The Secret to Keeping Your Job? Do it Well!

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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 remember seeing a particular clip of a strange man.

This guy 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?

A Novel Approach To Your Job

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.

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  1. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t always work as hard as I could have when I earned a salary. I mean, I did my job, and I did it well for the most part, but I also liked to kick back every now and then and milk the clock. Now that I’m only paid by the billable hour, though, it’s a whole new world. I bust ass when I’m at work, because time I spend goofing off is time I’m not earning any money.

    I think it’s ridiculous to spend all that effort to look like you’re working. Here’s a thought: why not use that energy to do your job? People drive me insane.

    Everyone has bad days. Sometimes you’re sick, or something in your personal life is bothering you, or you’re burned out and need a break. But I’ve noticed that the people who usually do their jobs aren’t scrutinized as carefully when something comes up. The ones who do the minimum are the ones being eyeballed by their supervisors – if you don’t make an effort, it shows no matter how many times you arrange the papers on your desk.

    1. Hey Andrea! Didn’t recognize the email address at first. Wasn’t it great to be able to slack off a little and do other things while getting paid at work (like answer responses to my posts)? I know what you mean, though, it’s much easier to just do what you’re supposed to do from the very beginning. But, I guess a strong work work ethic is something that isn’t pushed to kids very much these days (speaking in general of course)

  2. I’m actually ok with trying to get by with doing little work. Isn’t the ultimate goal to retire with enough money to not have to work? So what better way to prepare?

    I think you can scheme negatively, which is pretending to work and making other people think you are working, and then there are positive schemes, like thinking of ways to make money while you’re at work, or to make money by barely working, and I’m wholeheartedly for those. Why not hustle a little for something you care about?

    1. I can’t argue the last part Daniel, and having a side hustle or two isn’t a bad thing. It’s the negative ones that piss me off. I think people need to take pride in what they do, or at least put forth the effort if they’re getting paid to do a job. If not, then leave and allow someone who is desperate to find employment have the opportunity.

      After all, it’s most of the worlds best companies, and the most groundbreaking developments are probably started while scheming in a good way.

  3. I agree to you, why should I work hard to look busy, rather I would work hard to on tasks on hand. If you just look busy in no time people will realize you are not doing your work actually, workplace is not the place to fool others constantly, off-course if you love your job. 

    Somehow this is not in my blood to fool others and take undue advantage. I would never play this trick even if my boss asks me to.

    1. I feel the same way. It’s quite easy to get caught trying to scam the system, no matter how good you think you are. In the end, the truth alwys comes out, so there’s no reason to play games.

  4. Seriously?  There is a website that tells you how to look busy – wow.   As a manager, I could tell pretty quickly who was pulling their weight and getting things done and who was shuffling paper around – heck, you can tell this even as a peer!

    1. Isn’t is pathetic how far people would go? All it takes is someone who pays attention to what is going on to see right through all the bs.

  5. I agree with Marie.  Coworkers or peers do realize (and quite quickly) who is actually doing their job.  Sadly enough, It is also realized that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and trying to motivate the unmotivated almost impossible. 

    1. Yup, that’s why its so important to for the younger generations to be shown the right ways to approach responsibility. If someone is taught the value of hard work early on, they are more likely to carry that value with them throughout their life. I seriously doubt that these people all of a sudden fell into these habits.

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