I’m a workavoidic, the flip side of the workaholic coin. Homer Simpson is my patron saint. Work has always been a priority for me, just a low one. In order to work at all, I have to trick myself into thinking it’s a game, which goes back to my first job at Auto Parts, where I spent the best part of a working day hiding from the muffler moguls in the tailpipe bin. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was exhausted.
Workavoidics are the paranoids of physical effort. We think people are out to get us - to work. And what’s worse, for them. Workavoidics are idealistic: the notion of working for “superiors” flies in the face of our democratic ideals. It’s not that we’re too good to work, it’s that we’re not good enough. Years ago a guidance counselor (who, I realize now, was a closet workavoidic) diagnosed me as a perfectionist unable to deal with the shoddy work I produced. Torn with inner conflict, I feel compelled to take the afternoon off and go home to snake the toilet. Beehives of activity give me hives. When I see a guy leaning on a shovel, I want to go over, prop him up with a two-by-four, and shake his hand. George W. Bush had the right idea: five hours a day in the saddle, tops - any more and you end up being tied to it. I’ve thought about forming a support group for workavoidics, but it hardly seems worth the effort. Instead I’ve put together some tips for fence-sitters who really would like to be sloughing off but haven’t gotten around to it. I call these “The Four Shortcuts”:
1. Delegate authority. All of it, if possible.
2. Avoid pressing concerns unless your pants are involved.
3. Use your time efficiently. Take a working lunch and eat as much paperwork as possible. Keep in mind the paperless workplace is a stepping-stone to the workless workplace.
4. If you must work, remember that work equals force times distance: take a little work and make it go a long way.
Remember, no one ever got rich through hard work. If you insist on working hard, you do so at your own economic peril.
More Workavoidic tips in Michael Feldman’s book “Whad’ya Know?”
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