Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chillax

Plankton is going through a very busy time, and everyone is currently working very hard. However it is vital that we learn to relax to ensure we maintain the work/life/sitting-around-doing-nothing balance that society tells us is so important.

Unfortunately, people feel that they shouldn’t be seen to be relaxing at work. We are all employed to work a certain number of hours a week and even though we may meet that weekly requirement it can make us feel a little bit naughty if we are caught napping on the couches or Googling ourselves .

Rest assured, though. Plankton understands that to get the best out of its employees, we all need the opportunity to work, rest and play. (Note that the dollarshop sells Mars bars for this very purpose.)

So as employees we need to not only relax, but to revel in our relaxation. It is rare that during a lunch break we see someone reading a book, playing ‘Grand Theft Auto: Norlane’, or practising the sousaphone, but these are exactly the kinds of activities that will revive your body and sharpen your mind, and therefore make you a more productive drone.

If your work commitments truly do make this kind of overt relaxation impossible, then you can relax by making a game out of your work. If you’re writing a requirements or design document, set yourself a fun challenging phrase to try to insert into the document (e.g. “this software will contain no bugs or design flaws”). If you are writing code, try avoiding any keywords that contain the letter ‘e’ and see if it compiles. If you talk to people on the phone, pretend to be different people by using exotic accents.

In short find something to do that will help you relax. Dying of stress will not help Plankton meet its deadlines, and so will not look good on your next performance review.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Side-skilling

It is the nature of all businesses that there will at some stage be a skills shortage. This could mean that you will be called upon to perform tasks that aren’t normally part of your general duties. You will be tempted to use this as an opportunity to show off. Don’t. If you excel in this extra task, or even if you perform it remotely adequately, it will be added to your general duties, and you will remain doing it long after the skills shortage lengthens.

For this reason it is important to make the job seem harder than it really is, and make sure you let everyone know how difficult it is. This way, regardless of whether you succeed or fail, people will not only be impressed that you even undertook the task, but will also know not to ask the whiny guy to do it again.

When executing the task try to keep your name off any documentation that may arise. If any evidence exists that you have performed the task once you will always be referred to as an expert in that field. It is an extreme, but in some cases acceptable, measure to chase down anyone that can provide anecdotal corroboration to your involvement and cajole or even threaten them accordingly. Bribery is expensive but can be used as a last resort.

In all cases the best option is to avoid the task altogether. This can best be achieved by acting so busy on your current tasks that even the act of approaching your desk seems such an imposition on your time that it is not worth the hassle. Under the current climate this should not pose a problem.