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How to get away from doing real work in startups


In Startups you often get to work closely with various kinds of people. There are the workaholics, who rarely go back home and come to office on weekends. There are those all-talk-no-substance ones, no-talk-all work types too. But, there’s this one unique type which does not do any work but somehow creates an illusion of getting things done.

People who work solely on building a false perception without remotely caring to do any work belong in this category. They have mastered the art of not doing any work and getting away with it.

This is about them. 

One day, an hour after the lunch time, I saw this person in the office pantry having his lunch. I went up to him to ask what’s happening, why was he having food so late? He immediately started complaining about how his day is packed with meetings and projects. Tight timelines, more work, pressure from the top etc.

I told him that day was my last at the company. And, told him that he can stop bullshitting me with the fake work pressure he just ranted about. Almost instantly, he smiled at me, asking how did I catch the false facade?

Without answering him, I asked him how does he manage to fool people into believing that he worked when he absolutely doesn’t. 

He gave it a thought, asked me to sit with him and gave away his modus operandi. Here it is:

  • Slack/MT/WhatsApp is your weapon of choice: Be hyper active on messaging apps. Share articles on Slack channels. Show that you read by sharing. Even if you don’t read what you share.
  • Get Seen: Do highly visible things. Like asking an obvious (even stupid) question during townhall meetings so that you’re seen and heard. No one cares about the question or its quality or genunineness. So grab a mic and amplify your voice, this is your #metoo moment.
  • The second rule of communication: The way to communicate on Slack or email – always choose Channel communication (sending messages to a group of users) over sending it directly via DM to the concerned person. This way you show that you’re working. Append this with Ccing your manager when sending email to a peer. Get sneaky by Bccing important people.
  • Have a Sense of Commentary: Jump in conversations that are unrelated to your line of work. Do this on slack, in person, or even on social media. Be the king of shout-outs.
  • Suggest a Ton: If you’ve a thought in your head. What’s it doing in there? Take it out and suggest something to someone. Don’t worry about the quality, value-add or anything. It is important to offer unwarranted suggestions to anyone and everyone you see in the workplace.
  • Opine thy Lord: Don’t keep opinions to yourself. If you feel the food is not tasty. Say it out loud. If you think the hamburger menu on the new website sucks, say it out loud. Say it to the person sitting next to you, to the pantry boy, security guy, whoever is available. Doesn’t matter who you say it to, but say it. 
  • Digital Omnipresence: Reply to group emails at ungodly hours. 11PM, 7AM, 4AM. Be perceived as a person working round the clock. You don’t have to wake up to send these out. Just schedule emails and forget.
  • Love Thy HR: Post pictures of the office, meetings on social media with calling for job applicants to join the team. Decorate the office during festivities. Acquire Rangoli skills to accelerate impact.
  • Jargons FTW: Sound smart by not being understood. Who cares if they get what you’re saying. Most of the times it works for you than against you.

That’s all he told me. His nine commandments.

You can either deploy these tactics or refer them to spot someone who shies from real work and conveniently gets away with it.

PS: Issued in public interest. Ghatnakram kalpanik ho sakta hai.


Posted in POV


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