Quotes that Say Something

"Please, dad, get down and look. I think there's some kind of monster under my bed."

Life when seen in close-up often seems tragic, but in wide-angle it often seems comic. -- Charlie Chaplin

"And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear, you shout, but no one's there to hear. And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." -- Roger Waters, "Brain Damage"

Mar 24, 2015

Cyberloafing, Skiving, and Other Workday Amusements

A Guide to Skiving

or Thrive at Work with a Minimum of Effort

Blogger Says: The source here is The Economist (Issue 24 Oct 2014). This humorous article makes key points about cyber-loafing dodging responsibilities while on the job, among other salient topics. ------ Yours as always, Butch Ekstrom

The best way to understand a system is to look at it from the point of view of people who want to subvert it. 

Sensible bosses try to view their companies through the eyes of corporate raiders. Serious-minded politicians make a point of putting themselves in opponents’ shoes. The same is true of the world of work in general: the best way to understand a company’s “human resources” is . . . to study the basic principles of skiving.
(A) The first principle of skiving (or shirking, as Americans call it) is always to appear hard at work. 
This is the ancient jacket-on-the-back-of-the-chair trick: leave a coat permanently on display so that a casual observer — a CEO practising “managing by walking around”, for example — will assume that you are the first to arrive and the last to leave. 
The skill of skiving is subtle: ensure you are somewhere else when the work is being allocated. 
Successful skivers never visibly shy away from work: confronted with the inevitable they make a point of looking extremely eager. This “theater of enthusiasm” has fooled almost everyone. Policymakers bemoan the epidemic of overwork. But . . . studies suggest that the average worker devotes between one-and-a-half and three hours a day to loafing.
(B) The second principle is that information technology is both the slacker’s best friend and deadliest enemy. 
The PC is custom-made for the indolent: you can give every impression of being hard at work when in fact you are shopping, booking a holiday or otherwise frolicking in the cyber-waves. And thanks to mobile technology you can now continue to frolic while putting in face time in meetings. There is also a high-tech version of the jacket trick: program your e-mails to send themselves at half past midnight or 5:30 a.m. to give managers the impression that you are a Stakhanovite.
But, wait, there is a dark side to IT: one estimate suggests that 27 million employees around the world have their internet use monitored. Dealing with this threat requires vigilance: do everything you can to hide your browsing history. It may also require something that does not come naturally to skivers: political activism. Make a huge fuss about how even the smallest concessions on the principle of absolute data privacy will create a slippery slope to a totalitarian society. Skiving is like liberty: it can flourish only if Big Brother is kept at bay.
(C) The third principle is that you should always try to get a job where there is no clear relation between input and output. The public sector is obviously a skiver’s paradise. In 2004 it took two days for anyone to notice that a Finnish tax inspector had died at his desk. In 2009 the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration discovered that some of its employees had spent three-quarters of their working hours watching internet pornography. In 2012 a German civil servant wrote a farewell message to his colleagues, on his retirement, confessing that he had not done a stroke of work for the past 14 years. And it is almost impossible to sack (people like this).
Big private-sector organisations can be almost as fertile skiving grounds as government ones. 
In “The Living Dead” (2005), his memoir of life as an office worker, David Bolchover says that the amount of work he had to do was inversely related to the size of the company that he worked for. He started his career in a small firm where he had to work hard for no title and low pay. He ended working for a big company where he had a grand title and a fat pay packet but did almost nothing. But millions are perfectly happy to devote their lives to firm-financed leisure.
Hitherto skivers have focused on old-line companies where aging managers can be bamboozled with the claim that it is quite impossible to build an Excel spreadsheet in anything less than two weeks. But . . . the likes of Google and Facebook make the adult equivalent of children’s playgrounds . . . to provide their employees with an opportunity for relaxation between intense bursts of toil. But now that these companies are becoming bloated monopolists there is a perfect opportunity for canny skivers to take advantage of the nap pods without bothering with the frantic work. 
Cyber-loaf your way to the top ?     
(D) The final principle of skiving is that you should not allow your preference for leisure to limit your ambition. Too many skivers are still bewitched by the old myth that there is a connection between effort and reward. 
There are . . . studies of skiving -- it is most prevalent at the very top and bottom of the pay scale. 
The trick is to be brimming over with clever ideas for other people to execute! 

And when you become a manager your problems are solved: you can simply delegate all your work to other people while you spend all of your 'busy' days attending international conferences or “cultivating relationships with investors."


No comments:

Post a Comment