5 Signs You’re In The Wrong Job

Can you justify an extra long coffee break? Only if you don't smoke.

If you’re in the wrong job, you probably already know about it. There are things you do (and things you don’t do) that are sure-fire signs that something is not right. You find ways to procrastinate, to put off work and to make excuses. I’m not talking about the full blown, can’t-be-arsed-to-hide-it-any-more playing solitare when the whole world can see, or snoring at your desk approach. I’m talking about signs that are a little more subtle.
None of these are things that you should be doing, but here are 5 (fairly) subtle signs that someone doesn’t want to be doing their job. These are the top five I’ve seen over the last few years (I’m ashamed to say that at one point or another I have done most of these). See if you have any more to add in the comments.

1) Hiding in the toilets

Toilet breaks always seem to take longer than usual. Somehow they seem to coincide with facebook or twitter updates, or with reading the next chapter of your latest e-book.

2) Taking the longest possible route from the door to your desk

If you’re paid to be in the building, but can’t bare the thought of being at your desk for any longer than you have to, this is a no brainer. Why take the shortest, quickest, most direct route to your desk? The scenic route might buy you an extra few seconds away from work.
This is way more common that I first thought, and some people are really good at disguising it. If you’re able to walk quickly, preferably carrying a pen and notepad. most people will assume that you’re busy carrying out some important task. Don’t overdo it though…

3) Claiming you’re entitled to take long breaks for coffee because smokers get away with it

Now this one only seems fair. It is perfectly acceptable for someone who smokes to go outside for breaks all day long, but seemingly frowned upon for a non smoker to take equivalent breaks to drink coffee. This is definitely an issue worth moaning about at every opportunity, right?

4) Tracking your hours to the minute

This one is probably only relevant for people who work on flexitime, where you choose when to work a fixed number of hours in a given week or month. Tracking hours can become something of an obsession. Synchronising watches and phones with the company clock-in or tracking system, creating elaborate spreadsheets detailing the number of minutes required to be worked for every day (past and present) and knowing the exact number of seconds it takes to walk from your desk to each clock-in point are all common symptoms. In the event of a miscalculation you may find yourself lingering around the clock-in point for the required minute to roll around.

5) Having a small web browser window open most of the day, hoping it is invisible to your boss.

This is a classic, and I’ve seen so many people do it. Everyone has their own slightly different style, and some are way more effective than others. Here are two of the best:

The Distraction Technique

Clutter your screen with windows that contain “real work”, and hide your web browser somewhere on the edge or the bottom. It’s big enough for you to use properly but not so big that it draws attention. You’ve made sure that no images are visible in the browser (so it doesn’t draw attention), and you dot a few other web browsers around the screen containing information that could be passed off as “research”. When someone comes over, you just carry on and hope they don’t notice which window you were actually using.

The Gung Ho Approach

A single, prominent (but not full screen) window sits in the centre of your display. You have one eye on the screen, and the other keeping watch. Your mouse pointer is hovering over either the close or minimise button, and your finger is on the trigger. At the slightest sign of movement, perhaps as the person you sit next to turns around or you notice someone approaching your desk, you pull the trigger. Boom – the window is gone. Of course, your spider senses and cat like reactions have definitely stopped anyone from noticing what you were actually looking at. False alarm rate can be high with this method.

Over to you

Those are the top five that I have seen. How about you? Are there any more work dodging techniques that “your colleagues” use whilst at work?

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