(Nick’s Notes: These tips were included by a friend of mine on Facebook. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them but I thought they may prove useful either way.)
#1 Volunteer for all tasks that involve leaving the job site- in my case it’s usually going to the pharmacy to pick up emergency meds, but other jobs might send you away for different reasons. Always volunteer. Bosses love it, and you can always drag it out for at least twice as long as it actually takes.
#2 Learn how to do all your necessary work in the fastest possible way, but instead of using this skill to be more productive, use this skill to be slightly more productive than the least productive employee and spend the rest of your time doing nothing. This one only really works if you aren’t closely supervised, of course.
#3 Save important-looking stuff for when people are looking. An example: I’m a night nurse, and am all alone from 11pm to 5:30am. During that time I do nothing (except for emergencies, of course). I do all my work while people are there, and I have a reputation for industriousness, because I always appear to be working.
#4 Figure out who is trying to make rank (get promoted, etc.) and stay the fuck away from them. Those people will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat to curry favor. Find the bitter long-time employees who have topped out. These people are your best friends and know how to get away with shit. Watch and learn.
#5 Find gaps and weaknesses in management’s communications and exploit them. If two supervisors dislike each other or just don’t have each other’s contact info readily to hand, tell each you have something to do for the other and vanish.
#6 Rank your duties by increasing onerousness. Then, find the cutoff for what you can get away with as day’s work. Do only tasks above that cutoff. This one is a little ruthless- whoever takes over for you is going to have to do all the bullshit you didn’t do- but life isn’t fair sometimes.
7 Manage your reputation consciously and actively; periodically bite the bullet and do something that your boss really likes (for me, every so often I spend the whole night in intake and get all the new arrestees screened). This keeps you in the boss’s good graces and makes them more likely to overlook complaints about you.
#8 When you get busted, unless you have a plausible cover you only have two possible responses- stupidity and “no excuses, sir.” Either claim you didn’t know you had to do whatever it is you didn’t do (or that you didn’t know you couldn’t do whatever it is you did), or if that won’t work, stand tall and accept full responsibility. This is a last resort, but it goes over better than flailing, whining, excuse-making BS.