The Funemployed

Vox has a good article on people who do little or nothing at work, yet still get good performance reviews. I’d post a link, but it contains a word TMF doesn’t like. Google: “How some people get away with doing nothing at work”.

{{{To be sure, not everyone feels bad. Tom, who works in sales, appears to be a bit of an expert in getting paid for work he’s not doing. His boss at his last job forgot to inform HR that he’d quit, so he collected a paycheck from the company for a while before anyone figured it out. Now, at his new job, the company doesn’t even know where he’s based — he’s in the United Kingdom, they think he’s in Kentucky — and there’s minimal oversight. “I’m able to slip through the cracks most of the time,” he says. If someone asks what he did over the weekend, he’ll say he went to the Kentucky Derby or something, because he doesn’t want anyone getting suspicious.}}}

My skill was optimizing the work process, and delivering a high-quality end product with the least effort possible. I’ve never had a job I couldn’t do in 20 hrs/week or less once I figured out how the office culture and environment worked. Of course, I still had to sit in the office for a minimum of 40 hrs/week, and if I wasn’t sitting there for 60 hrs/week, I likely wasn’t promotable. But that was fine. My strategy was to job-hop through the 1980’s every few years at a higher salary, and then retire early once I’d accumuated enough capital.



Firemen when there are no fires?

The Captain


There’s a firehouse down the street from me, and I see the guys rolling out the hoses to dry them and other maintenace work between calls. But sure, in this neighborhood they’re probably not working all the time. Across the river in Portland, they have so many homeless people setting their tents on fire, that the fire fighters are working overtime, getting paid for it, and complaining about it.

intercst (never got paid overtime)


Back some 25 years ago there was an old WW II vet used to talk about his days at Pratt before it was called PW. He did some machining for a while after the war. He found ways to improve the small part he was making. He found ways to increase production. The company gave out bonuses when you produced more. This was 1950s America. We are going into this again.

He got fed up with the job. He stopped reporting how he did things to improve the production. He hid the parts he made in his bench. Then he put them in a box one day and went to the boss. He dumped them on the boss’s desk and quit. He got a massive bonus in the process.

On the man himself, he was on a ship in the Pacific. He had a very guilty conscience. When Japanese airmen crashed the survivors could swim over to the ship and get rescued. He had shot several men in the water.


I worked with a guy at Exxon who’s father worked for IBM in a factory in upstate New York. At the time, IBM had a “process improvement program” where if you suggested an improvement that saved the company money, IBM awarded you 10% of the savings. So Ken’s father developed a method that greatly reduced the number of man-hours required to change out a value on the production line, and there were hundreds of these values at factories throughout the company that needed to be changed fairly frequently because the corrosive material that went through the value caused them to leak. The annual savings was in the millions of dollars, and 10% of that was several hundred thousand dollars, at a minimum.

The company gave him a $1,000 bonus, which was the savings on a handful of valve change outs. The for-profit manager will always find a way to screw labor.

The only institution that reliably pays out big awards is the Federal Gov’t. When I worked for Corning in the early 1980’s they bought a medical testing lab Damon Clinical Laboratories , the equivalent of Quest or LabCorp today. Apparently Damon had been bilking Medicare for years and Corning eventually paid a $119 million settlement with a $9 million prize going to the company employee who reported the fraud to the Gov’t.

Moral of the story? I’d rather be a Medicare fraud whistleblower than an IBM “process improver”. {lol}