So you want to fool your boss into thinking you’re working when you’re not. Well, unless your boss is a fool it isn’t going to work. There are numerous tips online for coming up with ways to trick your boss into thinking you’re burning the midnight oil when you’re really sleeping or out on the town. The current issue of Wired even offers some of the usual tips, and sadly there are even quite lame books on the subject. But again, these don’t work so don’t even try it.
The usual tips involve such things as setting up your computer at the office to send e-mails out at odd times, so that the boss thinks you’re in really late. This can certainly backfire in any small office – for example what happens if the boss or another team member is actually in the office?
The alternative tip is to make it look like you’re working from home, where you can send off a few timed e-mails at various late hours. The advanced versions say to be sure to make them statements that might not warrant a response – as this would be a giveaway that it was written hours ago and that you’re not really at a computer. Any boss who is going to look at time stamps will likely always know that e-mail can be set to go out much later, or sent via a PDA. These fool no one today!
Of course there is tip that you can use an IM at home to type a short message should your boss be online such as “I guess we’re both burning the midnight oil.” The trouble there is that you now risk actually having to do real work! What if the boss responds with, “Oh, you’re online, well this could wait until morning but…” Good going slacker, you now really get to put in the extra hours. This reminds me of a MAD magazine cartoon that said there is an equation to how much you need to do to avoid getting out of work!
Leaving a document open on your desktop while you take a three hour lunch break – after you’ve turned off the screen saver – could make it look like you just stepped away for a minute, unless the boss or fellow employees keep coming back. So say the slacker pros, use a slide show that toggles through photos of a series of applications. You can use a screen capture program to go from a word document to a spreadsheet for example – thus when the boss comes back a second time he/she must think you just stepped out again. First, this in itself will draw attention. Everything from “is this guy running to the bathroom every five minutes” to “is this guy running to the bathroom to do drugs every five minutes” could go through a paranoid boss’s mind! Worse still, what happens when the slide show changes images as the boss is standing there?