The Peter Principle
There comes a time in a person’s working life when they experience the disconcerting effects of the Peter Principle, an old academic and business bugaboo that says if you stay with one organization long enough you'll eventually be promoted until you reach your "level of incompetence," and then you'll stay there for the eternities. It's true. Look it up.
The Twiddling Thumbs Subset:
There is a subset to the Peter Principle, which I like to call the Twiddling Thumbs Subset. This says that sooner or later you may also get stuck with a job that you can complete in two hours on a daily basis, and then have to sit at your desk for another six hours wondering what to do before you can punch out. Asking for more work would be...well, it's just not done — that's all!
How to survive those six hours — and thrive doing it
The people who write sitcoms have office workers playing computer solitaire whenever they wish to show an unmotivated slacker in an office environment. Pshaw! We all know that game is strictly for upper management!
The rest of us must be much more devious and subtle in wasting time while looking busy. As an old hand at this, I offer the following:If you’re a man, get a crew cut and jam a pencil behind your ear. This makes you look not only busy and unapproachable, but efficient as well. Whip down that pencil and play tic-tac-toe with yourself whenever the boss shambles by. The boss will think you're solving the company’s ROI problems singlehandedly and leave you alone.Put up TweetDeck on your computer. It’s a harmless diversion that allows you to follow tweets on any subject. The thing is, numerical figures and words flash and move around constantly, all to fool your boss into thinking you're tracking something vitally important.Schedule a meeting. Lots of them. With anyone, the janitor if you have to. The more meetings you're in, the more “productive” you'll be perceived.Keep nothing on your desk that would attract your coworkers, such as Kleenex, hand sanitizer or snacks. The boss always suspects the worst when she perceives a casual visitor at your desk.Shingle your desk and computer with scribbled Post-It notes. If anyone tries to read them, frown and clear your throat saying, “That’s proprietary information.” You'll be seen as an incurable (and indispensable) workaholic.
Tim is a passionate writer, food lover and grandparent, and loves to write poems, limericks, short stories and reviews of the things he notices around him. He covers national news items on his blog at iwritetheblogggs.com.