I can clearly recall sitting in the waiting room of a local Tire Kingdom store one Sunday morning waiting for my oil change and trying to read a book. It got kind of difficult since the television was on and fairly loud too. I do remember having a particular clip of a man who gives lessons on how to appear busy while on the job in order to seem more important or valuable and ensure that his clients would not be the ones being laid off. I thought to myself, this has got to be the most ridiculous thing I have heard in quite some time, but here he is on a Sunday morning news show on a national network no less. The man’s name is Jay Schorr and he is the president of TMR Multimedia, a South Florida-based marketing and PR firm which produced the website and book Looking Busy – 50 Ways to Look Busy at Work Even When You’re Not.
In this kind of economic environment, where jobs just aren’t easy to come by, even for those that are more than qualified, people are terrified about joining the ranks of the unemployed. They are so terrified, in fact, that they will resort to any trick to ensure that they keep their job, and don’t have to try starting over. Any trick it seems includes following the mindless, asinine, child-like tactics that Mr. Schorr describes in his materials, which somehow even got him featured on new shows.
One particular method for looking busy is to build a barrier around you while appearing to be thinking, hard at work to hide your actual time doodling. Another method is to keep a spray bottle in your desk drawer and use it to spray yourself down to give the appearance of sweating from all of “hard work” you are doing. A third technique is to shuffle papers around your desk in different configurations throughout the day, claiming that “too little desk clutter signals that you haven’t enough to do”. Basically, the advice given is based upon appearances rather than tangible evidence of actually getting things accomplished.
Now, this may very well be comical to many, but it is in fact a very sad commentary on today’s workforce. With the job markets being as tough as they are, I’m sure that everyone is looking for that edge which will keep them gainfully employed. Seeming to be a valuable and productive part of an organization is very much different from actually being so. Let’s be honest here, just how long can a person go on imitating a hard working, productive employee before the truth comes to light? In some cases, the answer may be quite a long time if the management is poor enough at evaluating the staff. Most likely, the answer is just until an important deadline passes with no results or the next review period, whichever comes first. Think about it, what good is the appearance of always being busy if at the end of the day you have no tangible results to show for your “efforts”? When it comes time for reviews or periodic evaluations, are the people in charge going to care how often you seemed to be busy when they passed, or the actual amount of work you produce?
Here is a novel idea
Try actually doing your job to the best of your ability to prove your worth. There is nothing that can convey your talent and worth to your employer better than results. The people that not only survive, but thrive and advance are the ones that are not afraid to put in the required effort. This isn’t to say that there aren’t exceptions, such as downsizing due to economic factors, or company failures. Under normal circumstances, the people who show up when they are supposed to, complete tasks by their corresponding deadlines, show a willingness to to go above and beyond their “job descriptions”, and overall show that they bring value to not only their positions but the company as a whole are more likely than not the ones that are secure in their positions. But, the simple truth is that at the end of the day, nothing shows employers what your value is to them better than productivity and results. It doesn’t take any trickery or falsehoods on your part, just good old traditional hard work.
How concerned are you about remaining employed in your current position? Would you, or have you, ever considered taking a page from this book? Or, have you already used deceptive tactics to keep your job?