We all know the type. There’s one in every workplace. The sort that comes for a work for a rest. To get away from their nagging spouse and all that family shit. They’re always ‘swamped’ when asked if they have any ‘spare capacity’, unless it’s a spanking new, high profile project, when they suddenly have all the time in the world to be part of the change and delivery team. They seem incredibly busy, and they always just “have to take this” but this super, important call is actually really a notification from a twitter like.
It’s so much easier now to loaf undetected, now that we’re all expected to be mobile and work flexible hours. Leaving your jacket on your office chair or walking around the building clutching a sheaf of papers are entry-level. It’s more than wasting time chatting, or ‘just nipping to Caffè Neros”, or going out for a fag. And more brazen, yet undetectable, than bringing your own paperwork from home to do in work time, ordering stuff online or twatting about on sosh meeds.
The new loafer has perfected the art of a long con. They would have made an excellent hostage negotiator, or salesperson, because their gift of the gab would have come in very handy. But no. Those roles required a person to actually produce some real results. A government job is where the easy money is. It requires stealth for someone to talk their way into a meaningless W1A titled post, and spend no more than two years there, because by then they will actually have had to action some deliverables. To swan around at conferences, networking, strategising and formulating policy, is all well and good, but when mission critical is five minutes to midnight and they are expected to deliver results, they have fucked off into an even higher-paid ‘secondment’ to never be seen again, leaving a half-finished project to flounder. The most work they will ever have done during those two years is to get their ducks in a row and update their core competencies on their LinkedIn profile, taking credit for someone else’s achievements.
Of course, this more prestigious role is now London-based, but to comply with flexible working policies, they can work from home two days a week, hotdesk (No-one ever checks up on actually find out where they are supposed to be not-desking) and waste at least an hour a day on video conferencing and pre-meetings. Of course, they are still careful enough to ensure they reach out to touch base offline with colleagues who can circle back to management to confirm that they were definitely in the office. Throw in a week of sick leave, a few days of compassionate leave, plus ’emergency childcare issues’ and they are now on an easy three-day week.
The next work-shy fop/brown-nose psychopath to charm and lie through their teeth to worm their way in, claims to thrive on getting their hands dirty and wants to hit the ground running to tidy up loose ends, but in reality, washes their hands of the previous incumbent’s efforts, as its issues are no longer fit for purpose. They park that project on pause. They begin to address the process map by blue sky thinking outside the box to go forward and action the next shiny new project, which, of course, has a snappy title like ‘2020 Vision.’ And so the circle of loaf continues. Occasionally, there’ll be a redundancy drive, which is a quick win and mutually beneficial because they can consciously uncouple without blame. They get a payout, plus three months salary in lieu of notice. The company can rid themselves of their embarrassing mistake, and try to forget they fell for the guff of the bone bloody idle twat in the first place. It’s more common than we know. Everyone’s at it. Even Prime Ministers. Then the merry-go-round can begin again.