People Who Work 9 To 5 Reveal How They Pretend To Stay Busy


Roll out of bed and tumble to the kitchen; it's time to start your day and head to your 9-5.

What a way to make a livin'.

Somehow there really doesn't seem to be enough work to carry you through an 8 hour day, but if you're not working, your brainwashed-by-capitalism bosses just get angry.

So what do you do to fool them?

u/pliantkitchen asked:

Redditors with a 9-5 job in a cubicle, how do you pretend to stay busy at work?

Here were some of those answers.

Straight Out Of A Spy Movie


I worked at a call center that allowed reading between calls. I bought a thick *ss hard backed history book and used an exacto knife to cut out the shape of my phone midway through. I made the phone shaped hole about an inch thick and happily browsed Reddit, watched YouTube, and even live tv.

When I was scheduled during a event I didn't want to miss I would have my AirPods in underneath my headset and with the help of Reddit I could find any stream for any sport I wanted to watch. I even watched some votes in the house/senate. I hated the job but loved being able to be on my phone whenever I wanted. :)


Doin The Job

It's all about multiple tabs. My problem is that my cubicle is up at the front of a line of cubicles, with my boss a few cubes back. So every time he leaves to do anything, he walks right by me and can look directly at my computer. So I panic and click on my tab with my emails or some website related to my job. He has told me he doesn't care what I do as long as my job gets done, but panic still sets in every time he walks by. I would do so much less work if I had a different cubicle position.


A New Math Postulate

I operate on the 4:00 principle, in which my day hinges on 4 o'clock:

I either work all day up until 4, and then I coast until I leave at 530, or I coast all day until 4, and then I do a full days worth of work from 4-5.

This has served me well for years.


Tip Tip Tip


  • Over-the-ear headphones with a mic. If I don't want to be bothered, I point to the headphones and pretend to be on a call.
  • Ted Talks in the background. Learn shit while doing shit. Also, great way to make it sound like I'm in a call...I just nod and agree with whatever point is being made in the talk.
  • Typing speed challenge. Tab back and forth between the challenge when work is slow. Helps keep my typing speed up while making it sound like I am always working furiously.
  • Interesting subreddit - copy paste thread contents in email, read at leisure.
  • Every 15-30 minutes, take a deep breath/exhale.

Extended Lunch


When I was in college, I had an internship that wasn't as great as I was hoping. I was given 1 task for the summer to complete. That task took up maybe 30 minutes of my time each day. This was a full-time internship, though. I worked 7am-4pm, M-F, in a cubicle with low walls. I was given nothing else to complete for the 3 months I was there. What did I do with my time?

Well, I couldn't browse the internet, so I would find books, or documents, or what-have-you, and retype them all. One day, one of the women in my area even commented "Wow, they keep you busy!" Unbeknownst to her, no. Also, my co-interns, who were scattered all over the building in different departments, used to send each other random emails. Some times one word each or pictures made up of keyboard symbols. We'd also spend about 2 hours at lunch.

thutruthissomewhere Work

From where my boss sits, He can't see the bottom left 1/4 of my 2nd monitor if I sit with good posture. I live for this corner. Online games, Reddit, youtube etc. all exist in my corner. But all my boss sees is work around it. Also makes me sit with good posture so that's cool too.

-Sent from my corner.


Boredom Slows It Down

Have something important on my screen and my phone on the desk and browse on my phone.

But honestly the time goes a lot faster when working. Especially if you find something you feel like doing. A challenging issue or documenting something that can be used again to save time the next time. Anything where you're feeling like the juice is worth the squeeze.


Breathing Down My Neck

Can't. Everything is monitored. I work for a bank and people call us or I call them to talk about payment plans for debt, either creating them or adjusting them. If I haven't made a call (or received a call) for a given period of time, my team leader gets an IM and then she in turn visits my cube or she messages me. My team leader is really laid back and doesn't care as much, but her boss is also looking at our activity statistics and can say something to her if she stays silent.


Careful What You Wish For

I don't have to pretend I'm busy. My co workers know I'm not busy. I've been working here for five months and I do nothing. I've had maybe five projects to work on that each took a total of two days to complete. I ask for work all the time but everyone is too busy with their own work to bother giving me anything to do. I openly browse Reddit, Twitter, the Internet, and no one seems to care at all. You'd think this would be a great gig but browsing Reddit for literally 8 hours a day is not as fun as it seems.




I don't have to pretend. I either have work to do or I don't.

It's nice working at a place that understands that. My previous job they expected us to always make sure to have at least 7 hours clocked in on a project each day even if there was nothing to do.

So that's how I massively overstated how much I worked on projects and had hundreds of hours in our companies site redesign project. It was such a dumb waste of time. Projects I finished in 10 hours became projects that took "30" hours.

These days I really don't have to pretend to be busy. I'll watch twitch streams or whatever at work and browse Reddit. They know that if I do have something to do I'll do it (and do it well).

e: For the people asking, I'm a front end web developer at an agency. I do have plenty of times where I'm busy as fuck but it's a good balance. I also do spend time on my own learning new stuff just because sitting there on reddit all day gets really dull.


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