By now you have noticed that we are in the middle of what some people like to call "summer." Everywhere there are children, celebrities and random others frolicking in the sun. People who don't think that a hangover is a reason to use up their last vacation day are going to places like Fiji and Yosemite and Grandma's house for up to two full weeks.
You, however, have no vacation time left. You have no sun-burnished skin. You are what some people like to call "a sad sack." There is no need to worry. Even you can enjoy the summer. Don't think for one second that going to work every day and spending eight consecutive hours at a desk, in an office, surrounded by morons is something that you "must" do, something that you are "required" to do in order to earn a "paycheck."
In the hope that you will benefit from my wisdom in the ways of loafing, I give you ten ways to shuffle off the hellish coil of employment and bound nude toward the ocean of freedom. Metaphorically, yes? These ten steps are guaranteed to work for nearly one-sixteenth of one-half of one percent of everyone who reads them.
- Shave Off Minutes
Start by shaving off a few minutes here and there so that you don't have to be at work for eight full hours. I know you aren't actually doing work the entire time you are there, but why waste even that much time in the office? You are supposed to be in by 9:00? Make it 9:10. Lunch is an hour? How about an hour and ten. You leave at 6:00? Try 5:50. Right there, I just saved you half an hour of soulless, mind numbing drudgery.
- Use Sick Days
It is like our jobs are punishing us for being healthy. Sick people get paid for working less days than healthy people do. Take advantage of your vitality by calling in sick when you aren't. Why waste a day off from work when you are really sick? Drag your ass to work on those days. (But don't come near me, because I will bitch you out for spreading your germs around the office.) Just make sure the bird girls in your HR department aren't Amish about sick leave and won't be demanding a note if you are out for more than three days in a row.
A trick I like to use when I return to the office is to "forget" to fill out my sick leave form. Sometimes my boss remembers to ask for it and sometimes not. That is good for at least an extra two sick days per year.
Don't be worried about lying to your boss about being sick. If you are a woman with a man for a boss, just tell him you are having some "female troubles." He won't ask any questions. For a man with a woman for a boss, just say that you are having "tummy troubles." She will think it is cute that you said "tummy" and won't ask you about your diarrhea. Women with women bosses can use that one, too. For a man with another man for a boss, tell him you have "nasty ass." For a transgender, well, why don't you lead with that and see what happens?
- Plan Work-Based Activities
We all hate an office shower or birthday party, but these things can be your greatest allies in the summer. Suggest to whoever is the acting Office Pollyanna that what everyone really needs is more office celebrations. You know she will jump right on it. An office celebration is the perfect time to sneak out for at least 20 minutes, but you could probably manage 30 or 40 if you are good at it. Likely no one will notice your absence, but if someone asks where you were? "Stuck in a meeting." Ah, that's too bad.
- Schedule Off-Site Meetings
This is one that works well, particularly if you have a boss whom you can manipulate into thinking something was his own idea. Suggest to your boss that morale is getting low and you think the group could use a team-building activity. Warning: you must not stop there! You must suggest a team-building activity or you will be stuck with doing something stupid like tug-of-war or that one where you have to get across a fake river with three fake logs and two fakes stones and a fox and a chicken. (Fox and chicken also fake.)
The conversation could go something like this:
You: That reminds me, I have been meaning to mention something to you. Morale has been pretty low lately and I was thinking that we could use a little team-building.
Boss: Really? What makes you think that?
You [not falling into his trap]: Just some grumblings, but you know, you mentioned [that movie] the other day...
Boss: A movie?
You: That's a great idea! [patting boss on shoulder] You are the coolest boss!
- Make Excuses
This is also known as "lying." Below are a few examples that can buy you some paid time off during the summer. It is important to remember not to abuse these. Use them sparingly and change them up a bit.
I have to leave at noon this Friday. My Mom is coming for the weekend and I am picking her up at the airport.
Ugh, I need to leave at 3:00 today to go the dentist. I hate the dentist! I have to have a root canal and god knows what else. I think he said something about three or four appointments over the next few weeks.
I'll be in late tomorrow morning. I have to drop my car off at the shop.
[The next day.]
Bye! I have to pick up my car before they close.
- Shave Off Hours
Shaving hours off your workday obviously takes more skill than shaving off minutes. It helps if you work in an office with flexible hours where not everyone starts at the same time. Your 8-6 workday just became a 9-5. And you still get to take a lunch. The trick to taking a two-hour lunch is to leave at 11:30, but you have to avoid being seen. Soon, everyone else is going to leave for lunch and not realize that you have already been gone for half an hour. When they start trickling in just after 1:00, even if someone does notice that you didn't get back until 1:30 they might assume you left for lunch late. Fools.
Back to the 9-5 workday. It is absolutely imperative that you make it appear that you come in early and leave late. Leave your office light on. (Sorry if you have lights that turn off automatically. My office light does and I still haven't figured out what to do about it.) Leave your desk looking like you just stepped away for a moment; don't tidy up at the end of the day. Leave a bag on your desk that looks like your computer bag or your purse. It will look like you haven't left yet. Don't keep anything valuable in your bag or the cleaning staff will steal it.
- Get Your Boss Sick
If you are lucky enough to catch a cold during the summer, like I said above, you need to drag your snotty, sneezing, nasty self into work. Spend as much time as possible in and out of your boss's office. Touch her keyboard, her phone; lick her coffee mug. Do what you can to ensure that your germs will live on in her.
It may seem heartless but, once you are recovered from your disease, your boss will be in the thick of it. She will probably stay home and you will be free to do as you please. Even if she comes in to work, she will be so out of it that she won't know what the hell is going on. Just make sure you keep her germy ass out of your office.
Jackpot: If you are really lucky, your boss will have kids to whom she can keep spreading your insidious virus. Once she recovers, she will still be in and out of work as her progeny start to fall.
- Kill a Relative
It is a little known fact that most employers offer bereavement leave. The usual amount is three days off per death of immediate family member (grandparents, parents, siblings, children) and you don't have to produce a death certificate like you do to get a cheap flight with the airlines. Hopefully, you haven't been an annoying Chatty Cathy telling everyone how Nana Bess made you the prettiest quilt for your birthday last month and how great it is that she is still going strong at 80 and probably going to outlive everyone. Well, even if you had, grandparents drop dead every day and who's to say Bess isn't next? Please remember which relatives you have killed, though. Bosses tend to notice when someone has four dead grandpas.
- Just Leave
Now, this is a tricky one. A pre-requisite for attempting this method of getting out of work and enjoying some alone time with a chaise lounge is the mastery of "Making Excuses" from the Beginning Techniques, but that is just a back-up in case you get caught.
This method is elegant in its simplicity. Just leave. Walk out the door. Sayonara, suckers. Chances are not a single person will even notice. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition and no one expects an employee to walk out of work in the middle of the day and head for the beach.
You should have an excuse ready in case someone does wonder where you were. This is my favorite and it is my gift to you. "Where was I? Where were you? I kept missing you all day! I really needed to talk to you about [this thing]. Do you have some time now?"
- Rat Out Your Co-Workers
So you have been following my advice, trying all of my fantastic techniques and nothing seems to be working. Well, my friend, you are doing it wrong. There is nothing I can do for you. You have to put in your time at work and earn some more vacation days. There is one final thing you can do. It isn't going to help your reclaim your summer, but it will make you feel better about being stuck in your office.
Rat out your co-workers.
If you notice that any of your co-workers are trying the methods I mentioned, tell on them. That's right; be a pansy-assed tattletale. Who cares? You're miserable and stuck inside, so why should you be the only one? I'm not saying this is going to make you the most popular person at work, but there is comfort to be found in spitefulness.
If you rat me out, though, I'll beat you down so hard you'll wish yo' mama had never spread her legs for yo' daddy.
Go forth, fellow corporate minions, and free yourselves.