Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If I Were Working...

I'd be relaxing in my office right now with my second cafe mocha browsing Gawker to get their take on Tara Reid entering rehab.  Instead, it's 9:33 am, I've already been up for more than three hours, made breakfast for two babies, changed five -- yes, count'em five -- diapers, cleaned smooshed banana off a dancing Elmo and performed various other mundane tasks with which I won't bore you.  Working -- and I'm fairly certain here -- is much easier.  You breeze in around 9:03 am --late but not late enough that someone could call you out on it without looking petty.  You're almost finished with the Starbucks you bought on your way in so around 9:20 you need to run downstairs for a fresh one.   You see some people down there and bitch for a bit about that stickler Lenny in Accounting who questioned the $330 bar bill on your expense report.  By the time you get back to your office at 10:05, Gawker has several new posts to read and then at 10:45 you start thinking about doing some work. But now it's almost lunch time so why bother getting wrapped up in a project when your concentration will be broken and you won't even remember where you left off by the time you saunter back in from lunch a few minutes after 2?  All in all, I figure most people -- and these are the ambitious ones -- get no more than two hours of work done each day.  And I think this goes without saying, I was never one of the ambitious ones.

My uncle gave me some priceless advice when I graduated from college:  Always carry a large box around with you and say things in an urgent manner such as "Sam needed this like yesterday!" and rush out the door as though your life depended on it.  He always kept a large box in his car in case he was late. People assume your lateness is directly correlated to the box and tend not to ask questions.  A few of his other rules for workplace success:

--Work your ass off the first two months and people will forever think you are a star.  Then you can coast for the next 20 years.  This is based on some psychological theory that people don't like to admit, even to themselves, that their first impressions were wrong.
--Have a partner in crime, so to speak.  For example, you switch off days not showing up at the office. Your partner turns on your computer and throughout the day puts a steaming cup of coffee on your desk, remnants of a half-eaten sandwich and so forth.  "Oh, you just missed him!  He went rushing off that way with a large, important-looking box" your parter might say to your boss.

--Whenever possible, take a job where your boss is not in the same office as you are. Better still if he or she is not on the same continent.  Think global companies where you are but a speck among 2,000 other specks the international sales vice president must oversee.

Incidentally, his theories seem to work: my uncle has a sweet job working from home making six figures. I'd try them myself but my current bosses are not only on the same continent but live in my home and didn't seem deterred in wanting my attention when I scurried past them toting a large box.