Slacking Tips for Work #5: Paths to Choose

The path less traveled may be better but it could also be a lot more work!

The path less traveled may be better but it could also be a lot more work!

Even though I am unemployed right now I still have plenty to say on how those who are employed and don’t like their jobs can make it a bit more tolerable.

One thing that may confuse you as a worker is whether you should try to slack by kissing up to the boss or by ignoring them.

My own experience has been a mix of both and that isn’t to say that just doing one may not work for you. Personally I don’t want to kiss up to the bosses unless I absolutely have to. And “kissing up” to me really only means being pleasant in a way that I would treat someone who I respected. I don’t have much respect for bosses due to their position of authority over me and it is especially the ones that use this authority to treat me poorly (as plenty of them have).

Respect for me is not a given based on your position of authority and especially if I find your position of authority morally objectionable and find you exercising it in some way then by default I will probably not be comfortable or happy around you. I will most likely feel like at any minute you are going to use your power in a bad way (unless I know you personally before hand or the few hints I’ve gotten from you have shown you to be a good person in a shitty position) or feel pressured and not at ease or like I can relax.

So for me it doesn’t seem like giving undue credence or respect to the boss should be a given. That said, if you have been in retail jobs like I have then you know it’s not very practical to have a stick up your ass about them either. That’s liable to get you fired in a hurry. And especially with contracts that you don’t have much say in (“at will contracts” and the like) which usually mean you are dependent on that job to some degree. So I am not necessarily advocating always being grouchy to them either.

What I do is usually give them quick, short and to the point pleasantness. I try to be as pleasant as I can muster but also try to make it as succinct as possible so I don’t have to keep vomiting out pleasantries. In other words, being pleasant but not more than you have to. If you find yourself artificially greeting or treating managers with respects or deference then you may want to check your headspace and see if you genuinely feel that way or are just doing it so you can survive.

But (and this was especially true on my last day of my most recent job) I often took the time to avoid bosses. On my last day at the job I pretended (mentally) as if the manager was chasing me or looking for me every time they were near. Obviously this wasn’t true but it helped motivate me to keep my distance and as a result (for that day at least) I fairly greatly minimized my direct contact with managers. Sure, they could still call for me or perhaps I would run into them every now and then but as before I kept those interactions succinct and to the point. I never spent more time with a manager then I needed to.

This doesn’t mean you have to completely ignore the bosses. Especially if you genuinely have a good rapport with them (I have had this once or twice myself and can say with total honesty that I looked forward to some extent to talking to these sorts of bosses). If you have that sort of relationship, then great! Work on it and develop it if it feels like you are really getting something out of it and it makes slacking a little bit easier (it definitely did for me!).

On the other hand there are certainly some managers that you’ll want to avoid even if you are feeling good about things or whatever. Managers that are typically on power trips, or like arbitrarily exercising their power every now and then and so on. These are the ones to almost always avoid to one degree or another if it can be helped. Not only because they make slacking more difficult if they are keeping an eye on you and/or if you are not avoiding them but just because they are generally unpleasant people to be around when it comes down to it.

Of course, again I must point out that I am mostly coming from my experiences in retail and the like. I am not sure how much you would have a choice if you worked in a restaurant or a fast food place that is tight and crammed and so on. I can only really speaking for mid-sized to big retail stores where ignoring the bosses is at least sometimes a really viable option.

Which would work best for slackers?

While I am tempted to say that ignoring should be your go-to or default options in most cases there are exceptions. As I said before if the boss isn’t too bad or if you just simply can’t avoid them. Those are situations which are going to require your own individual knowledge (and sympathetic knowledge from coworkers who have the slacker impulse or just hate the bosses too). But yes, generally it will be a good idea to avoid or ignore the bosses. If only for your sanity and your ability to deal with the tasks at hand (that you probably know how to do better).

Going back to the title though the word choose is very important. I am mostly just talking about what has worked for me in my own specific contexts. Maybe they won’t work for you and you’ll find a better way. Great! Feel free to let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page what you have done that has worked for you.

Or just feel free to tell me that I am full of shit.

Happy slacking!

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