Columbia Business School prof Eric Abrahamson studies "leadership and organizational problem solving" and has identified what he calls the "Michelangelos of work avoidance" — workers who excel at doing nothing without getting fired. Forbes magazine reports on his research:
One of her skills was spending little time at her desk or anywhere near the department where she supposedly worked, so that her bosses didn't even think about her much. Out of sight, out of mind, you might say. "If people don't think of you, they can't give you work," Abrahamson says. Other ways to accomplish that: Arrive at different, unpredictable times of day. Work from home. Set up your schedule so that you frequently change locations.
Another tactic: Don't empty your voicemail box. That way when people call they'll get the impression you're working so hard you don't even have time to delete messages. This has the added advantage of making it impossible for bosses or colleagues to leave you verbal instructions about work assignments.
If your boss does manage to track you down and try to give you some work, you can strategically deploy a kind of good-natured cluelessness. "The principal here is that you try to give work to a person and come to the conclusion that they can't even understand the instructions," Abrahamson explains. In such a case most bosses will figure it's easier to do the work themselves.
If you perform a specialized function within your office, you can distort the time it takes to get it done. Among June's supposed jobs was keeping time sheets for her department's staff. No one else knew the system she'd set up or how long keeping the data took. Thus she could make a task that took minutes appear to consume hours of toil. People with computer expertise who work among Luddites can easily exploit this tactic.
(Image: Give Me Slack bumper-sticker, Church of Subgenius)