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Ways to Look Busy at Work
Pete Hall
August 11, 2014

So you’ve locked down a job, thanks to your awesome interview skills and all of the initiatives you took. Unfortunately, now that you have a job, you’re expected to come in and work every day. Not everyone can be gainfully employed as an internet comedy writer - not even me. But you gotta do what you gotta do: suck it up and sell your soul for that paycheck.


You can't fill every eight-hour day with useful tasks. In fact, most of your workday is probably spent avoiding doing work. I know mine is - where do you think I write most of these articles?


In order to appear busy at work, I wrote the following Dudefest Dozen ways for you to look busy at work:


Write a Dudefest Article


You can look this cool!

This is my favorite technique, and Microsoft Word looks like Microsoft Word no matter what you’re writing. I’m writing this at work right now! My boss is actually standing behind me and I’m worried that if I nervously switch to another open program it will be more obvious that I’m not working, so pray for me that he thinks this open folder of .gifs is for an upcoming client meeting.


If anyone looks over your shoulder, you can just pretend you’re writing some technical document or something. I don’t know what job you have, but I’m sure you’ll be able to bullshit some nonsense about charts or TPS reports or whatever. This probably works best if you work in an office, and not so well if you’re a fireman or something.


When you’re done with your article, email it to us. If you are a fireman, we promise we won't tell anyone you let a house burn to the ground while you wrote dick jokes.


Flip through your notebook

This is my second favorite technique, and another one I am doing right now. Whenever someone walks near your desk, flip through your notebook like you’re searching for some important data that you wrote down earlier. They don’t have to know that it’s actually just filled with doodles of Batman fighting the Hulk that regularly turn into slash fiction.


If you don’t have a notebook that’s already at least half full, just find an old one from high school and bring it in. Nobody’s going to look that closely at your notes. You’d be surprised how rarely people in your life are paying attention to you. You’re not that special, guy.


Wear a BlueTooth Earpiece


Forget that picture; you can look this cool!

The biggest problem with this plan is that you have to talk to yourself the whole time. But the biggest benefit is that you get to talk to yourself the whole time! As long as you can maintain what sounds like one half of an important telephone conversation nobody is going to interrupt your “you time” with the actual duties that you get paid for. It also makes you look like a douchebag, and nobody wants to interact with the office douche.


The key is to look intense, but not pissed off. You want people to think that you’re in the middle of a tense phone call, maybe making million dollar deals with China or something. You have to look too scary for people to interrupt you, but not so much that your co-workers are afraid of you. It’s a fine line. Just try not to say “fuck” too much. That’s a dead giveaway.



Oh man, motherfucking spreadsheets. You can make them for everything: project budgets, upcoming deadlines, even lists of hot cartoon characters. This is related to the Word Document technique, but usually works even better. Spreadsheets look more technical, and if you make them complicated enough most people are too nervous to take a closer look and realize you’re tracking the total screen time Jennifer Lawrence’s butt has received in its career.


The only reason this isn’t my favorite technique is because it’s a pain in the ass to write a 2,000-word article in one of those tiny boxes. That makes it obvious you don’t actually know how to use a spreadsheet, and it’s never a good thing when your bosses notice another thing you lied about in your interview.


Take several poops


If you don't feel half as happy as he looks, you're pooping incorrectly.

In addition to all the superficial benefits (free toilet paper and a toilet that you don’t have to clean), it’s also a great time killer. Drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of fast food, and you should be able to take three or four poop trips per day. Nobody is allowed to tell you that you’re pooping too much, that’s probably illegal or against OSHA or something. Poop away, dude!


If I may include the most inspirational quote I ever heard: "The Man makes a dollar while I make a dime. That’s why I poop on company time!" Unfortunately, no amount of googling has turned up a source, so feel free to pretend I was clever enough to invent it.



Schedule as many meetings out of the office as possible. Nobody at work will realize you’re actually napping on a bench at the bus stop, and they’ll all think you’re a busy, dedicated man. If you play your cards right, they never have to know that literally the exact opposite is true.


You can also drink when you’re out of the office. When you go back, just say you were having drinks with the client and nobody will bat an eye that you smell like Olde English. Your boss will praise you for wining and dining, because that’s how those multimillion dollar Chinese deals get done!



Keep your calendar open, and whenever you feel like someone has noticed that you’re typing a freaking novel over there, look real closely at it. Scroll through the dates, like you’re looking for a single free moment to squeeze in another important meeting (bus stop nap). They’ll never know that you’re actually just mindlessly scrolling through and occasionally making mundane mental notes. (*scroll scroll scroll* Hm, my birthday is on a Thursday this year. *scroll scroll scroll* Hm, my birthday is on a Friday next year. I wonder what day it'll be the year after that...)


And “keep your calendar open” obviously refers to your Google Calendar (or iCal equivalent, if you really like programs that suck). If you have a physical, paper calendar that you use for this kind of shit, your boss and co-workers have long since realized you’re a total freak.


Berate the Intern


An absurdly common stock photo.

If your office has an intern, this technique is a great way to kill time, look important, and give yourself that nice little ego boost that comes with telling an unpaid college kid that he makes coffee like a dumbass.


If your office does not have an intern, either hire one, or berate the homeless people you encounter during your bus stop naps. They’re basically the interns of the city, anyway.


Old Documents

Keep at least ten old files open on your computer at all times. Throughout the day, tab over to one, slowly scroll through the whole thing like you’re reading it (when in reality you’re thinking about Batman, or boobs, or the legendary BatBoobs). If you look like you’re concentrating, people are less likely to bother you with important tasks that actually need to get done.


This technique eats up ten to fifteen seconds, max, but if you do it four to six times per minute your days will fly by.


Get a Fulfilling Job

If you find that you spend most of your day avoiding work or killing time, you’re probably in what they call a “dead-end job." Even if there is room for upward mobility, you still do shit you hate, all day, every day. Eventually, you’re going to reach a point where the money isn’t worth it (no matter what they’re paying you) to continue slowly selling your sanity to a soulless corporation, and you’ll quit to find something better.


Unfortunately, this isn’t the Dudefest Guyde to Finding a Fulfilling Job (but keep an eye out for that one!), so there’s nothing else we can do for you. Good luck. We hope that paycheck is worth your integrity!

At this rate, Pat Holland is going to have his job forever. Don't try to email him.

08-11-2014 | 8:30 AM
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