The Art of Feigning Intelligence (or Stupidity) to Avoid Work

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 8:58 PM EDT

Cluttered OfficeWhile many managers strive to increase their productivity and effectiveness, there is also a group that has simply grown adept at avoiding work at all costs. Two recent articles highlight different approaches that both accomplish the same goal. But make no mistake -- there is an art (and some hard work) at side-stepping responsibilities.

Jared Sandberg at the Wall Street Journal expresses it well in a recent article, "To learn something at the office can be difficult. But to refrain from learning something requires years of practice and refinement.""

On the flip side of this learned helplessness are seven extremely handy tips offered up at Business Pundit on ways to appear smart yet avoid all semblance of work, including:

  • Speak in tongues - Meaningless, circular conversation almost always works. Most people will sit quietly in a meeting, thinking you are wrong but afraid to call you out on it.
  • Focus on intangibles - If you make communication, goals, and results clear and direct, you are in danger of being held accountable.
Other ways to avoid work:
  • Fill your whiteboard with diagrams and made-up lists so others will think you are too busy to take on other projects.
  • Pad your inbox or leave stacks of paper scattered around the office.
  • Look harried and somewhat irritable all the time, muttering frequently about how busy you are.
So, while it may take some effort, you too can become the master of doing nothing in the office while still drawing a paycheck.

(Image of cluttered office by mknobil, CC 2.0)