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Never walk down the hall without a document in your hands. People with
documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important
meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they're heading for the
cafeteria. People with the newspaper in their hands look like they're heading
for the bathroom. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at
night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you
Use computers to look busy. Any time you use a computer, it looks like work
to the casual observer. You can send and receive personal e-mail, calculate your
finances and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to
work. These aren't exactly the societal benefits that everybody from the
computer revolution expected but they're not bad either. When you get caught by
your boss--and you will get caught--your best defense is to claim you're
teaching yourself to use the new software, thus saving valuable training
dollars. You're not a loafer, you're a self-starter. Offer to show your boss
what you learned. That will make your boss scurry away like a frightened
Messy desk. Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the
rest of us, it looks like you're not working hard enough. Build huge piles of
documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year's work looks the
same as today's work; it's volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you
know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you'll need halfway
down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.
Voice mail. Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don't call
you just because they want to give you something for nothing-- they call because
they want YOU to do work for THEM. That's the way to live. Screen all your calls
through voice mail. If somebody leaves a voice mail message for you and it
sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour. That way, you're
hardworking and conscientious even though you're being a devious weasel. If you
diligently employ the method of screening incoming calls and then returning
calls when nobody is there, this will greatly increase the odds that they will
give up or look for a solution that doesn't involve you. The sweetest voice mail
message you can ever hear is Ignore my last message. I took care of it. If
your voice mailbox has a limit on the number of messages it can hold, make sure
you reach that limit frequently. One way to do that is to never erase any
incoming messages. If that takes too long, send yourself a few messages. Your
callers will hear a recorded message that says, Sorry, this mailbox is full--a
sure sign that you are a hardworking employee in high demand.
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