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Pretending to work--  Favorite techniques?

So you're in between projects or are going on a vacation in a couple days or you're bored with what you're doing.  Whatever the case may be, you're in the office goofing off. But of course, you don't want anyone to know you're goofing off.

Since Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple days and I know a lot of goofing off is going on, I figured now is a good time poll people on their favorite ways of "looking busy" without actually being busy.

Crimson
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Hmm...print out articles that aren't necessarily work-related and read them at your desk?

Kilroy
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

As an intern I sometimes started to develop small side projects that were not related to what the company was doing, but that I was interested in. So I would do research or write code, and to bypassers it looked like working when in fact I was just having fun...

Martin
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

look upset about something. 

EAW
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Pretending to work is a lot of work.

runtime
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Do small projects around the office.

For instance, bring your power screwdriver to work and remove the metal doorknob that gives you a static shock. And remove the cubicle wall that's blocking your view of the windows from your desk. Wrap fish in old cover sheets.

You get the idea. And remember, you're not "missing" work.

Obligatory Office Space Reference
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Book a meeting room, then invite some friends over and "shoot the breeze".

Or start a chat session using MSN Messenger but resize it and place it in the Properties section of your IDE. Adjust transparency so it's not quite so obvious.

Wally
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

> look upset about something.

Definitely ! This is one of the best techniques ! I'm always ranting at work, I learned it from my former boss.

Effervescent Elephant
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door--that way Lumberg can't see me, heh--after that I sorta space out for an hour.

Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

Peter Gibbons
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Since XMAS is coming up in a couple weeks and I know a lot of goofing off is going on, I figured now is a good time poll people on their favorite ways of "starting senseless threads" without having anything to say.

Slashbot
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

If almost everybody leaves at 6 PM, and your boss stays late, always stay a little bit late, too, so he sees that you work a bit of overtime.

If he is not in the same office, walk to the office he is in (if it's a large office with several people), ask a coworker a work-related question, and make sure that he sees that you are there.


When walking on the company's halls, always have a hefty file or a (paper) notebook with you. Make sure they look used, and not new.


It's important not to surf the web a lot at work, and also not to send and receive too many e-mails that are not work-related.

A lot of times, bosses watch the web and e-mail activity and don't tell anybody. They just want to keep an eye on you.


When leaving your desk, leave something work-related open.

You can tweak your BIOS to start your computer automatically at 8:00 or whatever hour the employees get there, and put something work-related in your startup.

That way, even if you are late for 15 or even 30 minutes, the boss sometimes won't know it.


Instant messaging is tough to beat. You have to get a cell phone which has instant messaging.

They do exist, but they cost you an arm and a leg.


If you are working on your own projects, get some software which, at a press of a hotkey, hides the windows you specify.

This is because if you just minimize, your personal project will still be visible on the taskbar, and also, on weak hardware, minimizing some apps may take a lot of time.

George
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

QA Labs Rule for this purpose, usually out of the VP engineering's minions patrol routs, door locked to avoid annoying business types it was great

the artist formerly known as prince
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

"Instant messaging is tough to beat. You have to get a cell phone which has instant messaging.

They do exist, but they cost you an arm and a leg."

My cell phone comes with AIM and it was the free one when I signed up. I get around 500 messages a month for $3 on top of my plan. Unlimited for $10.

I know other people who have Yahoo on their phones.

BTW, be careful, some companies charge you per-minute to be on AIM rather than per message.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Make your background and screen saver an editor with code.

Tom Vu
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

That reminds me of an idea I had years ago... An animated GIF or flash animation with "Processing..." and one of those status bars that never really moves.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

If you enjoy coding, you can sit there and code your own projects endlessly as long as you keep up to whatever spiel you tell them your progress is.

If you're working on a GUI app that looks different to what you're meant to be on, a hotkey window minimiser works wonders. But if you're in the code editor, they gotta  read too much to realise it's not the project's codebase.

note: make sure that if you minimise a different project pane when you have someone with you walking through code that you don't stumble on it. When attention is on screen details, then it's a different ball game.

I coded most of my certification project at work :)


...and before you ask, yes, I lose sleep at night because of it.

Not this time. :)
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

At a previous job one co-worker shared a little shell script he wrote which basically cats /dev/random to the screen and every page full or so says "Program compile XX% complete..."

It took something like 6 hours to get to 100%.

It was nice to ‘decompress’ for a few hours; you could browse the web and if anyone asks you flip back to the ‘compile’ and say “Well, I’m just waiting for this program to compile”.  I don’t use it at my current job because our programs take forever to run as it is!

MR
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Reading JoS in "view source".

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

browse whatever site you want on a tab in Firebird, but keep the Java API reference (or other work-related site) open in another tab to switch to as needed

foo
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

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