Archive | August 2013

The Art of Skiving

People often mistake skiving for laziness, for doing nothing; they’re wrong. True skiving is an art form, a skill. It has to be nurtured, studied, and most importantly, understood.

Anyone can not do the work they’re supposed to be doing, but a skiver will do so without raising suspicion. As far as the watching world is concerned they’ll blend in to the background, lost amidst the effort of those around them. A true master of the art can even find themselves commended for the perceived effort they’ve been putting in, but before such heights can be reached you must grasp a few fundamentals.

If you haven’t been assigned a task, do not, ever, ask if ‘there’s anything that needs doing’? If you were free from duties then obviously there was nothing to do, but ask, and a plethora of futile tasks will appear. Now you have something to do that didn’t need doing. Simple silence would have kept everyone happy; however, in order to protect yourself from being spotted supposedly doing nothing, always assign yourself a job you’re in the middle of, just in case somebody asks. This can be anything. If you work in an office, position a pile of paper next to your keyboard that you’re ‘working through’. Turn a page every so often, and when the bottom approaches replenish the ‘to do’ pile from the ‘done’ stack. Nobody will care to notice. If you work in a warehouse, take a box with you everywhere you go. You’re eternally taking it somewhere. Can’t be bothered with a box, hide among the shelves, staring at one when people walk past in a vain search for that thing you need.

The point is, you’re busy, but should anything need doing make it a task you can finish in minutes and be ready to help the boss with anything they need. Perceived eagerness is infinitely better than the real thing.

Should you be given a task, find out what is expected of you and how long you have to do it. Once left to it, finish the job as soon as possible, then dismantle one simple step of your efforts and use the rest of the assigned time for your own enjoyment, or even just for a sit down. As the boss returns to check on your progress, hopefully at the end of the allotted time, re-complete the job as they arrive, wiggling various components and checking your work.

Reality is perception, so give off the signals of somebody who is doing their job and it will be presumed you are. Give off the signals of somebody who’s doing nothing and you’ll be spotted instantly, even if you are actually doing something.

Every job is different, but the fundamentals of skiving can be applied to any position. You don’t think anyone’s actually on the other end of Obama’s phone at 3pm on a Friday afternoon?