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How To Look Busy At Work

January 17th, 2008 · 12 Comments

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On Tuesday, I posted a link to a Wired article giving you tips on how to keep your boss from snooping on you at work.

A reader pointed out that if you scrolled down below that, you’d see a list of tips written by Dilbert creator Scott Adams entitled “Look Busy.”

So, I went to check, and sure enough, it’s there and it’s funny. Just so you don’t miss out on the ha-ha, h/t Scott Adams, How To Look Busy At Work:

Complain that you’re totally swamped at every opportunity. Use phrases like “up to my ass in alligators” and “jumping from one fire to another” to make your job sound kind of sexy and dangerous.

Carry a piece of paper wherever you go. To give yourself the necessary urgent facial expression and body language, imagine it’s something incredibly important, like a stay of execution from the governor.

Never clean your cubicle.
After all, if you had any spare cycles you wouldn’t let yourself live like a pig.

Emailing looks like work. Email friends and family often.

If you feel like talking instead of working, talk to your boss. That counts as work no matter what you’re chatting about. The ideal topic of conversation is how poorly all of your coworkers are performing.

If you wear glasses, leave an old pair on the desk as though you will be right back. Then go home.

Leave voicemails for coworkers at 1:00 am, even if you’re getting up just to take a whiz. If you really want to inspire awe, leave a message for your boss with your thoughts on the company’s outdated filing system at 11:30 pm on New Year’s Eve.

Be sure to get involved in unquantifiable projects. You want to be doing a lot of consulting and advising and attending. Avoid anything with a hard and fast deadline.

Learn to sleep with your back to the cubicle entrance. You’ll have to practice to keep your head from slumping over, but it’s worth it. If you can’t pull that off, try a neck brace painted the same color as your skin.

Bitch about your job as much as possible. This is considered work even though it’s fun.

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  2. 10 Places To Have Sex At Work

Tags: ... Or Hardly Working? · My Dumb Office · Productivity

  • Bobby

    Some of these are great in large settings but how do you look busy in a small office? I’ve tried some of these tactics but they make me look more crazy than busy because everyone knows I have nothing to do. Looking busy when everyone knows your not, that takes talent.

  • Brian

    Maybe you should just keep concentrating on looking crazy. That way people will leave you alone. :)

    Hey, keep watching. I’ll have a post later today that’s right up your alley.

  • Iain

    I look busy by posting fake web orders all day. he eh IAAAAAINNNNN

  • Swan

    I swan around all day

  • Dan Hosch

    Your comment: “Learn to sleep with your back to the cubicle entrance. You’ll have to practice to keep your head from slumping over, but it’s worth it. If you can’t pull that off, try a neck brace painted the same color as your skin.”

    Another: With your back to the cubicle entrance, leave a Bible open on your desk in front of you. Then, when you get caught napping with your head down, just say, “Amen”.

  • Bill

    I captured a bunch of different screens (spreadsheet, docs., email, anything official) and played them back as a slow screensaver slideshow. Nobody ever figured out I’d gone home.

  • luke

    lol i like the bible one because it’ll be like

    “oh did i disturb you?”

  • k-luv

    Collate. I believe that is the word for putting together packets of paper and stapling them for later distribution. That is one way I keep busy. Paper is neatly stacked just everywhere, the office smells like hot toner, and the copier is just a whirring away. And I be loaded down with a box of staples. “Pow pow pow.” for as long as I want til I had enough. Hopes this helps you. Wear a look of concentration while doing this. And even though it looks like you are working, be taking a mental vacation. There are other things you can do to be working but “not” at the same time. Just Remember that productivity is key. Remain part of organizational goals. Do work, but be creative about it.

  • k-luv

    and also be neatly conservatively dressed. Ha-ha.

  • Jim Dandy

    Walk fast when going back and forth to the copy machine. It makes it look like you are in a hurry and nervous. Be a little late for any meeting…two or three minutes is the perfect timeing. Then come to the meeting and tell everyone you were on a much anticipated call. Keep a bottle of water handy and sprinkle it on your face and armpits and chest area to make it look like you are under pressure. Keep a bottle high blood pressure pills on your desk for all to view as well as aspirins. Always bitch about not having enough money to pay your bills even though you wear brand name clothes and eat out every day.

  • shotgunshane

    when my boss is around I quickly search make me look busy on google…. this is what I found lol

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