How to Master the Art of Slacking Off Without Getting Canned

There's a fine art involved in becoming one of those employees who does little or no work, without being canned or reprimanded. That kind of master of ducking work has been called the 'Michelangelos of work avoidance,' reports Susan Adams in Forbes.

That title 'Michelangelos of work avoidance' was dreamed up by Eric Abrahamson, a professor at Columbia Business School. Abrahamson has researched how those artists manage to get paid and produce almost nothing or actually nothing. Here are some of their classic tactics:

1. Create illusion of being busy to the point of coming across as downright over-burdened.

Such can be easily accomplished through not emptying voicemail, being away from the desk [which others interpret as taking care other important business], and appearing hurried.

2. Make the time necessary to accomplish task seem much longer than it is.

Actually, this is standard in many professional services firms. Chiefs instruct rank and file to sit on an assignment in order that the client concludes it is complex and requires much time to complete.

3. Screw up.

Do a task poorly and you won't be asked to do it again. Be very selective when using this one, however. Remember the idea is to slack off, not get sacked.

4. Set up buddy system.

Each member of this team makes known how overworked other members are. Most will accept these claims at face value.

Good news for those who don't want to work or want to stop working while still getting paid. In a downsized organization like many are currently, those naive enough to work very hard in order to keep their jobs are too busy to notice who's not working.

Feel Like Slacking Off Now? Watch Some Office Humor:

Filed under: Employment News, Firings

Jane Genova


Jane Genova began focusing on transitions when the academic market collapsed as she was writing her dissertation in linguistics and literature at the University of Michigan.  After re-establishing herself in the public relations industry, she gradually published on the subject.  Her first piece was on The Professional Woman in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Since then, she co-authored the book THE CRITICAL 14 YEARS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE and myriad e-books and articles on career subjects ranging from emotional intelligence to aging.  In the 1980s she attempted another change by attending Harvard Law School.  She didn’t complete the degree but channeled that experience into maintaining a legal blog [] housed at the Library of Congress.

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Its always the good/hardworking employees that get the boot, while the lazy @sses and troublemakers get to stay. Alot of people lose their jobs due to unfairness,lies and supervisors not doing their job to correct the problem. They would rather see a employee get fired for no reason then to stand up to their coworkers.

December 12 2010 at 5:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It really depends on where you work if you will get caught. Two places that I have worked at have went to the eye in the sky,and big brother effect. They use the so called security cameras to keep a eye on the workers. First it was set up so home office could video chat with the managers online, then they decided to put in a video audio trap into the system where they could use the security cameras to keep a eye on all of the workers,and then put in hidden microphones at different places so they could pick up on what people were saying.
Now Homeland Security wants to get in the act and to be able to link the system to the D.M.V. system so they can take pictures of people shopping there and find out who they are.
Now as far as useing the security part of the system , the store can pin point any shoplifters with newer cameras and hook up thru the D.M.V. system and tell the police not only what was stolen , show better pictures of the shop lifter, and tell the police where they live,and what they drive.
What is even worse is depends on what companey that will use this system, they can allso go in and not only find peoples address, tag numbers,social security number, credit reports,and any bank account information.
When I was a kid there was a book out called 1984 ,and it talked about the same kind of system being used. I bet you did not know that everyday your picture is being taken with out you are even knowing it.Big Brother is watching, and if you want to keep your job, work and do your job, because there is allways going to be someone out there that will work for less than what you make.....

December 11 2010 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I bet there's TONS of unemployed people who would take the job and do it without slacking off and cheerfully! Seriously, telling people how to slack off at work when there are people out there who don't even have a job and can't find one....Ridiculous!!!

December 11 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Sometimes I have assignments and I don't get a deadline on them. I try to get back to the person and inquire about the deadline, but they often do not respond. When I know I have extra time, I do tell my supervisor and I also volunteer for other tasks.

December 11 2010 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This would have played well back in the '50s or '60s, perhaps in 'Reader's Digest,' when we were good natured and less serious about ourselves. But these days, we've become more Middle Eastern in character. Very rigid. Can't laugh other than to mock. We've lost a kind of rebellious, independent spirit we once displayed around bosses. And they've become more distant and harsh. Not to say we haven't always been hard working. It's only attitude I'm talking about.

December 11 2010 at 6:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I get paid very weakly ($7.50 an hour). How much effort do you really think I am putting into the job. My boss always tells me don't waste your time on nickle dime items when we are busy. I just remind him we don't want to lose any customer. Work like your paid.

December 11 2010 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Carry a clip board, look worried, walk fast. When ducking out: Leave a messy desk with a spare coat in your office, and a half-empty cup of coffee on the desk.

December 11 2010 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One only needs to remember who wrote this trash and for whom they work for!
BTW..I'm feelin kinda queezy using the word "whom" in my post. I'm thinkin it's correct. I know that some frustrated intellectual ding dong reading about how to successfully F' OFF at work comment on it's misuse.....Whom is such an anomly. YEAH..I KNOW I FORGOT THE A IN ANOMALY BIOTCH! LOL!!(i have too much time on my hands...)

December 11 2010 at 6:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What kind of IQ-challenged idiot would submit crap like this, passed off as "informative journalism"?

December 11 2010 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JEB BUCKINGHAM's comment

I'm so with you on this one! OMG! A training tip on how to be a loser! BTW I'm in mgmt. corp. foodservice...this could be part of their training......LOL!

December 11 2010 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


December 11 2010 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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