The Members' Blog
10 Ways to Look Busy and Avoid Being Fired
1. Rush Everywhere
Run up the stairs. Fly by Amanda at Reception with a quick cheery “How are you?” but be sure not to wait for her answer. When someone senior appears, break into a semi trot. Before they say anything, assault them with “Catch up when things die down a little. Unreal how busy things are. Gotta keep going” Then accelerate hard down the corridor adjusting your tie frequently.
2. Have a Bulging Diary
It used to be that beautiful leather notebook since replaced by the tablet. Still, a folder bursting at the seams with post its, sticky bits and more gets you off to a flying start.
Open your oversized diary in full view of the client or Boss and make sure you have filled every page with impressive appointments. You know the sort – 6am Global Company 1. At 9am Global Conference Call. 11am Department of Defence Confidential Briefing. 12 noon ‘Top Secret’ Lunch with Senior Vice President. 3pm Contract Signing meeting. 4-7:30pm Client meetings.
Repeat the process for the ensuing 3 weeks and then ask your client “When would you like to meet again?”
3. The Pinging Tablet
It’s hard to make a Tablet look stuffed but you can still make it look busy. Some Apps intermittently send bulletins even when your tablet is snoozing. Turn it low and the erratic musical notes indicating a traffic jam on the M11 give the impression of an urgent cryptic message.
A quick glance at the intruding Tablet immediately, after the drum roll, is all about timing. You must glance in less than 1 second and appear dismissive for the next 3.
A subtle sigh copper fastens the point.
4. Phone a Friend.
Better still, have the friend phone you but, before he does, make sure your phone is on silent and vibrate. A vibrating call every 120 seconds will be very impressive. Better still, let the phone shake away on his desk but refuse to glance at it, acknowledge it or be phased by it. It’s the norm after all.
5. Imaginary Phone Call No.1
Your Boss is about and business is bad. He approaches. Stand up quickly, pick up the phone and talk loudly. Lines like “6am is absolutely no problem Mr. Smith. I’m at the Gym for 5am every morning. See you then”.
Maintain the dialogue until The Boss loses patience. Then, with a bewildered look, mime at the Boss “Him or Me?” (It will always be ‘Him’)
6. Imaginary Phone Call No.2
Suspicious, he’s back again and your Boss is getting far too close for comfort and starting to hang around way too much. You need to buy time. With the phone at your left ear, place your right hand over your brow, tilt your head forward and speak in soft serious tones. Frequently maintain long pauses, shaking your head from side to side and occasionally jumping in with“Oh No. Oh My God, that’s unbelievable”
Liberally sprinkled with “I understand, I understand” or “Of course, naturally”
Repeat the process until the Boss leaves. Observe his reverent backward shuffle and sympathetic nodding. This tactic must only be used twice a year.
7. The 5pm Phone Call
You want to go home early even though everyone knows you always do. Grab your trusty phone and, in a loud voice say “Not at all Mr. Jones, Not at all, if I leave now, I’ll be with you at 6pm and it’s not at all inconvenient” Then pause, followed by “Oh please don’t worry about the traffic, its fine, I’m so used to rush hour”
Walk, don’t run.
8. Windmill Hands
Nobody wants to get too close to a windmill.
You’re on one of those imaginary calls. Stand up. Drag the phone as far as the extension lead will allow and be as dramatic as you possibly can with your hands. Add in occasional “but, but, but” and more “I completely agree with where you’re coming from but we just wouldn’t allow that” Make sure all comments are vague. Some supportive, some despairing and some non-negotiable.
If anyone in authority comes any way close, use the palm of your hand to signal “Not now” or, if you prefer “Calm down, quiet please” It’s very helpful if you synchronise your shoulders slow repetitive movements to emphasise the need to tip toe.
9. The 6:45pm Departure
Sometimes, just sometimes, you might need to stay late just to look like you’re committed. The car park, as you’d expect, is in full view of the MD’s office. He’s still there. You know he can see you. You leave at 6:45pm. Every bone in your body wants to sprint to your car. Don’t. Instead, take off your jacket, loosen your tie and walk funeral slow to your car. Open the door but, instead of getting in, lean on it, breathe deeply and admire the view. Drive off as slow as hearse and don’t put the boot down until you’re out of sight.
10. The Weekend Exit
In a loud voice, unsolicited, practice your own comfortable version of the following;
“Thank God it’s Friday, what a busy week.
I must say, I’m really looking forward to this weekend. What are you all up to? I’m off to Oxford for a really exciting weekend Seminar on personal development and continuous learning. I just can’t wait”
Then, remember Point 1 and get out of there as quick as you can.
Copyright: Conor Kenny
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