1. Roll by Starbucks and grab a tall whatever. Tall is subtle. Anything larger will raise eyebrows. Strategically place it directly in front of your mouse pad so you can point, click, and sip if needed. Remember, this is all about appearance.
2. Send out some early emails. It doesn’t matter if you’re requesting information that you already know, or should know, just ask for clarification on something so it looks like you’re focused today.
3. Stay in your office if there’s some common area banter going on. Chime in from your desk, but don’t get up. If you don’t chime in, it will appear that you are completely disinterested in what’s happening out there, and everyone will know that’s bullshit. If you chime in from your desk, it shows that as much as you’d like to be out there talking about Romo’s December QB rating, you have some shit to get done.
4. There will probably be a group lunch, and you can, and should, attend. The key is to be really non-committal about it. When they ask, say something like, “We’ll see.” They’ll probably nod and walk off wondering what the fuck that even means. Then when they’re about to leave, they’ll ask you one more time. Say something like, “Give me two minutes to finish this and I’m in.” They’ll think you’re in there banging out some report or something. Joke’s on them.
5. Grab a few Starbucks gift cards and hand them out to the admin staff. They’ll love you for it. It’s the gift that says, “I appreciate your hard work this year, but you could use a pick-me-up.”
6. Make calls. Even though anyone worth calling is nowhere near their office, you should make some calls and leave a few messages. When your coworkers walk by, they’ll see you on the phone and think you’re closing deals.
7. When someone asks what you’re doing for Christmas, say something like, “Heading to my parents’ place if I can ever get out of here.”
8. If your boss calls to check on the office, tell him or her you’re putting out a few fires. That should end the inquisition right there. Your boss is in Beaver Creek smoking cigarettes and drinking Silver Oak. Your boss does not want to hear about that shit right now..