Friday, May 04, 2007

The Most Fired Man in America

Editor’s Note:

For years, workers have suffered through the advice of pundits, over-achievers and corporate lackeys, some of whom have had only three or four jobs in their entire lives.

Wouldn’t it be better to get career advice from someone with experience at literally thousands of jobs?

Baz Truman thinks so. Since the early 1980s, Baz Truman has been working at and getting fired from more jobs in a week than most people get fired from in a lifetime. Baz’ single-minded determination to excel at his career - no matter the cost – has gotten him fired from some of the world’s biggest and brightest companies.

The Most Fired Man in America
By Baz Truman

Q. Baz, I've been caught playing computer Solitaire twice by my boss. She says that if I'm caught one more time, I may be in danger of losing my job. My boss have even moved my cubicle assignment to just outside her door, so that she can check on me. I get my work done, but sometimes I just need a break from work. What can I do?

In Solitary Over Solitaire

Dear In Solitary Over Solitaire,

One accounting company estimates that employees spend half a billion hours a year playing computer games during work, resulting in a loss of $10 billion dollars in productivity. Most managers will look at this figure and say, damn, our company needs to get this work gaming thing under control. As America's most serial employee, I see this:

If you divide $10 billion dollars by half a billion hours, you'll see the average person playing Solitaire makes $20 an hour. That's a pretty good wage. Clearly, playing Solitaire results in a better career.

First, you need to get some space away from your boss. I recommend farting. Often and loudly. Eat the right mixture of flatulence-causing legumes for breakfast and I give it a week before you have your own laptop and a cubicle in the parking lot. Take it from me, though - if you follow this route, beware the unintended consequences of this covert operation. I believe the CIA calls this "Blowback".

I call it that, too.

Next, realize that network monitoring software makes it almost impossible to play games at work and not be caught - even if you're working alone in the parking lot. Your only rational choice is to stop playing games.

Personally, I like to get caught early and get it out of the way. This is why I give all of my work projects names like "Minesweeper", "Freejack" or "Goal-oriented Team Accounting III".

If my boss catches me, I like to open up my Outlook Calendar and point to my schedule.

"See? Right there. It clearly says I'll be working on GTA III from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. today. You approved it."

This approach hasn't actually worked for me, but I have high hopes.

In closing, remember one thing. If America wants to beat its record of half a billion hours, we need every American doing their fair share.

That's right. If you're not being unproductive, you're not being productive.

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