Those of us who consider ourselves to be cubicle monkeys, computer jockeys, desk dwellers, or any other type of professional email checkers and web surfers know that life inside of a cubicle can crush the spirit of a man. Fortunately, Cubiclephobia here to act as a guide and sanity safeguard.
Getting Caught Not Doing Work
“No, that wasn’t a photo of two girls making out in their underwear. I have no idea what BrokenFilter is, it must have been a popup or something. I’m not a pissed off, glutenous beer-drinking sex addict, otherwise why would I read this website? The fact that this website is the first one that comes up when I type the letter ‘b’ into the address bar doesn’t mean that I’m looking at this stuff more than I’m looking at anything else. Seriously.”
We’ve all been there before. We’ve all been caught looking at a fantasy team, or looking at BrokenFilter, or
masturbating in the restroom looking for other jobs while at work. It’s OK. There is no way in hell that your boss does any real amount of work either, especially if you work for the fed. You have a job title and a paycheck, but what they don’t know is that you really are just killing time while at work. You’re not actually working. It’s a well known fact that your productivity undulates (fancy word that morons like you have never heard) over time. That means it goes up and down.
When people get to work at 9, they really aren’t that productive until all of their emails and blogs are read and their Facebook status is updated. Then they are increasingly productive until they get hungry for lunch, at which point they start getting distracted. They remain distracted until a little bit after lunch when work starts getting a little busy again. At 3pm, you start to feel tired and hungry. But then once the clock strikes 4, it becomes a countdown until it’s time to leave. The rest of the day is spend checking blogs and Facebook statuses. Stati? Anyway, you might as well go home because you won’t do any actual work.
Getting caught on allowed, but non-work related websites. Like CNN, or Yahoo news, maybe even ESPN if you are on your lunch break. This is usually not a huge foul if your boss hasn’t been riding your ass about being behind on your work. Generally, it would probably be bad to rush into closing the window or turning off your monitor when somebody important comes by, because it looks too suspicious. If it’s just Yahoo news, you’re in the clear to leave it up.
Getting caught on boarderline banned websites. These are obviously not work-related websites, like Yahoo news or ESPN. However, due to their content, it is risky to get caught viewing them. YouTube and Netflix are the best two examples. It might be OK to watch a YouTube video every now and then, but if you are watching YouTube you are blatantly slacking off. The same goes for Facebook. Nobody goes on to Facebook to work, and if they do, they are either an intern or have a worthless dead-end job.
Basically, any website that might throw in a bikini photo or two fits this mold. If you get caught viewing them by a friend/coworker, it’s not that big of a deal. If you get caught by a chick, she might give you a frown. Getting caught by a boss is bad news. Unless you’re REAL chummy with this guy, you got a problem. The best thing to do is to keep multiple windows open that are work-related. Have Outlook open in one window, then have a spreadsheet open in another. If a boss comes by, hit Alt+Tab to quickly toggle windows. To straight close the window quickly, hit Alt+F4. Beware of websites with forms. It may ask you if you are sure you want to lose the data you entered, meaning you need another half-second or so to close the window.
If you actually do get caught, just explain that it is a legit website and you were on a break. The chick in the bikini is a rarity and you were looking at something else on the website. If your boss doesn’t say anything about it, don’t bring it up.
Getting caught looking at something that is totally not allowed at work. Like games, porn, or BrokenFilter. You gotta pretty bad problem if your boss sees this. If your network administrator over in IT is work a damn, he will have his firewall set up to log all network traffic, and make a special note if the traffic contains certain content, often referred to as a “blacklist”. Usually the blacklist is a list of terms or words, like “porn” or “fuck”, or even “games” or something like that. If those terms occur too many times on a webpage, the page might be logged and/or blocked. Personally I have no idea how I haven’t been fired yet. I guess my network admin sucks at his job.
But yeah. If you get caught with a full on titty on your monitor, or if the website has a photo of some chick bending over and spreading her buttcheeks apart, you might have a problem. The best thing to do is say it was a popup, it was an accident, etc etc. If you look at these things on the reg you need to empty the cache so it won’t show up in the history either.
Getting caught sleeping. The ol’ George Costanza.
Flip this shit around hard. Say that you feel so overworked, that you are tired. You stayed late at the office the day before working on these reports or whatever, and you got home late. But make sure to add “but don’t worry, I’m OK to finish today’s work.” Your boss might either be extremely sympathetic or a complete fucktard and even tell you to take the rest of the day off. Like in Liar Liar when Jim Carrey kicks his own ass to try to get out of court. Then the judge asks him if he is able to continue. He can’t lie, so he says he can, but the judge has sympathy and grants him a break anyway.
Getting caught not working as many hours as you clocked in for. This one’s a real tricky one. You can avoid punishment one, maybe twice. Where I work, we don’t punch in and then punch out. We write it in, either after or before we actually work, then submit the spreadsheets every other Friday. Sometimes they want us to submit it on Thursdays, which means that we submit the hours we work a day before we work them. This allows for some lying. Just say that you would have entered the hours correctly if you were allowed to enter them after the fact. “Well, you wanted it submitted yesterday, I couldn’t predict that I’d lock my keys in the car and get to work two hours late.” If it was submitted after the fact, just say that you wrote in the hours you intended to work, but then when you were late one day you forgot to change it back.
If you actually punch a time clock, this is going to be harder. If you left work without purposely punching out, then you went back to work drunk at 2am to punch out like I used to when I was a lifeguard, you might be in trouble. You can just say that you were in the neighborhood and you know that Jimmy in accounting got in trouble because he forgot to punch out one day. So you wanted to minimize the damage and come back to clock out, then tell payroll the next day that you accidentally overclocked, so take a few hours out of my paycheck. Honestly, if you worked in payroll, and somebody told you to give them less money, would you ask questions? I’d automatically believe them. Otherwise why would anybody want less money?
Getting caught looking for other jobs. This is a particularly bad one. If you’re an intern, and your internship is ending soon, you could get away with this. If you think you are about to get fired, but you’re not sure, and you get caught looking for jobs, you’re getting fired. If you just casually get caught looking for jobs, you will probably have to have an awkward conversation the next week, at which point you are going to have to explain that, whatever. Hopefully the job is in another city, and if it is, you can say that your girlfriend or whatever got a job there and you want to move there to be with her.
If you have kids and you get caught looking for a job you are an irresponsible parent. You should have picked a major in college worth a damn instead of what was easiest. If you didn’t go to college, chances are you have a good union job and you don’t need to look at another job, or you were set as soon as high school ended which is sweet too, or worst case scenario you are stupid and lazy and possibly an unattractive middle-aged woman. Most people fit this mold. You are a late-thirties woman working in HR and you decided to go to night school and study some bullshit IT major or get an MBA at whatever school you can get it the quickest. You’re still worthless. The world needs ditch diggers too. You don’t deserve a job paying $80,000 a year just because you think you do, don’t blame Obama or Congress, blame yourself. I offer you no advice because I hate people who think the world owes them something.
Getting caught talking shit about your boss. Hopefully your boss is like mine and is too polite to keep it real. If this happened to me, I’d pretend I didn’t hear it. If you are making fun of your boss, hopefully your boss can laugh about it. If it was a joke but it wasn’t offensive, you can even say you knew he was there and that you wanted him to hear it.
If you’re saying something like “fucking Schwarz is a total dick and I heard his wife uses a strap-on on him”, you might be in trouble. Consider getting another job and possibly writing for BrokenFilter, because clearly your filter is broken.
Getting caught jacking it in the bathroom stall. This is the absolute worst. Nobody wants to go out like this, getting caught just wailing away on yourself. Consider yourself fired, and look at hiring a lawyer. You might get sued for sexual harassment since you decided to jack it in the ladies room.