Thursday, May 26, 2005

There is hope

So-called labour-saving devices like cellphones and laptops mean we can work anywhere, anytime -- and there are employers out there who think that should be everywhere, all the time.

But there is hope.

The White Collar Slacker's Handbook: Tech Tricks to Fool Your Boss (Que Publishing) is packed with ways to build some quality time into that workaholic life and still keep people believing you're chained to your desk.

"The idea is to regain your personal life by using these same devices that are tethering you to the office," Saltzman says in an interview.

Here's a snippet from the section on portable devices in the book:

* Learn how to edit your BlackBerry messages to make it look like you're in your stupid cubicle like you should be!

* Forward your office phone number to a handheld device so that your customers or clients think you're diligently plugging away at the office.

* Copy an entire DVD over to your PDA or cellphone so you can watch Office Space while in your office space.

* Fake an incoming phone call so that you can get out of a meeting.

* Learn how to play sound effects on your cellphone so your boss thinks you're stuck on the freeway when you're really just running into the shower!

OK, perhaps he isn't entirely serious, but all of these things and more really are explained.

"The book was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but there are some really good practical tips in there," says Satzman.

Besides writing syndicated columns and books on technology, he also appears as an expert on various TV shows and regularly on TechTVCanada.

The one thing he doesn't really do is hold down a job where he has to slack off, since he's pretty much his own boss.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't used the odd trick or two himself to avoid having to explain why he hasn't finished a book or project by the appointed deadline.

"I've submitted articles to editors that were jargon files," he confesses.

A jargon file could be a photo file converted into a word document, for example.

The trick is to file the real article before they get too frustrated trying to open or unscramble the mess that appears on their computer.

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