To Be Or Not to Be a Chair
Productivity in the workplace is a real problem. Depending on your job, you have hours of entertainment just waiting for you to summon it with a few clicks of the keyboard and mouse. It can be all too easy to slowly morph from a worker bee to a prop that manages to work 5% of the time. This article is not for the individuals who are seeking guidance on how to become more productive. Ladies, if you want that, check out Kayla Matthew article for a how to guide on how to be more productive.
The purpose of this piece is to ruminate on whether you should allow yourself to join the huge congregation of chairs at your office. First, let’s explore what exactly a chair is.
Chair. Noun. An individual who does as little as possible at work. Slowly they become a living, breathing prop who only come to life when they claim their bi-monthly paycheck. One might use the term as follows: [Name of company] hires a lot of chairs or I’ve spent the last 2 months as a chair, I can’t believe they haven’t fired me yet.
So what are the pros and cons of becoming a chair?
Pro 1: You get paid to do nothing!
Ethics aside, who wouldn’t love to be paid to look at cute cat gifs on the internet and write long, involved letters to their Aunt? That sounds like a dream job, doesn’t it? Not possible, you might think. Wrong. All companies, unless they do really thorough background checks, hire chair fillers. Some have a zero-tolerance policy on living breathing chairs, others will allow you to linger for months without a reprimand, comment, or a pesky termination notice. More than enough time to make some bank for doing…nothing.
Con 1: Minimal learning experiences
Due to the fact you’re not putting in a lick of work, you probably won’t learn any new skills to help you earn a better job…unless you’re life goal is to memorize all of the cat gifs on the internet. For those who want to increase the chance they will jump at least one tax bracket, you might want to spend more time doing the parts of the job that will allow you to flesh out your resume.
Pro 2: You Might Get Promoted.
Who would promote a chair? Yeah, life isn’t fair. Not all promotions go to the most competent, experienced, and skilled employee. The Dilbert Principle, created by Scott Addams, explains that some companies utilize promotions as a way to remove the least competent individuals from production, so they can’t do as much damage.
At the right company, not working might be to your advantage. This is especially true if you locate a job with a family member or family friend. Gotta love nepotism (if you’re the one benefiting). They can’t fire you without causing huge family drama, so they instead move you to a position where your lay about tendencies won’t sink the company. Before you go full sails ahead to achieve your promotion with the Dilbert Principle, ask around to see how and why people were moved into management. If you receive tales of fifty-hour work weeks, you might want to look elsewhere.
Con 2: Work History
Professional chairhood can be difficult to maintain. The biggest hurdle you will face as an uninspired and unproductive worker is finding new employment once you’ve been fired from your previous job. That darn manager just won’t give you a good review. Who would have thought?
And the bad news? The longer you maintain your last job as a chair filler, the harder it will be to find another job. A one or two-month employment gap on your resume, that’s easily explained. Once you reach a 6+ month gap in employment, hiring managers tend to look at a little more closely at why you haven’t been employed. At that point, your best bet would be to include the job on your resume and then either locate someone within the organization who always believed you were a golden employee or play the “you can’t interview them because they don’t know I’m looking for another job” card. Both plays are not ideal, and could severely backfire.
To get a sense if the company might be the one to fulfill your long-term goal of becoming a career chair, ask the more senior employees how long the most incompetent person has been around. If they’ve been employed for more than a year, congratulations, you just found the company that will allow you to achieve your dream. Be warned, a career as a professional chair can lead to many hard conversations, as well as the need to constantly locate new employment. Being a chair, like many things, might be something you try to avoid.