Sunday, March 7, 2021

When indolence is an art form

Reading Time: 3 minutesLazy dad tip: you can answer any question asked by your child with “Go ask your mama”, including “Where’s mama?”
The tragedy of modern life is that people look down on lazy individuals, not realising that Advanced Indolence is an art form.

And it’s better than working. Consider this. A man was sacked recently for working too hard. Bosses at Lidl supermarket in Barcelona gave Jean P. the boot after seeing security footage which showed him toiling from five o’clock in the morning.
A news cutting about this was put on this columnist’s desk by a colleague with a note saying it should be added to a file headed: “Things Which Will Never Happen To You.” Ha ha, very funny.
But it did reinforce my belief that hard work may actually be a bad thing, and I phoned a friend in human resources who confirmed it.
“Actually, you’d be surprised, but working over long hours is considered bad for the company,” she said, and sent me a link to the work of HR expert Suzanne Lucas, who showed that people who over-work prevent bosses from knowing how many man-hours any particular job needs.
But I’ll admit this is mostly a Western attitude. Bosses in Asia take an opposite stance, as shown by the case of Li Jianhua, who worked himself to death at his desk in Beijing in 2015.
His employers, the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission, held him up as an example other staff should follow, saying (and I am not making this up): “We can all learn from Comrade Li Jianhua… who gave an unremitting struggle to perform his best and to sacrifice everything.”
Then a report flashed up on the news monitor which said that Richard Thaler, who just won the Nobel Prize for Economics, revealed the secret of his success: “Terminal laziness.” His “default tendency of avoiding work” led to him to focus only on the most intriguing puzzles, leading directly to his winning the Nobel Prize.

So there you have it. Your boss thinks you are a “work-shy waste of space suffering from terminal laziness” (to quote the sort of phrases used in this writer’s school reports) when actually this is the secret of high achievement.
Top role model? My files have two people tied in first place, both from India.
Government engineer A.K. Verma stopped going into work in 1990 but wasn’t actually sacked for 23 years. Teacher S. Kashyap who was fired only after bosses noticed she’d been absent for 23 years of her 24-year career.
But I also have a soft spot for police officer Albert Muraglia, 53, of San Remo, Italy. He lived in same block as the police station, so every day he would wake up, walk down to the time-clock in his underpants and check himself in to work. Then he would go back to bed. Sometimes he was too lazy to even do that, and he sent his child, in her pajamas, to clock in for him.
Bonus lazy dad tip: When your wife tells you to round up the children for dinner, you don’t have to move. Just reach for the router and turn the wi-fi off. The kids will appear like magic.

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