Slacking Tips for Work #1: Slack like you Mean it!

Is this true? Does it matter? Make it true for yourself either way!

So this is a series that I’ve had in mind to do for a bit but hadn’t really gotten around to giving as much thought as needed until recently. More or less the object of this series is to try to offer hands-on practical advice for how to slack in you given job as much as possible and as effectively as possible. I am not aware of anything like this being available elsewhere (though I’m sure in some form it may exist) but either way I think it would be a good contribution to the site to figure out how to phase out work as much as possible from our everyday existence. Not everyone can just pick up and move or go to a better job or has the skills necessary to work in better paid and more self-controlled labor. Nor does everyone have the ability to just stop working, dumpster dive a lot, live with friends in communal apartments and so on.

This series is for us slackers who are stuck at work in one sense or another and don’t want to be but at present don’t have a good alternative lined up. If you love your work, enjoy it, get good pay and think you have a good amount of control over your own work then good for you. Feel free to ignore this series or to learn from it and pass it on to your less fortunate friends, family members or pass it on to them anyways so they can pass it on and so on…

The first rule of slacking is don’t talk…no I must resist the urge to make that joke.

Seriously though, if you are gonna slack then the first rule about it is simple: Don’t half-ass it.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Well…okay, not really. Otherwise this would be one hell of a boring blog post. But that’s the basic fact about slacking. As paradoxical as it seems, you gotta give a shit about not giving a shit. I know it sounds weird and maybe this will take us into some strange and confusing places but nonetheless from my own experience (and I am only speaking from my experience here) slacking works better when you are prepared and know what’s going on. If you’re not prepared, if you’re uneasy about the context in which you’re gonna slack or if you have a good reason to think that the slacking may not go well it’s better sometimes to just not risk it. Live again to slack another day and all that, yeah?

So that’s the basic premise I want to work up from. That you care about not caring about work. You want to slack at work and you want to do it well.

I can’t promise that I am always going to offer up golden advice every time for each situation. My experiences in work have been mostly limited to retail. Thus most of my advice will fall within the realm of how to slack off in retail as opposed to, say, fast food or a cubicle job. I don’t really know how those jobs work in terms of culture, organization, ability to slack and so on. It would seem to me that slacking off in a fast-food job would be tough because the spaces typically seem to be easily susceptible to management scrutiny and surveillance. This is just from seeing fast-food restaurants though and I still have heard that sometimes people get away with slacking but even then it seems to be a more joined effort than just one person.

Given all of this take what I say with a grain of salt. I don’t have all of the answers (and I am certainly not trying to act like I do or like this is some definitive guide to slacking)  and I hope that you will send me some of your own stories, tips or ideas about how to slack off at work. I would love to make this series as collaborative and informative as possible so that more people can give a nice big middle finger to the bosses they hate, for the jobs they don’t like which they only do for money that they unfortunately need.

I have been in that scenario myself since not too long after I dropped out of college. And I didn’t really become interested in slacking off until the current job. I tried to find the best places to hide behind, the best moments to slack, the best ways to distract myself from work and so on and so forth. And it’ll always be a learning process so long as I am still am or going to be in places that I don’t want to work for. I am hoping to transition out of that via some independent jobs this year. But that’s no guarantee and I could very well continue working in shitty awful retail for a while longer while I try to get my bearings.

In the meantime though I hope to supply with some easy-to-follow tips and tricks (what is this, a gaming magazine?) that will help work be a little more bearable for us plebs. If I can even make one person’s work day a little more manageable, bearable and hell, maybe even a bit happier so that they can move on to a better life then I will feel satisfied.

So that’s my bare minimum goal in the end. How long will this series go? I guess as long as I have tips and ideas to try. And always feel free to give me some tips or submit your own to the site! I’d love top hear from other people and make this thing collaborative like I said before.

In review: If you’re going to slack, if you’re going to take that first and ominous step towards risking getting fired (and in retail especially, this is a risk you should know you are taking) then make sure you mean it. Otherwise you might end up on the wrong side of the hiring/firing power that the employing class have in present society.

How should you show you mean it? Depends on the circumstances. If you’re in fast-food it may be a good idea to get other workers behind you as a bare necessity so that the managers can’t crack down on it as effectively. If you’re in a normal restaurant then it may just be enough to take your time with given jobs. Make idle chit-chat with the customers. Make it fun for you and the customers somehow (for example: try to only speak in dialogue from your favorite movie). There’s plenty of ways to slack and make it fun for you and I’ll try to hit on more points as we go along but the basic point is to know that this is a risk you are willing to take.

Again, I want to emphasize that idling or slacking on the job can get you fired if you have the sort of “employment at will” contract that I have and in general it holds the risks for punishment of various sorts. So know your risks before committing. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t feel safe enough in your job to get away with slacking than the best thing to do might just be (and I really really hate saying this) to grin and bear it as much as possible until you’re in a better spot to do so.

I know some of this will come off as just trying to get people to “deal” with capitalism instead of actually working to abolish it and yeah, that’s certainly part of it. I do think it is important that while we are trying to abolish awful social structures and relations within those structures to also be able to excel at making the most of them while they are still there. This way when you’re trying to go away further than just surviving and bearing the effects of capitalism you can do it that much easier because you know how to do it effectively.

In that vein I hope this series will prove to be something useful for lots of people.

See ya next Monday for a much more substantial post on how to slack off at work.

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  1. Pingback: "Wasted Time in the Workplace" [Infographic] - Abolish Work

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