How to look busy

by Dan Zevin
Reprinted without Permission

Generally, this will not be a concern until you are promoted to an executive
position. But once you’ve created the illusion that you serve even the
slightest purpose at your place of “business,” there’s no telling how far
you’ll go. In the real working world, productivity is all a matter of

APPEARANCE: You are furiously taking notes while conducting an important
telephone marketing survey.
REALITY: You are pretending to take notes while talking to your friend who
has called collect from Bulgaria.

APPEARANCE: You are on the phone with a client in New York and you have
said: “Yes sirree! That stock is about to shoot through the roof, now’s a
great time to buy, I tell ya!”
REALITY: You are on the phone with a friend in Guam and you have said: “Yeah,
this job really sucks and my boss uses that spray pain on his bald sp… Yes
sirree! That stock is about to shoot through the roof, now’s a great time to
buy, I tell ya!”

APPEARANCE: You are at your computer writing a serious business memorandum
to your department supervisior.
REALITY: You are at your computer telling dead-baby jokes to your E-mail
correspondent in Namibia.

APPEARANCE: You are urgently plugging numbers into a complicated
REALITY: You are playing Tetris.

APPEARANCE: You are tapping away on calculator keys, helping out the
accounting department.
REALITY: You are paying your electric bill.

APPEARANCE: You are reading the DOS manual.
REALITY: You are reading the TV guide you placed in the DOS manual.

APPEARANCE: You are staring at an empty computer screen, absorbed in deep
REALITY: You have pressed “Escape” just in time, erasing a MacDraw portrait
entitled “Supervisor with Pitchfork Wound Clinging to a Cliff”

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