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  1. #1

    Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Good morning brothers.

    I am typing this behind enemy lines so to speak. I am doing this while I should be working. Working you say? Why? I have calculated that the government via taxes takes about 35% of my income leaving me with 65% to be spent on what I need or want. I then ask myself, "Why should I give 100% of my effort to only reap 65% of my due reward?" Should I only give 65% percent of my effort to while using the remaining 35% of effort could of spent, on leisurely activities? I mean I have to be here at work anyways. It is not even a choice.

    In this world we need money to survive (minus the cabin-in-the-woods types). So in reality, working is not even a choice. I didn't ask for money being the currency for my existence. So in an effort to reclaim some of my independence and also a form of rebellion to the status-quo, I have opted out of work. In the theoretical sense, I'm "working" but I'm really not working.

    "Skiving" or "empty labor" as I've heard it called is the art of not working while appearing to do so. Here is a list of some of the rules I've come up with that are essential for the successful skiver:

    1. The first (and most important) rule of skiving is that you do not talk about it. Just like "Fight Club", you do not want to discuss it with anyone. That puts you on the radar of daddy-corporate in a negative. There are no exceptions to this rule either. Do not trust anyone because talking about it can come back to bite you later if you have a fellow coworker with an axe to grind.

    2. Take up acting. I don't mean in the literal sense but being a good actor is a must to survive in the corporate world.Come off as enthusiastic when you are assigned a task. When your supervisor asks you to do something, you need to seem almost delighted to do this. Unless you are the lucky few who can completely ghost, you will be confronted with the inevitability of doing a task you don't like.

    3. Don't do in 5 minutes when could be stretched to 10. If you complete some report or something in record time because you want to be an "office hero", all that will happen is that will become to new standard and it will be automatically expected. Note: this is only true if there is no clear correlation between input vs. output. Disregard this rule if the job you have requires a quota or tracks numbers for efficiency. For jobs like this, see rule 4.

    4. Cut corners wherever possible. The name of the game is to quickly get your tasks that are tracked done as efficiently as possible. If you can shave off time by cutting corners that don't compromise the quality of your work, then do so. Do not abuse this as you can be found out if your quality slips too far.

    5. Being perceived as a good employee is yields much greater rewards that actually being a good employee. Perceptions breed reality. I have met people who have objectively worked way harder than their more likeable counterparts only to be berated with more work. Those "hard-chargers" are usually miserable and the ironic thing is they get very little respect. Do not be the work horse and get taken for granted.

    There are more rules that I have but unfortunately, some work came to my attention. It should take me a couple minutes but I think I can stretch it to 30.

    Please feel free to add to this list or share some experiences in this subject. I am interested very much.
    In the future there will be robots.

  2. #2
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    The government's full of people who had the same idea before you.
    Every day I make the world a little bit worse.

  3. #3

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by frog View Post
    The government's full of people who had the same idea before you.
    Yes I know that it's not a new idea. I was just curious as to other peoples input on this topic.
    In the future there will be robots.

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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Never reveal any natural talent that can be exploited. In my former career as a firefighter, I took my computer to work for a few shifts. Naturally, other firefighters noted that I was an extremely fast typist. One day, I received a call from a battalion chief. He was looking for someone to send to the fire alarm dispatch office that had adequate typing skills/speed. I told him that I didn’t really want to make that kind of a transition from being a traditional firefighter. However, I also explained that if he needed me to be “that guy,” I wouldn’t throw a shit fit and whine about it either. I would do my best and bide my time until I could get back into the field at another firehouse. I think he was looking for someone to buck up against his authority as he explained that he might have another candidate in mind. I dodged the bullet, but learned a valuable lesson. Never reveal to your employer any talent that you might have. It might land you into a job that you don’t want.
    You are free to choose, but you are not free to alter the consequences of your choices.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Azure Nomad's Avatar
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    My favorite approach is to work backwards meaning tackle the hardest project first and then you can skip some of the easier tasks or projects because you were "busy" and productive. I have learned that doing menial tasks does not reward you with anything it just proves that you are a pushover for the boss.

    It is counter intuitive to think about but supervisors/managers value highly intelligent and skilled workers that understand time management and focusing on important tasks first. Low skilled and low intelligent workers follow the script and if they deviate from that script that will enrage a super visor/manager.

    Basically if you are a slacker that can still finish hard/big projects bosses will overlook this because you have the intelligence to finish tasks in an unorthdox manner that is not based on routine. So when there is an emergency for extra work or a bonus the boss will call the slacker to solve 1-2 hour deadline. And the boss will not call up the diligent worker that is focused on making copies at the copy machine for 8 hours straight.

    Working smart is always more productive than working hard.

  6. #6
    Member stanmsl's Avatar
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonobo Protocol View Post
    I have calculated that the government via taxes takes about 35% of my income leaving me with 65% to be spent on what I need or want. I then ask myself, "Why should I give 100% of my effort to only reap 65% of my due reward?"
    I have to disagree with this part, tax is a fact of life no matter where you live in the world and a lot of that tax we benefit from. I have a safety net in the form of benefits if I was to ever lose my job through no fault of my own and a free health care service if and when I need it to name just 2. You can debate all day about exactly how much governments waste,

    However something that I had a major issue with in my 20s was performance punishment. I worked hard thinking I would be rewarded and all the management would do is raise the bar while at the same time let slackers get away with anything. I ended up a stressed out mess as a result.

    I currently work in a manufacturing / production line type job and my attitude is a lot different, here are my rules.

    1) Be a middle of the road employee in terms of productivity, attendance, timekeeping. Make sure you are better than the bottom 50%, do enough to keep your job, keep the management off your back and your fellow co-workers. But don't do any more than this...……

    2) Be a good worker but at the same time give the impression that leaving wouldn't be a problem. I have made it known that I have no kids, no mortgage, no car and a history of leaving previous jobs to go backpacking around the world. It's easier for the management to stay off my back than it is to retrain someone else to do my job.

    3) Ignore all production targets. In a combined 15 years in manufacturing I have yet to see a single example of anyone who had been rewarded for beating targets or anyone being punished for failing to reach them.

    4) Keep records, gone 10 months without a single day off or turning in late ?? Well treat yourself to a day off or a lie in. Keep within acceptable limits and avoid obvious times like early Mondays or late Fridays.

    5) Only do favours for management if they do them for you (see 4) the boss asks if you can stay behind to cover someone who was sick. Did they listen to your problems/complaints last week.

    6) If you are not being listened too then string things out. I currently have a issue with the person slacking in the previous stage of the production line which directly affects my production. Solution deliberately string out each downtime as long as possible.

    As things stand I am fairly content with my job, I get on well with the management and co workers 95% percent of the time and there is not many people who can say that.

  7. #7
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    That's good thinking for a young guy stanmsl. A lot a guys older than you never figure it out.

    There's lazy people everywhere. But if you really want to be a boat anchor, the US government is your huckleberry. Low level government types aren't all lazy. Take ten and you'll find one or two who'd shine anywhere, two or three who suck, with the rest somewhere in the middle. Somebody has to do the work. Trouble is, the lazy ones have made it their life's work. No rookies going to walk in the door and compete with them. Besides, it's the rookies job to do the skutwork of the chosen ones, and don't you forget it.


    When younger I was too hyper to be a real slug, but I got pretty selective about who I'd put my shoulder to the wheel for. I'd work my ass off for a good boss. Ungrateful people's projects got done too, but I cared little how long it took or how good they came out. It's all they deserved, and those feather merchants weren't about to go home dirty checking my work anyhow.
    Every day I make the world a little bit worse.

  8. #8

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by LosPuke View Post
    Never reveal any natural talent that can be exploited.
    That's a good one to add to the list. I know that has come to bite me in the butt too when a higher authority found out I was good at something. I ended up having to do that something in addition to the normal tasks I was responsible for. I didn't get paid any more for the extra work my talents assisted it but I sure was praised for it.

    I think of it like quid-pro-quo as far as additional duties go. It I'm assigned an additional duty because I'm "talented" or "the best for the job", fine. But I decide to opt out of doing one of my other tasks. I'll just stop doing a menial task that I used to do to make up for the fact more work was piled on to me.
    In the future there will be robots.

  9. #9

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by stanmsl View Post
    I have to disagree with this part, tax is a fact of life no matter where you live in the world and a lot of that tax we benefit from. I have a safety net in the form of benefits if I was to ever lose my job through no fault of my own and a free health care service if and when I need it to name just 2. You can debate all day about exactly how much governments waste,
    Is that really how it is or is it how we've allowed it to be. The only certain things in life are death and taxes as they say?

    I don't really feel myself personally that there is too much that I benefit from in paying the amount of taxes I'm paying. Yes I benefit from a military for protection and I use the roads so I agree there is some benefit to paying taxes. However, it really upsets me when I know there are those who pay zero taxes and are getting a free living.

    The only real point I was trying to make was that 35% of my earnings are being taken from be with no choice given to me so I feel like I don't need to be as productive.
    In the future there will be robots.

  10. #10

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by stanmsl View Post

    1) Be a middle of the road employee in terms of productivity, attendance, timekeeping. Make sure you are better than the bottom 50%, do enough to keep your job, keep the management off your back and your fellow co-workers. But don't do any more than this...……
    Yes I fully agree with this. You need to be middle of the road because it lets you blend in. When firings or "reorganizations" come up, you do not want your neck on the blotter for being a bottom-tier employee. You don't want to be a superhero employee either because you will be stuck with all of the work.

    I would say that if management is snooping around, you should pretend that you are the best employee. Act like you are super stoked to be there and give off a positive attitude. It's been my experience that having a great attitude is more important than being productive.
    In the future there will be robots.

  11. #11

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by Azure Nomad View Post
    My favorite approach is to work backwards meaning tackle the hardest project first and then you can skip some of the easier tasks or projects because you were "busy" and productive. I have learned that doing menial tasks does not reward you with anything it just proves that you are a pushover for the boss.
    Exactly.

    It shows management that you have "vision" but in reality, you are working smarter and not harder.
    In the future there will be robots.

  12. #12

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by frog View Post
    That's good thinking for a young guy stanmsl. A lot a guys older than you never figure it out

    When younger I was too hyper to be a real slug, but I got pretty selective about who I'd put my shoulder to the wheel for. I'd work my ass off for a good boss. Ungrateful people's projects got done too, but I cared little how long it took or how good they came out. It's all they deserved, and those feather merchants weren't about to go home dirty checking my work anyhow.
    That is a good way to put it. Please excuse the late response but I just noticed this gem and had to address it.

    I too have become very selective on what task I will expend actual effort on. If the person that needs help is someone that I like, I will bend over backwards for them. If it is someone I am neutral towards, I will give off the pretense that I'll try hard but will take all day about it. I'll gaslight the person and say that I'm working on it at record speed but that is all a jest. If it is someone I despise, I'll sometimes take all day out of spite and make sure to make it extra annoying.

    I only have finite energy to invest effort on the job so I make sure my efforts are in good use. If the task is relatively trivial, I'll get it done no problem. If it is a task that is stupid and a waste of time, I'll do my best to avoid it.

    There really is only so much that is worth caring about in this world. Don't waste your time on energy on stuff that doesn't matter for a few measly dollars.
    In the future there will be robots.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Azure Nomad's Avatar
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    As others have mentioned timing of breaks and lunches is important part of this strategy. Always take a break between the halfway point of coming into work and lunch. And then another break between post lunch and when you go home. If you can squeeze in a third break that is a good idea.

    Not only are you more productive as a worker but also focus better.

    Companies assign people to a set amount of hours due to financial calculations that need to be made on a consistent basis. But most work can be finished in half the time so you have to find a way to fill the remainder of time. That is something most corporate suits will not discuss openly but it is true.

  14. #14

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by Azure Nomad View Post
    As others have mentioned timing of breaks and lunches is important part of this strategy. Always take a break between the halfway point of coming into work and lunch. And then another break between post lunch and when you go home. If you can squeeze in a third break that is a good idea.

    Not only are you more productive as a worker but also focus better.

    Companies assign people to a set amount of hours due to financial calculations that need to be made on a consistent basis. But most work can be finished in half the time so you have to find a way to fill the remainder of time. That is something most corporate suits will not discuss openly but it is true.
    This.

    I would like to add to this strategy and say that you should take many "mini-breaks" when you are able too. Linger a bit when you are taking a stack of papers to people you work with. Drag out mundane tasks to maximize the amount of work perceived to be done. Never ask permission to take a break either. Just do it.
    In the future there will be robots.

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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    I posted this a year or two back on a different site, the topic was what happens if you become a "forgotten" employee. Maybe this fits in here, as for a few years I could Skive for Great Britain in the Olympics....



    I'd landed myself a very junior management position for one of the big worldwide companies - and about a week after joining, my boss quit, closely followed by HIS boss. So I was left as an "orphan" employee.


    And each time the performance review came around - where I would surely be discovered and either made redundant or allocated to someone who wanted to make me - ugh - do some work, the company would either be bought out, or would buy up a competitor, or spin my part of the company off into a subsidiary.


    And in the resulting maelstrom of chaos of reorganisation, I would be forgotten about yet again, left to Go My Own Way and do pretty much what I wanted. Four long years this lasted - each year with a generous pay rise and thanks from the company for doing good work.


    Occasionally, some very important job would land on my desk, which was an occupational hazard indeed - but I discovered that by simply ignoring the job for long enough, the person responsible would either a) forget about it b) leave the company or c) die.


    I did have some moderate responsibilities - it was partly my job to train up the new inductees to the company - but I'd "outsourced" the job of actually training them to a third party, so all that was left for me to do was greet them on the first morning, hand them over to Mr Trainer, and check on them at lunchtime.


    One year I did the lunchtime check thing and I kindly - because I'm lovely, y'know - offered to take them all to the pub for a couple of lunch beers. Said duty satisfactorily performed, I dropped them back off at the training room, and decided that since I'd had one too many, I'd have a short rest in the toilets. I went down a couple of floors (knowing that floor was empty and I'd be left undisturbed), went in a stall and closed my eyes....


    ...a short rest later, I emerged, bleary eyed, from the bathroom, went back up the two floors - to serendipitously bump into my cohort of new joiners - I'd 'accidentally' slept the entire afternoon. "hey, Mr CultVoid Sir, we had a great first day, thanks - let's buy you a beer this time!". And right back downstairs back to the pub.


    So I was paid to get drunk and keep a few people happy...
    ...without the nightmare of actually having to work in PR.


    Fun? Maybe. Actually, I hated not getting stuff done. But the only stuff to be done in that company was worthless pathetic "busy-ness" that I couldn't do if I tried. The one thing I did work very hard on, was starting my own business "under the table" and getting prepared for that - ironically on the day I resigned, to go full time on new business, the HR department did everything they could to stop me leaving...seems in the corporate world, it doesn't matter if you do nothing all day, as long as you do it *well*.


    In the 15 years since I've worked like a donkey and some years only just scraped enough business to live adequately - but I'm 100 times happier knowing that I'm judged solely on what I really do add to the world. Pray God I never have to walk through the doors of a corporate again.

  16. #16

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by CultVoid View Post
    Occasionally, some very important job would land on my desk, which was an occupational hazard indeed - but I discovered that by simply ignoring the job for long enough, the person responsible would either a) forget about it b) leave the company or c) die.
    That was a very insightful post about how the corporate world is in Great Britain. It's comforting to know that corporate minutia is the same in Britain as it is in the U.S.

    I have also realized that by simply ignoring some tasks, they will just forget about it and move on. Where I work, there is no clear relation between input and output. I'm fortunate in a way that my job isn't actually based off of production.

    All I have had to do is give off the perception of being a "super-hero employee". I've noticed that it's much more important to be known as being great to work with than actually being productive.

    Some may find that there is some kind of moral argument about skiving at work. I can understand why some would think that it's wrong. I do not see it as such because what's wrong is that I need money to survive in this world and the mafia government doesn't let me keep it.
    In the future there will be robots.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Opaque's Avatar
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Some may find that there is some kind of moral argument about skiving at work
    LOL!

    You will find that it is usually men who makes such arguments. Women have no problem at all with milking any situation.

    Morality and a staunch sense of 'justice' is why men are fucked!

  18. #18

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by Opaque View Post
    LOL!

    You will find that it is usually men who makes such arguments. Women have no problem at all with milking any situation.

    Morality and a staunch sense of 'justice' is why men are fucked!
    Yes. A good majority of men are completely content with being good little work horses working for peanuts. They love the external validation and the pat on the head. I care not what these "men" think. Their shaming tactics are useless.
    In the future there will be robots.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Azure Nomad's Avatar
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    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    A lot of times there is a lot of paper work that has to be finished. But that paper work ends up in the trash by the end of the year or it is never looked over by management or higher ups. Which shows that a lot of paper work is just bullshit busy work and has no correlation with productivity of the company overall. It is basically a way to show a higher up manager that things are being done but it means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things in a company. Even in situations where this paper work may act as a shield to cover the company bottom line from a law suit it ends up being useless, irrelevant or not enough.

    The only paper work that matters to a company is what money is made, man hours on a project/worked, expenses, inventory, and marketing. Every other little detail means absolutely nothing and exists to give low IQ, low skilled drone workers a sense of belonging to a company.

  20. #20

    Re: Skiving at Work (Empty Labor)

    Quote Originally Posted by Azure Nomad View Post

    The only paper work that matters to a company is what money is made, man hours on a project/worked, expenses, inventory, and marketing. Every other little detail means absolutely nothing and exists to give low IQ, low skilled drone workers a sense of belonging to a company.
    This could actually work to the skiver's benefit though. If you are someone who views the low-level, poor IQ job as nothing more than a means to an end and a way to make money, then you can pretend to be this chump who's "doing the best job" ever with the busy work. Pretend that you are low IQ and love the busy work the management gives you.

    When you act like you are so enthusiastic even with the most mundane tasks, it provides you cover because management thinks you are team player. You can use the fact that the bull-shit work that is given to you is easy to fuck off all day and get a paycheck. Make the work take all day to fill up the time so you look busy. In reality you are fucking off and getting paid for it.

    Remember that you are just a number to the company and government. You don't get to keep all of the fruits of your labor so why bust your ass. There are literally hundreds of thousands of societal parasites who do jack-shit and get a handout.

    Apologize for the tangent but this has been on my mind lately.
    In the future there will be robots.


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