The universal art of Fake Working


So here I am, this serious and committed person that I am, sitting at the library trying to find any logic behind the declination of adjectives without articles in this oh-so-pleasant language called German and I catch myself being constantly distracted by a girl sitting in front of me, two chairs to the right.

I must have been in the library for about 3 hours now, time needed to start dipping my tippy toes into the basic concepts of the German grammar and this girl has been sitting there the whole time. Book, notebook and pen tidily placed, our friend has spent the entire 3 hours typing on her cell phone, chatting. Ok, ok, there’s a small probability that she has been reading War and Peace while writing some ground- breaking-awesome academic notes, but you and I know that she is really on Whatsapp, not to say Tinder.

Now, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with spending 3 hours chatting on Whatsapp. Just yesterday I watched 4 episodes of The Office in a row, so I’m not really in a position to be judging other people’s time management skills. But what I’m not capable of understanding is why this person would change out of her pyjamas, leaver her house, catch a bus, arrive at the library, pick a book, open her notebook and take her Bic 4 colour pen out of her backpack when all she wanted to do was chat with her friends and re-read the #HappyBirthdayJustinBieber tweets.

Why would she do that?

I guess I got this sense of justice combined with an extreme nerdiness and I get really mad with the fact that this person will meet her friend for lunch in a few moments and will complain on how she was busting her ass off working at the library, followed by an obviously fail on her test, her friend will find this whole thing unfair, mean even, and will key their teacher’s car making yet another innocent victim of the syndrome of “procrastination disguised as work”, also known as Fake Working.

Fake Working is an old phenomenon, and it’s estimated that 100% of the population will suffer from a Fake Working attack at some point in their lives. Maybe it will hit you on a Friday, 6:30PM, when you’re waiting for your boss to ask you for the last couple of changes (will never be) on that power point presentation; maybe on a Thursday at the office after lunch, when the hangover of that last beer kicks in or maybe even on that group work with that perfectionist colleague that you know is going to re-do the whole thing on his own. Sooner or later, it will happen to you.

But the thing is that with the arrival of the smart phone, Fake Working has become mundane. It has spread to never before imagined aspects of our society, like gyms and bars, just to name a couple.

I’m talking about that guy that gets to the gym, does a couple of abs, 15 minutes of Facebook. Lifts some weight here and there, checks out Snapchat. And in the end, that person spends 2 hours at the gym and leaves with the idea of “oh my god, just did a major work out” which leads him to post #nopainnogain #mondayworkout #gratitude on Instagram and feel great about it.

That’s called the Fake Working Out

And you can tell me that 5 push-ups or 15 minutes of slow texting/walking on the treadmill is better than nothing. Yep. But the tricky thing about Fake Working Out is that many times it manages to convince the “worker” himself that he actually did something. So this guy will leave the gym and go for a whopper with large fries because he really believes he worked out like a pro.

Just like that girl who will meet with some friends for a beer and will spend half of the time half listening to the conversation and half of the time checking out Whatsapp, Facebook, Tinder, Cara Delevinge’s Instagram and looking for a 3-day-old Leo-Oscar meme to retweet.

Let me tell you, this is not spending time with friends. Do not fool yourself thinking that you’re super enjoying yourself with your girls; that you’re investing on high school friendships, that’s not what you’re doing. That’s just Fake Socializing.

And the great irony behind all this is that you can start a routine of constant Faking, because you’ll be Faking Working at the office while talking to your friends, Faking Socializing with your friends while you’re answering an email from your dad, Faking Being An Awesome Son with your dad while liking your girlfriend’s photo on Instagram and… to infinity and beyond.

Oh, those good old days when Fake Working meant leaving the excel open on a 2003 spreadsheet while we daydreamed about our next weekend’s date. Faking went from being a harmless work distraction to becoming a life style.

And the deal is: Fake Working is not cool for anyone. Ok, maybe for Mark Zuckerberg. Definitely for Mark Zuckerberg. But besides him, it just leaves innocent victims along the way, it’s just sad. It’s sad for the person who thinks he/she is doing something when they actually aren’t, they are just patronizing themselves only to feel frustrated further down the road because the results of “such hard work” didn’t come along. It’s also sad for the people who don’t want to fake, who actually want to have a nice conversation or study peacefully. Because they end up loosing their time talking to someone who only replies with “Yeah. Totally” or distracted from something serious and cool like studying the German declination of adjectives without articles and start writing posts like this one.

So here’s what I ask of you: if you know that you have a tendency to Fake Working and you’re going through a Fake Working phase in your life, do us all a favour and stay home. Please, keep this foolish-procrastination-disguised-as-interest-and-proactivity to yourself. Tell your boss you’ll finish the power point over the weekend, it will be better for everyone.

And there’s no need to feel guilty about it. Procrastination is normal, it’s a part of our lives. It’s only dangerous when we think that tagging it with #workhardplayhard is actually going to change something.