When Management is Absent

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Question: I’m completely overwhelmed with demands for my time, from everyone under the sun, and my manager is way too busy to help or even pay attention. I’m screwed.

Answer:
Yes, you are. But look on the bright side – if management is too busy to pay attention, you can work remotely and keep putting people off until they get distracted by demands on THEIR time.

Send periodic deliverables to half the team at random intervals just to keep them guessing, and then go offline. As long as you have something to show, you can claim that whatever you produced is what people were asking for.

This isn’t guaranteed to work, of course. Sometimes management will punish you despite your best efforts. This is called “Calvinist predestination” and it means you were hired specifically to take the organization’s collective blame. I have no productive advice for you, so I’ll turn this one over to my Evil Twin.

  1. Follow Your Bliss. If you get piles of docs requests and can only do 1 out of 10, just pick the ones that seem most interesting or most relevant to you. Don’t pick the easiest one, though. Your brain will atrophy if you stick with low-hanging fruit all the time
  2. Quick Knockouts. This is almost the opposite of #1 above, by hey! I’m the Evil Twin! Suck it up. In this option, you pick the requests that you can issue with speed to demonstrate how productive you are. Don’t do a sloppy job, though. Make it sharp.
  3. Ignore People You Don’t Like. This goes well with #1. Just do favors for your friends, who are those people who’ve helped YOU out, stuck up for you, soothed you with kind words, or otherwise treated you with dignity and respect. Warning: flatterers are not necessarily friends. Learn the difference.
  4. Take Bribes. I used to tell people “That’ll be a dollar”. I never collected, though.
  5. Ask for Help. Yeah, even Evil Twins have occasionally sought advice. Sometimes it actually works. Ask everyone whom you feel you can confide in, both at work and elsewhere. If you are betrayed by colleagues, see Option 6.
  6. Bat Out of Hell. If you work at a place that’s so disorganized that they dump work on you and then abuse you for doing it, get out if you possibly can.
  7. If you can’t leave, because maybe you need the insurance or you’ve got too many dependents, then adopt a “Concentration Camp Mentality” and just plod along. Note that even in dire conditions, the people who do best are the ones who carve out a secret life for themselves in a positive way. Go play in an orchestra or start microdosing.

These are merely suggestions. Once tapped, your wellspring of creativity is infinite. Read the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

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