How to Find Your Motivation

Wrote this entire comic in an attempt to pass on one idea, that sometimes, doing exactly what your boss wants is the best kind of sabotage.

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Reader Comments (25)

Ooh, the evil ideas are flowing now!

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoalric

I've worked for the same company for almost 30 years. My motto has always been "Give'em what they ask for, not what they want."

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFloyd

Yeah, I used to think that, too.

Wow Scott, nice one :) I love the punch line in panel 3, hehe :)

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJawfin

Some people might call this kind of boss-wrangling passive-aggressive, but I call it genius.

November 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterandipandi

When I was little I read a story about a boy who lost a bet with the devil. When he has to pay with eternal servitude maintaining the devil's earthly home, his smarter brother goes in his place.

When the devil wants his bedsheets scrubbed, the brother scrubs them until they are rags. When he wants his breakfast in bed, all the food in the pantry is prepared at once and dumped on his lap.

The final straw is when the devil wants the holes sewn up in his clothes, the brother sews up the sleeves and pant legs and button holes. He's fired and set free.

Of course, a Lovecraftian devil would have eaten his living brains for incompetence, but I digress...

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergreeble

This really develops the two characters, and the relationship between them. It's great.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

It's called "Malicious compliance"

When I was in the Field Artillery, we got a new Division Artillery commander, strac little fellow. He promulgated an order than within his command, enlisted were to sing out a cheery "On target, sir!" when saluting officers, and the officer was to offer "On target." when returning the salute.

A week later, life was a weariness for our commissioned officers. Everywhere they went, endless streams of grinning enlisted presented themselves, singing out a cheery (and over-loud) "On target, sir!", each requiring an answering salute and desultory response.

The order remained in effect something less than a month.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterex SP4 Hanes

I go by a slight variation. "People get what they ask for, repeatedly and when they least want it"

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWetcoaster

Funny thing is, I was reading the Exact Words trope the other day. Which is pretty much the punchline in panel 3, doing exactly what they say, no more, no less. Funny as hell when done right.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjimwormmaster

Oh, so that's why they can stay in business when they only have one client, who hates them.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterResuna

"Be careful what you ask for you might just get it."

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArchimedes

Brilliant - Scott insults client. Client says he will e-mail Scott's boss. Scott "filters" e-mail. Even better. Scott tells client that he checks his boss's e-mail. Client asks for mullet heads boss's e-mail address. Sorry, you'll have to e-mail that request to my manager...

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

There's a type of strike like this called "work-to-rule". It's based around the idea that most workers (especially teachers) do a lot more work than is actually in their contract. Instead of refusing to go to work, you just refuse to do anything your boss hasn't told you in writing. Works wonders.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLily

ex SP4 Hanes, thanks for the correct term, I will certainly use it!
(been doing malicious compliance since high school, but never had the right words to describe it)

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDee

My bosses started getting wise to me whenever I'd start giggling when they asked me to do something.

Boss: "Can you do this for me?"

Me: (thinks for a moment, grins) "Sure! I'd be happy too!" *giggle*

Boss: "Uh, wait a sec..."

Lesson: Even the most clueless boss (are there any other kind?) will eventually wise up. Best to keep your subversive machinations to a more subtle method.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlueSimian

wait, isn't this a rerun? seems pretty familiar...

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterco0lman

I've seen it referred to as "white mutiny". The captain says turn left, so you keep turning until he explicitly tells you to stop, then you lurch straight as hard as possible, and so forth.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSeth

I once had a boss (in another city) who asked for "more frequent communication". So I set an alarm on my desk to go off every 30 minutes. And every 30 minutes I called him to discuss whatever I was working on at that moment. After two days, he requested nothing more than daily updates. Mission accomplished.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTonyD

The Marines used to have a saying: "The best way to get a bad order rescinded is to follow it to the letter."

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Skubinna

I had a contract job where shortly after starting my employee contact dumps a 3 foot high stack of Network World and Info Week on my desk and said. "Look through these & clip out anything you think I should read & send those to me".

I looked up at the stack & said "I don't see anything you need to see"

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSillyous

Ow ow ow, that mullet hurts my eyes. It takes a certain genius to be able to draw something that sears brain cells like that. Use your powers for good, Scott.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

What does "strac" mean, ex spec 4? And what happened? Did the enlisted men not have to salute the officers anymore?

December 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAtheismo

This only works if the boss knows (or cares) about the difference between bad and good work. A co-worker of mine cut her productivity in half in response to a manager's orders. It has been more than a year and they haven't noticed yet.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMoe

You would love to work with me. I'm so lazy I will always interpret directions how I want so that everything explicitly stated is done in the way that requires the least amount of work from me.

Unfortunately this leaves me stuck in academia, where professors always think there is only one way to solve every problem and the directions they give are always specific enough to arrive at the right answer; and you can't argue your way out of it, because they will win.

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhost

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