Tag Archive | "sycophants"

The Pros and Cons of Sucking Up and Slacking Off on the Job

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A perversion of Albert Einstein’s famous theory states, “All things are relative.”  Indeed they are, and people’s attitudes toward work are no exception to that concept:  business environments breed various types of employees.  Despite my many years of gainful employment, it is two specific categories of worker that keep me scratching my head.  These are the suck-ups, the ones who continually butter their bread on the right side, and the slackers, who merely just slough through the day doing just enough work to avoid termination.


In pondering these two species of worker, I found myself enumerating the pros and cons in both: 


Suck-Ups (i.e., Aspirants to the Company Fast Track)


1) While sycophantic behavior may not appear to accomplish much in terms of actual work, it can be quite useful in boosting a boss’s ego.  A contented manager will put less pressure on his employees’ performance levels than one who is miserable.


2) Conceivably, toadies face better chances for promotion, as employers value workers who display enthusiasm, albeit faked.


3) The other side of that coin is that if one appears too eager to please, one might invite a heavier workload and a longer workday, thus bearing testimony to the phrase, “Hoist by one’s own petard.”


4) If the boss depends too heavily upon his flatterer, he may dump menial tasks upon the suck-up that have little or nothing to do with a formal job description.  I doubt that any sycophant seeking to advance professionally would welcome errands such as picking up the boss’ dry cleaning or selecting a present for his wife.


5) Establishing and maintaining friendships in the workplace can be difficult; coworkers usually resent the “office pet.”


6) The ability to gain management’s trust can be a vital factor in progressing to the next level of authority within the firm.


7) Salary increases usually accompany increased responsibility. 


8) Being branded as special by a boss can earn flunkies duties that do not overly tax the body or the mind.


9) Bosses often mistake workplace parasites as valuable employees, and the valuable enjoy greater job security.


Slackers (a.k.a., Shirkers of Responsibility)      


1) If a slacker does not appear to be very bright, he may be left to perform simpler tasks.


2) With less pressure to perform, loafers enjoy lower levels of stress, more on-the-job relaxation, and who knows, maybe even a longer life span.


3) Workers who view their jobs as a way to earn a paycheck, rather than a means of forging a long-lived career, don’t care that they are viewed as underachievers.  Their egos suffer no damage.


4) Lazy folks don’t need to exert the extra effort required to sidle up to the boss, because getting on the boss’ good side is simply not important to them.


5) Dilatory workers are normally passed over for promotions earned by the truly worthy and the minions alike.


6) Lesser responsibilities equate to smaller pay raises.


7) Slackers are constrained to perform low-level and often disagreeable duties.


8) Indifferent fellows are often viewed by their co-workers as mentally deficient.


9) Colleagues may not want idlers as friends; more diligent employees usually do more work.


10) A warm body that simply shows up is easily replaced, and this is not a savory position, particularly in light of the current economy.


After carefully weighing all of these pros and cons, I see more disadvantages than advantages to both brown nosing and slacker work ethics.  For my money, I will continue to be the type of worker that I have always been: one who doesn’t need to resort to subterfuge or a slow-down to get the job done and be recognized for doing so. 

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