Artful Avoidance – Working Hard To Avoid Actual Working

Frustrated clock-watchers

With one eye on their work and the other eye

On the timeclock in the corner of their screen

Each minute ticking by

A slow and soundless digital timer

Climbing upward at the speed of stop

Eternities have shorter lifespans

Than the machinations of someone present

Who’s only filling a chair or cube

Their desk transitionary

Some might compare it to a rental property

Where short-term is the only term

Unnecessary trips

The path to the lounge taken so often

That the carpeting is showing wear marks

Minimal performance

Just enough to meet their annual review

A passing grade for near-failure

Heavy handed supervisors

Shouting behind closed doors, uttering choice words

Something about productivity

Blah, blah, blah

The droning speech again about digging deeper

Only this job isn’t excavation or moving soils

Motivation comes next

The carrot dangling on a mooring rope

Nothing more than a box-trap without an exit

If it wasn’t for the noise

Most of the workday would slip by unnoticed

Interruptions and angry confusion

That ringing phone

Driving sales or driving by, the conundrum continues

The waiting finally pays off

Someone else can manage that

Call, or e-mail, or request for blah, blah, blah

The situation different but outcome the same

Headphones, earphones, microphones

One-sided armored plating when used incorrectly

Dead space on the line

Watching work, or so it seems

Pretending to handle something important, like working

But only when someone’s watching

At least the internet is available

Surfing with a back against the wall, avoiding calls

One eye on work and the other eye on the fly

Paydays come and go

Almost an endowment for the arts, the performance kind

While pretending to add value

Not an easy game to play

Active disengagement, silence, siphoning

Obfuscation over clarity

The politics of performance on display

When looking busy means so much more

Than actually performing


Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

3 thoughts on “Artful Avoidance – Working Hard To Avoid Actual Working

  • March 13, 2017 at 4:26 PM

    I sure remember those work days when the day seemed to last forever. Now that I am retired, I kind of miss it. I love your excellent phrasing, Ralph, it really brings out vivid images and memories. Great work.

  • March 14, 2017 at 12:18 AM

    Nicely emoted, the trap of a working life without motivation, so maligned and the boredom ,merciless. Ironically, in an era of such complex technology, boredom is the new disease. A great expression that we can all relate. Ralph. well done.

  • March 14, 2017 at 3:50 AM

    You brought forth “working for the man” – that everyone can relate to…. much enjoyed


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