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By S.G. Panini

Sometimes you have a lot on your plate: worrying about classes, your stagnant relationship life, what to eat for lunch. Other times it’s just pure laziness. On rare occasions you’re amped and willing, but just can’t for some reason; some days are slower than others.

The bottom line is you’re not gonna work. It happens… a lot, and I empathize with you. Today, I’m going to teach a masterclass on not working, and how to maintain employment while doing so. Before we even begin, you might be wondering, “Who the hell are you to tell me what not working is like?” You may even be thinking, “At my last job my boss caught me slacking off a few times, I’ve gotten good at this.” Child’s play. You are but a sperm cell in the life of not working. From my first job, I have been a pundit in this very art. Let’s work through my resumé.

I started working during my senior year of high school, once the Covid-19 pandemic had already been a few months underway. My school was in an asynchronous learning environment at the time, where every other day classes were held online. In addition, all attendance minimums in order to receive credit were removed for the entirety of that year. Thus, I took the opportunity to make money while my peers were dilly-dallying on zoom, learning as much as I was working a job, nowhere near a laptop on Zoom. 

Now where does one, who does not want to work, look to work? Many of my friends had previously worked at restaurants, where tips are nice and, because of state laws, minimum wage is guaranteed. But frankly, it’s not easy to slack off in that line of work. Food and service are industries where people are very quick to voice displeasure with poor service, and poor employees are very often fired. So that was a no-go. 

Most front desk jobs tend to offer a less stressful environment compared to restaurant work, but again, I’d likely be stringently monitored to start off. Front desk jobs also require a consistent friendliness that I cannot always bring myself to at 9 in the morning. 

I knew I needed something better. A job where very little output was expected on my behalf, and the little I was expected to do would be hardly supervised. A job plagued by so much bureaucracy that no one would bother checking up on me, because my higher-ups would be too busy stroking their own egos for how little they do. A job where however poor the quality of my work, I’d essentially need to break the law in order to get fired. And then it hit me! There’s one employer that consistently checked off all those boxes: Government. 

I quickly began digging through state and local government websites to see what random positions they were hiring for. Political positions were out of the picture, since there is no force greater than that of a power-hungry candidate, and that would indeed be a high stress job. 

Before I knew it, I’d found my match. The New York City Department of Health & Hospitals had a listing for “field outreach canvassers” (government jobs have a way of sounding meaninglessly sophisticated, often being redundant), where workers had to speak to passersby about their Covid vaccination status, and attempt to make vaccine appointments for the unvaccinated. To sweeten the deal, they were paying $20/hour! Within a few weeks, I was hired. They even paid me to attend 3 diversity and inclusion training sessions that I took wonderful naps through. 

I was stationed across the boroughs of New York City, most often in The Bronx and Queens for proximity. All I had to do was sign up at least eight people a day for appointments to get vaccinated at various clinics via a government website—whether they ever showed up was not my concern. At first my coworkers and I used to just ask younger folks to do us a favor and just give us their information, letting them know there was no obligation for them to show up, and they were helping us get paid. Most happily obliged. 

Soon enough we realized there was no mechanism in place to make sure the people we were signing up were actually real. At the end of each work day our supervisors just needed to see screenshots of at least eight appointments, and there was no way for them to verify the information we were showing them was of real people. Especially because we were also able to sign up homeless people with no home address, and people without health insurance. It was at this point that the job became even easier. 

The days when we were stationed in Far Rockaway were a breeze, due to us working right by Rockaway Beach. As we were getting into the warmer months, I took the pleasure of spending my work hours relaxing by the beach, while most of my classmates were still in zoom sessions. Now that was the life.

Unfortunately, when my semester at Binghamton began, it was time to finally leave that wonderful job. I tried to get Covid right before quitting, because us full-time employees were offered two weeks full pay if we tested positive, but my efforts were in vain. This only meant I needed to find a new government job I could laze off at.

Within months of being at Binghamton, I was hired by the State of New York to work at the University’s bowling alley. Many friends and coworkers have seen me walking around campus, often the marketplace for food, when I’m on the clock at work. To which I most often reply, “A man’s gotta eat!” If a lane breaks, it happened before I got there. And I prefer not to hand out shoes because then I need to clean them later. In spite of all this, someone informed me that my name was in the running for supervisor. That’s government work in a nutshell.

Post-graduate studies, I’d like to work at a public university for the rest of my life. It really doesn’t get any better than this. You want to not work? Government is the place for you!

P.S. All employers trying to figure out who wrote this can go fuck themselves. If you think you know, you don’t. And by the time you do, I probably got the job already, so good luck getting rid of me. 

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