“You Give [Slacking] a Bad Name”

Never thought I’d be making a Bon Jovi reference, yikes. But hey it’s about as awful as what I’m about to discuss so it’s fine.

Last night my favorite manager told me about this co-worker of ours who was obnoxious. They would page them to cosmetics, to photo and they’d do so without even bothering to do it themselves. They didn’t have any customers and yet continued to badger my manager (who happens to be one of my best friends) and sending them all throughout the store.

Abstractly, if I heard about this through a news story, I might think it’s funny. But in the concrete, when it’s happening to a friend of mine who does her best to be more of a co-worker than a boss, it makes me upset. And it makes me upset not just because this person gave a pretty fake apology from what I heard but because it’s laziness.

And usually I would be saying that as a compliment but there are different kinds of ways of being lazy. Some are better than other and it depends heavily on the context in which you’re lazy. Yes, I’m as lazy as possible at work but (as I’ve mentioned before) the ethics of slacking can be complicated and there are better ways to do it.

One way to not do it is use your laziness (which is understandable) to put everything on everyone else. Even if someone is a manager it’s a strategically bad move and signals your laziness too obviously. My manager wasn’t sure if she could write this co-worker up but they considered it and slacking that gets you in trouble that deep probably isn’t worth it.

My manager even told this co-worker, “Hey, if you’re going to be lazy could you at least hide it better?”

That’s just one of the many reasons my favorite manager is, well, my favorite. They have an infinite tolerance for well hidden slacking. If you’re using your phone once in a while and taking a break for a second? Usually not a big deal. Sure, they might tell you to put it away but often times they’ll just tell you to be careful and not get caught.

But instead, my co-worker would quite obviously go into the break room constantly. They would be on his phone and be playing games pretty obviously as well. And look, I’m not necessarily bashing blatant slacking. I had a pretty lazy day that was as blatant as I had ever been, but I was smart about it.

I knew who the managers were (one of them being my favorite) and I knew whereabouts they were at most times. This gave me a significant edge when I’m on the floor and able to move about as I please. Especially when my favorite manager was on the tail end of their shift and I knew the other one was too busy with stocking to monitor me.

But my co-worker didn’t seem to really care. Now, maybe they’ve just given up on the job and just wanted to get paid as many times as they could. That’s a respectable position but any sort of long-term plan with this is disastrous and worse it makes the rest of us lazy people look like assholes. I’m not saying being lazy is always a net-positive for everyone involved but I also don’t think we should be careless (lazy?) about being lazy.

Although it’s very paradoxical, it takes a lot of work to be good at slacking. And if you’re just gonna throw in the towel then you may as well go all the way and not show up. Getting fired from a job doesn’t exactly look great on a resume last I checked and having bad references (and especially when you’re young like this person is) isn’t a good idea either.

Part of me wishes I had this person’s contact information. We fool around at work a lot and I like them, think they’re funny and fun to be around a lot of time. But these actions have soured me slightly on them. I want to shake them and tell them how to better slack off because what they’re doing is just making it harder for everyone else to slack off.

If you’re reading this you probably know about all of the stereotypes for us lazy people. That we don’t care about others, that we just leech off of society and that we all live in our parents basement. And being bad at slacking doesn’t do any of us any favors. On one level I was upset because my co-worker basically treated my friend like a tool.

But on another level it just angered me how awful at slacking they were. Like I said, if you’re going to be blatant about your slacking then go for it! But be mindful of your surroundings and pay attention to who the managers on duty are and especially where they are in relation to you. Think about the co-workers you’re with.

I’m not a fan of managers (even the half-decent ones) but taking advantage of them to the degree my co-worker did was reckless and not suitable for a long-time game. For myself, I get my work done like a good little drone for the first few hours and then I go to my book. Sometimes I’m blatant about it and other times I’m not.

Depends whose working with me.

Depends on the sort of night I had.

Depends on the customers the store got.

Depends on the co-workers I have.

Depends on the managers.

It depends on a lot of factors, but because I don’t have a car and I can only walk so far and depend on services like Uber or friends or even a cab or a bus if I had to, I need to make sure this charade lasts as long as possible. And as counter-intuitive as it may seem, sometimes the best kind of slacking takes a little bit of hard work to succeed.

And hey, if you’re not going to put in the hard work, why bother?

You’re making the rest of us slackers look bad.

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One thought on ““You Give [Slacking] a Bad Name”

  1. Pingback: From Cooperation to Passivity: Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers - Abolish Work

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