The Invincible code
June 24, 2010 2 Comments
A good one and a half decades into my professional career, I haven’t still cracked “The Invincible Code” – the code of appearing busy at work while actually doing nothing.
This code that I am talking about is the true panacea of all ills that a person could face in his career. The ills could be : Actually required to do something, Having to commit to something or plain simple Having to own up to some failure.
But the code protects him from all possible fallout of the ills and shields him like the Z+ category security that our politicians enjoy.
Before I proceed any further, lest readers presume that I am taking the high moral ground, I am not a saint at work. I am as prone to all the “entertainments” of work and use every avenue to dodge, procrastinate and delay, so I am one among everyone. But what I haven’t learnt, forget perfecting, is the “art” of “appearing busy”.
“I love work, I can keep looking at it all day” is one of the quotable quotes about “work” which keeps getting circulated in office jokes. This is the bedrock of the “invincible code” .
I am amazed at some managers that I have interacted with who seemed to have perfected the code. Any time, Any day of the year, they are “busy”. Yes, Just busy to do anything at all.
It is not enough to just know the code but one needs to master as well. There are however certain prerequisites before one can master this code. They are, as follows
a) Formal dressing on all days : Sorry no Friday dressing if you have to swear by this code. After all you don’t want to give an impression that you are in anyways “less than usually busy” on any day.
b) Keep a straight face : You should not only be busy but appear to be busy, for a successful adoption of this code. So be as neutral as possible with your facial mannerisms, never give into a laugh. If need be, you can even be grumpy which works for you except that if you work in an office where you are served tea in your cabins, the janitor may not feel like giving you a cuppa. But this is a small price that you pay for the huge payoff that you get – No work. If being grumpy doesn’t come to you naturally, perhaps you should consider adopting a bull dog.
c) Never more than one line mails : You are busy remember, so how the hell would you afford to write long emails. Never, I repeat, never breach this important tenet of this code. Just one line mails would do, the more delayed the better. Just for the effect, find “odd times” to send the mails. This obviously doesn’t mean that you stay up along with owls to send emails but just master the Microsoft beast – the outlook. Your mails should be no more than “fyi, fyna, ok, no” et all.
d) The Signature tag : No I am not referring to how you signoff your mails but your signature tag should be the “Out of Office Reply” that should be on for around 18 hours a day. It should be as bland as possible something like “I am in all day meetings, responses will be delayed”. The real pride of place, ofcourse would go to “I am in “back to back” meetings” which clearly underscores the point that the organization couldn’t just run without you being locked up in some conference room or the other. You can ofcourse do away with the O-O-O on public holidays.
e) The Last Man Standing : Actually it should be The Last Man “Grand” Standing. If ever you are accosted in the restroom or the cafeteria, have a list ready – The list of who isn’t doing anything (which should practically include all your peers). What if your peer has just closed a $500 million deal, he doesn’t have to respond to 387 mails a day !!! Don’t run your peers down but master the art of “trivialization”. Remember that you are “THE MAN” that the entire organization is looking up to. Not only do you have the solution for all the organizational problems, if only the organization would “free up your bandwidth” you also have it in you to solve the BP slick or Afghan or the Kashmir problem. But the cruel world doesn’t allow you to be what you can be.
The “Da Vinci Code” has been cracked but this invincible code is “organization proof”. Adopt this code and see your career soar into the skies. Adopt or be left out to “actually do some work”, the choice is yours.