a reasonable amount of time.

    What I've learned is that you'll never convert members of the latter group into members of the former. Very rarely does a slacker suddenly find inspiration and become a hard worker. I'm sure this isn't news to whoever might be reading this.

    But why do we (as members of the hard working croud) care? Assuming a strong ethical standard exists in your management chain, slackers will either be terminated or reassigned to meaningless tasks while you enevitably rise up to the next level of the food chain. So what good does it do you (other than personal frustration over seeing a coworker shirk while you work your tail off) to try to convert those that don't want to be converted? Come on, give up!

    On the other hand, hard workers can easily by exploited if the management chain is also a collection of slackers. In this situation they will either be slow to recognize your talent and hard work, or what's worse they'll recognize and exploit it (that's when you get pigeon holed into a task you don't necessarily enjoy or feel passionate about, but are responsible enough to take up the reigns because "it has to be done by someone"). When this happens, *you* (the reader) become the sucker in the situation, and need to find a new job.

    Don't let yourself be taken advantage of as a hard worker when all around you are putting their AIM clients on "Always Active" - find a new job. Until you do that you will never be happy.

    Hope this helps someone...

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