We've got nothing planned today, and we are not going to let anyone get in the way of that. Work Survival Guide. : Cannot Be Bothered

Work Survival Guide.


We live in a strange world where jobs outside the service industries adhere to rigid set hours, regardless of whether the time-span of the job reflects the amount of work required or not. This coupled with the fact that most jobs do very little to reward anyone for doing more work than the bare minimum*, leads to most of us having large portions of time in our work days in desperate need of killing.

This section of the site is a hunter’s guide full of tried and tested tips and techniques to make your working days go as quickly, and as painlessly as can be.

Soon you will be an expert in slaughtering as much time as possible whilst maintaining your image as a hard worker.

Work Survival Guide

Work as Hard as Possible^

This may seem shocking and to go against the whole ethos of this site, so please bear with me.

In working life it is important to bust your arse, be dedicated, focused, suck up to your boss, stay late if need be. Thankfully however, we only need do this for the first couple of weeks of starting a new job. It’s going to be hard, you are probably going to hate it**, but after this period has passed you can rest safe in the knowledge that for the rest of your tenure at whatever job you have settled for, things will only get easier.

Once you have proven yourself over this initial period, you will have earned a reputation as a hard worker, people will respect you. They should respect you, but they shouldn’t like you, not yet. Try to be polite and courteous, but also somewhat aloof. Avoid too much chit chat and remain somewhat distant. Now with the hard working period over you can start cutting back on the work and replace it with getting to know your colleagues; a beautiful bit of sleight of hand. Any attention that may have been aimed at your gradually slipping work-rate will instead be aimed towards getting to know the new guy who’s started making an effort – socially.

Even if this doesn’t work then you will still have that 2 week period to fall back on. People will assume that you are either having an off patch and will know that you are capable of working to that level again, or that the work you are doing now must be a lot more taxing. You will also find that after this 2 week period you pretty much know how to do the tasks assigned to you, therefore they require less effort and this relaxed work-rate won’t have such an impact.

Try to make this transition smooth and gradual, slipping in the odd burst of hard work for a day here and there doesn’t hurt, and you should soon be down to doing the bare minimum and able to use the following hints and tips.

Plan Your Day^

Much like the principle laid out for students revising, the only thing that gets me through my work is managing it into bite-sized chunks of time. In no way designed to increase productivity, this method helps the day go slightly faster by limiting the amount of work before a ‘treat’ down to 1 hour, at the most.

I will layout here how an average day may go, and then below you will see more in-depth guides.

Kill time at work

So, as you can tell, through many insightful jobs I really have learnt the importance of time management. I believe (and it has been argued by people much more intelligent than me) that most people could get their day’s work done in half the amount of time allotted. The rest is filled with meetings, asking people you don’t care about how their weekends went, and staring at the desk.

This system is designed to ride the waves of your attention span: cannot focus on your monitor as everything is a sleepy blur? Take a break and try again later. I find that waiting for the little bursts of energy I get and doing an intense amount of work in that small window is far more effective than slowly plodding along all day. As an endorsement of the following, I carry out all these tips, yet still doubling my targets at work and have never been fired from a job. It is not about working hard, it is about working smart.

Toilet Breaks

I often say that I hate all forms of work on this site, well I have a slight confession to make: that is not strictly true.

There is one thing that I get paid to do that I don’t mind, in fact I’d go as far as to say that I often enjoy it. That thing of course, is sitting on the toilet.

You see, I have trained myself to deal with all my week-day toilet breaks on company time. Some go to the toilet at lunch; more proof that I do not understand people at all. Why would you use your precious, unpaid time doing something that you could be paid for, whilst also eating into some of your boring work day?

This section may seem a little silly, but I take it very seriously, for example if I need the loo after I wake up, I will hold it in and suffer my journey to work through until 09:15 before I head to their facilities. This may seem crazy but by going as you arrive to work you will seem late, by 15 minutes in everyone will have clocked you as being there, and now you are free to head off for break number one. Not bad for 15 minutes of no work.

Taking it to the extreme some may say, well I say to them that I estimate that my toilet break system saves me around 30-45 minutes per day, impressive, easy results I am sure you’ll agree, and best of all, it is not breaking any rules whatsoever. This leads on to the next section…

Toilet Hints & Tips:^

As with most good systems, the above one is not without its risks. To combat these I have put together the following list of hints and tips to help you navigate the minefield of visiting communal toilets***.

Always sit down.

Why rush your break? Have a little sit down even if you are a man having a number 1, take a moment, send a text message or two (I really only text people from the toilet, I hope that isn’t a problem for anyone) and you won’t pee on the seat, or the floor (this happens a lot at my workplace, I love my life).
•Toilet Seat Subterfuge

On your exit, pop the toilet seat up. If you have to suffer the indignity of having someone come into the toilet as you are leaving, they will think that you just nipped in for a quick wee, and any odour lingering in the air must have been from the person before you.

This may seem like a simple trick, but I am convinced that it works. It would seem that most people don’t spend too much time pondering toilet politics. They take everything on face value: Toilet seat up = number 1. It is exactly this kind of character flaw that we must exploit.

•Increase Your Cultural Capital

This only came to me recently, and having left my old job this is no longer an option for me, so I hope someone can try this out and let me know how it goes. At home I never visit the toilet without something to read, sometimes I haven’t planned and it’s a mad dash around the flat to grab something, whether it be a book, a videogame manual, or the back of a shower gel bottle, the point is I wouldn’t dream of just…sitting there. However, at work you wouldn’t dream of having anyone see you mooching down the office towards the loo with some reading material under arm, and quite right; that would be a major faux-paus.
So my plan to rectify this is a simple one. If you have a toilet with those dreadful ceilings that are made of a grid with squares of what looks like polystyrene, you could easily stand on the toilet (one morning as you arrive at work) and lift one of the tiles up and leave some reading material sitting on the square next to it. No-one would ever look up there, and with each trip you could grab your book/magazine!
With the amount of time I spent on the toilet in my old job I probably could have read Jane Austen’s entire body of work in a month. Killing time, and fighting the killing of your brain cells, that is what this site is all about.

Stomach trouble.

This is more of a rare tip but a good one…My friend once suffered from genuine stomach troubles and spent at least half the day in the toilet, not much fun for him I am sure, but with it not being real you could get out of doing half of your work whilst simultaneously impressing your simple-minded middle management by your willingness to stay at work in spite of your illness.

Eat, Drink, And be Slightly Less Miserable^

• Eat outside of breaks.

This follows the same principle of the toilet trips, as in: don’t waste precious time during your lunch eating, when you could do it to help kill time in that agonising lead up to the break. In most jobs it seems that eating at your station is totally acceptable, and best of all; people still think that you are working, maybe even that you are so busy you cannot take a break, when in fact you are just…eating.

• Offer to get lots of drink rounds in.

People will love you for this and you will get even more regular breaks from your work involving a nice little wander around your workplace.
• Use a smaller mug.

Smaller mug = more breaks.

• Drink lots of water.

It is healthy and will lead to more toilet breaks! (see above)

Stay Late^

As mentioned in the intro; in this bizarre, unjust world we live in, jobs are mainly paid by the hour rather than on performance, a measuring stick that is often used is how much later than your normal working hours you are willing to stay.

So as often is the case on here, we just need to play them at their own game, use their limited powers of judgement against them.

Pick a day every now and then that you don’t have to do much that evening and stay fifteen minutes late. Spend that fifteen minutes doing something you’ve been meaning to do at home, write that complaint letter, phone up about your electric bill, or simply just stare at your desk. As long as you are walking out a noticeable amount of time after everyone else then you will be able to top up your reputation/lie as a dedicated member of the team whilst taking care of some odd job you have been putting off doing at home

Staying awake^

Something I really struggle with and would be happy for some outside input to help me with, but the following are a few small tips I find slightly useful when the monitor starts to blur and my eyelids feel heavier than an ox.

• Chew Gum

The stronger the better, menthol – brilliant. Anything to blast threw your sinuses and keep you going is good, plus the chewing action is something to focus on to keep those eyelids up.

• Ice cold water

This one came about when I was in an intimate training meeting with two other people and I was in one of those states where it was completely impossible to stay awake. I was falling asleep in front of the manager training me; not a great look for your first week. In a moment of quiet desperation I plunged my hand my the ice-cold water, it hurt after a while but it made it pretty difficult to fall asleep. Useful for tight spots like that, I would imagine it works with hot drinks too but I would not recommend that.

• Take a walk

Sometimes it takes a bigger person to admit defeat and walk away form a fight, so get up, take a pointless meander round the office, maybe even head to the loo and have a bit of a stretch. When you get back to tyour desk this should have bought you some well needed time.

Keeping Cool^

Along with friends, I have had the misfortune of working in some disgustingly hot workplaces in the past. They do not seem to understand the purpose of a thermostat, and the colder it is outside, the hotter the office must be to compensate. Window opening can be a no-no as it can create draughts too devastating for some. This all combined with a few women who think an office should be the equivalent temperature of their living room on the evening of Christmas day by, sitting by the fire, and thinking it preposterous that they should have to wear a jumper inside, have led to some severely unpleasant working environments. So here are a couple of desperate tips I have used in the past:

• Use a fan

It may seem obvious but get a fan; your workplace should supply

• Cold Water

Applying cold water on your wrists will rapidly cool you down. I would often pretend to spill some of the chilled water from the cooler on my desk so i could rest my wrist on the spillage. If you are lucky enough to have ice at your workplace, an ice fragment under your wrist is ideal.
• Turn off the radiators.

I used to do this a lot in my old job. Call me crazy but I thought it a little odd that they would have the heating on at the same time as the air-conditioning, all this whilst having signs up encouraging us to take the stairs not the lift so as to save the environment. I hope that place burns down. Anyway, I had a pretty good success rate with this, most people didn’t even notice. What I have noticed is that for a lot of people the temperature is entirely psychological; they just have to have something to moan about, if you can find a way to adjust the temp without them knowing you’ll be onto a winner.
• Form an Alliance

It seems that a lot of people are too scared to stand up to the warm-brigade in workplaces, but if you do a little digging and find some like-minded people you can join together and stand a better chance of being heard against the oppressive regime that the middle-aged women are running.

Know your competition^

Take a little time to scope out your colleagues and evaluate their work rate. Once this is done you should know who the worst at doing your job is. Then all you need to do is just make sure you are doing slightly better than them. That way if firings start, you won’t be first on the chopping block.

The end^

Well, that be all for now. Sure to be more to come soon.

If you can think of any hints and tips to go on this page, please do not hesitate to contribute!

*In a recent job I had, we were expected to do 8 cases a day, I was capable of doing on average, 16 a day (with 21 as the record), after a short while of working at this rate I realised that not only was I getting no more recognition for this work-rate, but I was actually being penalised for it; by being kept where I was whilst other lazier colleagues were given opportunities to climb the corporate ladder. These sorts of businesses are obsessed with the hours you put in, not the amount in work you do: proof positive was when I discovered that they were singing the praises of a colleague, who did an average of 3 cases a day because he was staying late each evening.

** My dim view of working life is unwavering; it is my firm belief that the moment you have to do something, it is no longer fun. If anyone reading this is thinking ‘That’s not true, I love my job and look forward to going in each day’, then I say to you that you are not welcome here, this site is not for you, the only satisfaction I can take is in the knowledge that you have wasted some of your precious your fun-earned time off on here.

***(Sorry, but this is all written from the point of me, a male. I welcome any tips from any female readers out there, although I am assuming there are none)