Working hard

IMG_1049[1]Since the 1980s it has been widely accepted that being a hard worker is a virtuous trait. It shows you can be relied on, that you’ll pull your weight and you’ll do your share.

Assuming your name is Phillipa, people will say “Phillipa is a GOOD hard worker. She’s an asset to the team and she always signs for courier packages because she’s always in the office and doesn’t whinge about it, even if they are heavy and clearly nothing to do with work and someone is just getting all their packages couriered to work because its easier.”

Hard work makes you GOOD.

Like a lot of things that are good though, working hard isn’t much fun.  For a start, working hard isn’t usually compatible with the things that people commonly associate with fun: drinking, taking drugs or properly listening to Slowdive records. Working hard isn’t even as much fun as the other sorts of working: ‘working slowly’, ‘working ineptly’, or ‘looking like you are working but you are really just sitting on news websites posting racist comments’.

Working hard actively involves things usually associated with a pretty rubbish time: silently focusing, lifting, spreadsheets, not dancing, and holding in farts because it’s quiet.

it is hardly surprising then, that since 1984 people have been looking for a way to look like they are working hard, so as to receive the credit and accolades, but not actually be working hard at all, so as to continue enjoying themselves.

The problem is, most of the old favourites like “Leaving your jacket over the back of your chair so it looks like you are at work when really you are at the taco shop” and “Going into work on a Sunday to send an email to someone and then leaving” are a bit played out.  Most people see a jacket over the back of a chair nowadays and they think ‘taco shop’.  You send an email from work on a Sunday you are probably more likely to get a “I told you you aren’t allowed to sleep in the office anymore, get an actual flat” response as you are a “You’re working hard, have some stock options” response.   You need to be more original. You idiot.

Always wear work clothes

If you are always at work, you pretty much would only ever need to wear ‘work clothes.’ The fact you never change out of them indicates how little time you have to change. Because you are working.

There are some issues with this as a sole strategy: if you work and a rendering plant you are going to find the smell of your over-alls socially debilitating. Conversely, if you work in an office people might not think you are wearing a suit on a Saturday because you are on your way to the office; they may just think you are the sort of berk that gets up on a Saturday and puts on a suit because they think it makes them look like Don Draper.

Asinine idioms

Candle

A candle: Burning at one end. You burn the candle at both ends.

People who work hard don’t have time to be original or interesting and this reflects in their patterns of speech.  People who work hard talk in silly idioms and dumb sayings because the main part of their brain is thinking about spreadsheets and how to build a garage. These idioms should also usually nod towards the strain of having to work hard.

Try peppering your speech with: “Another day, another dollar”, “Working hard or hardly working?” “Burning the ol’ midnight oil” or “doing more working than twerking these days.”

Humble brags

Asinine idioms are all well and good but occasionally you will have to engage in more specific conversation. All conversation has to have something to do with work, how hard you are working, and relating the trials and tribulations in your life back to work. For instance:

“I am such a bad girlfriend; when the fridge fell on Dustin he had to drive himself to the emergency room because I was in the office burning the ol’ midnight oil.”

or:

“I have been so slack at the gym since the one in the basement of MY OFFICE stopped being open TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY.”

Or even:

“I didn’t come to your daughter’s Christening because I was digging a pool.”

Get a nickname

All hard-working people have nicknames related to their jobs because their job is most of their identity.  You can stand around waiting for someone to give you a nickname, sure, but if you aren’t a hard working person you might end up with a nickname that refers to non-work related aspect of your life. You might, for instance, end up being called “Munty Jim”, Mindy Car-crash” or ‘Phil the Screamer’.

Desk

The desk that Major Desk took his nickname from. Because he’s always sitting at it. Working.

No, you will have to give yourself a nickname to control what it is, and make sure it refers to your work. Try ‘Danny Spreadsheet’, ‘Water-cooler Joan’, ‘Sally Leaf-blower’ or ‘Major Desk’.

LinkedIn

Until 2009 hard working people didn’t use online social media tools unless their job was specifically ‘social media expert’ (which isn’t a real job), ‘professional networker’ (a function of all jobs but not one in and of itself) or ‘Mark Zuckerburg.’  This was evidenced by the number of boring people who used to say ‘I don’t have time for Facebook’ or ‘Twitter? I hear enough twittering around here thank you very much.  Pass me that toner cartridge please.  No, not that one, the other one.”

Then along came LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a social media tool for people who work hard.  If Facebook is approaching someone at a party and saying “I like that band too, let’s smoke this”, LinkedIn is approaching someone at a party and handing them your business card. To look like you are a hard worker you need a LinkedIn profile, and you need to constantly send everyone who is in your email directory invitations to be a ‘connection.’ Like, all the time.  Never, ever stop.

So now you know how to do it and I have even run the numbers on all of these ‘life hacks’ (actually, that’s another thing – hard workers always say things like ‘life hack’ or ‘TED talk’) and in total, the amount of time you will spend doing all these things is ‘one day’. The rest of the time is yours. Except the LinkedIn stuff. That’s going to take up most of your life.

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