Question: i'm EXCEPTIONALLY bored at work - we've had nothing to do for a week. i'm a designer and i need to look like i'm filling my time productively. can you suggest some ideas?

DD Hosu


There are a few ideas I could suggest, not the least of which is to enroll is come capitalization classes.  My assistant Tendrils teaches an evening class at Hockaloogie University that might interest you, called i is a Proper Noun, 101.  It runs for 8 weeks, though the final seven weeks are filled primarily with air hockey.  Another suggestion I may have is a name change.  I haven’t heard such an atrocity of naming since my ex-wife decided to name our daughter Pelvis after I suggested we name her after where she was conceived.  Believe me, the judge completely understood why I filed for divorce. 


So you’re a designer, eh?  And you need to look busy?  When I was an apprentice under Hans Leftwig, the famed architectural prodigy, I often had to take my own initiative to get ahead.  I would be known to draft elaborate buildings that were clearly superior to his designs – and why would I do that, you ask?  At a certain point, your boss will see such brilliance coming from your desk that he will become intimidated and specifically request you STOP working on things, as it’s beginning to make him look bad.  At least that’s what Hans did; he began paying me not to work so he could keep his reputation intact.  I even got a raise when I took a two-week vacation.   Here was one of my floorplans that sent Hans into a tizzy:

                And this sort of respect can only be achieved by trying to upstage your boss at every conceivable moment.  Don’t let any opportunity pass you by where you could make him look terrible.  If there is an important conference call with investors, for instance, it might be a good time to ask your boss about how his treatment for his gambling addiction is coming along.  You’ll be coasting up the corporate ladder in no time flat.

However, the apathy in your plea for help is palpable (you didn’t even have the energy to hit shift before your pronouns), so it leads me to believe you don’t want to advance in your company, but just slide under the radar.  In any design field, it is important to stay ahead of the curve.  So when your boss comes by and sees you chatting electronically with someone named nakedlust69yum, it is imperative that you explain that they are high-end fashion designers on the cutting edge of the industry (this works even if you are a web designer.)  It is almost irrelevant what you say, as long as you use certain catch phrases.  These include “ahead of the curve”, “outside the box”, and “behind the eight ball.”  In fact, so your boss doesn’t catch on to the famous clichés, make up your own prepositional phrases to – it’s quite easy.  A sample conversation could go like this:

BOSS: Why are you IMing with nakedlust69yum?

YOU: That just so happens to be Friedrich Elbows, famed high-end haberdasher.  He’s in the zone.

BOSS: What does that have to do with the Baker account you were supposed to prepare the intake for?

YOU: I’m just working across the lemon fields, Wes (works best if his name is Wes.)

BOSS: Excuse me?

YOU: I’m under the cubes, if you know what I’m saying.

BOSS: Are you feeling all right?

YOU: Up a chimney with a poodle, sir.

BOSS: Maybe you should take the rest of the day off.


                Perfect!  You’ve been rewarded for your hard work and creative vocabulary.  And when you get home, you can finish your business meeting with Ms. Yum, who was probably pretty curious what to do with her moist undergarments after all that time.

                Finally, unless your boss is the CEO of the company, chances are he has a boss above him.  And, quite frankly, I think you are doing the absolute best thing for your career with your time – you are reading Fats’ Bad Advice column on  This isn’t merely a clever diversion, this is life-building skills here.  So if you get “caught” on this site reading the brilliance that tips from my cup like a vintage Chablis tips from its box, there’s no need to hide anything.  You simply say to your superior: “I’m bettering myself for the good of the company.  For the good of my friends.  For the good of society.”  Then confidently point to the computer screen and show him just how cathartic my words can be.  If he needs more referrals, I’d suggest Fats’ Bad Advice #11, #19, and, for some reason, this play.  If he doesn’t come back and personally give you a raise, I will*. 

                I thrust my fist up in the air in triumph at another person helped.  Some days, I wonder what it’s like to be like everyone else.  Then I realize that I enjoy knowledge and will therefore stay as I am here, perched on my throne of it.  Seriously, my throne is a stack of encyclopedias.  Those old Funk & Wagnalls are deceptively comfortable.  Remember, I can’t help you if I don’t hear from you.  So write me for advice!



*Note: not applicable for people making at least zero dollars.



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