Ode To The Indifferent

I spend a lot of time writing about work, life, finding your rhythm and remaining engaged in the dance.  Well, I think I owe the under-achievers among us a sincere, heart-felt apology.  I mean, what if you don’t want to be regarded as an outstanding contributor?  What if you don’t want Tony Robbins to change your life (well, he doesn’t do much for me either, so let’s move on)?  What if you just want to get by, listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ over and over again, hide under the desk until everyone’s left the office and then sneak out?  What if you see mediocrity as the goal, and barely-getting-by as the preferred course of action?  How have I helped you???  I fear, not at all.

Well, that changes today.  Yes, this is a bit self-serving for I always hope to expand my readership.  Of greater importance though is the transference of information I have gleaned over the years which may help you in your quest to achieve nothing while still receiving a paycheck.  I believe in you – you can do this.  All it takes is a minimal amount of effort.  Try the following:

–  As often as possible, tell as many people as possible how busy you are.  There are surprisingly very few folks in the workplace who realize that if you are able to talk about how busy you are, you’re probably not – so this is a pretty safe bet.

–  Suck up to your boss.  It isn’t necessary that you know exactly why you think s/he is terrific; no need to comment about skills of which you know nothing.  Just make sure you give  him/her sufficient ‘atta boys’ and ‘I’m with you’ and ‘I swear, I don’t know how you do it’ to make them feel your investment (even if you and I both know that your investment is de minimus).

–  Learn how to toggle from Facebook or YouTube to your work screens with incredible alacrity.  If you really want to achieve nothing, this is a critical skill that is worth spending some time developing.

–  Always offer to help others in your department – and then graciously explain that you would if you could, but you’re under the gun and won’t be able to assist right now.  Assure your colleagues that you’ll be there for them next time.  If you do this often enough, ‘next time’ will take care of itself.

–  Don’t engage in any gossip about your company and/or your boss.  The idea is to draw as little attention to yourself as possible – this one is a no-brainer.

–  Dress appropriately – by that I mean lots of beige, grey, ‘greige’ – anything that can help you get lost in the background of the office.

–  In team meetings, you should occasionally yell out “I was just going to suggest that!” when someone comes up with an idea that is met with enthusiasm.  Don’t do this too often, for you could appear more interested in what is going on than you really are, and we all know where that can lead.

–  Show up.  I actually had an employee tell me that she deserved her paycheck just because she showed up every day.  If she happened to do any work, that was icing.  True, she didn’t last very long but that’s another story.  Try not to get the flu on Thursday nights or Sundays – it’s too obvious.

Ok my friends, this was just a beginning.  I’m hoping others can add to this list.  If you find inertia difficult – just keep trying.  You know what they say – ‘If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average’.  Keep on not keeping on!!!

9 thoughts on “Ode To The Indifferent

  1. A mutual friend of ours, who shall remain nameless, described himself recently as “the most successful underachiever he has ever met”. So once again, today’s blog hit the target on the backs of too many employees out there. Hope they are as self-aware as our friend and maybe your words can provoke an epiphany for them to change. We can only hope, right? And , boy if this isn’t the time in our country’s history for people to wake up and do more than smell the coffee, I don’t know what is. Pearls of wisdom, as always. Love the fact you write pieces that are inclusive i to all skill levels of your audience. It’s like designing a differentiated lesson to assure that everyone learns something. Hope today is the day. 🙂

  2. I’m not sure that these posts are so instructive but I sure appreciate that you think so…:-) I know I learn something when I write them…sometimes I end up more in touch with what I was thinking than when I started out!

  3. Wow. Karma Truck towing the slackers. Add: leave your office light on and coat draped over your chair when you go home early…and others thnk you are elsewhere in building…

  4. I was once talking to an employee that was angry that she did not get a promotion. I explained the selection process to her and she did not seem to understand the concept that we awarded the position to the person we felt would do the best job. She stated with a straight face that the people that have been here the longest desever to be promoted before anyone that came after them. I chuckled because I thought she was joking, it took a minute a two before I realized that she was quite serious. Pretty sure I did not create a new fan that day.

  5. I think that exact scenario plays out more times than we care to imagine. Somewhere alone the way – whether because of silence on the subject or just plain explicit misunderstanding, many people believe that they are ‘entitled’ to a promotion because of tenure. While I’m all for employee retention, I too am opposed to giving someone a promotion ‘just because’. You may not have made a new fan that day – but I am sure you did someone a huge favor (even if s/he didn’t know it at the time).

  6. You are amazing Mimi–you have managed to articulate my random thoughts about my experiences with those whom hold mediocrity in high regard. Don’t forget the importance of implying that you were critical to the success of a project, while accepting the credit with fake modesty and magnaminously saying it was really a team effort. As you say, not so often that people start realizing you work there, but within a month or two of raise/bonus time. You’ll find me on the other side of the conference room rolling my eyes.

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