1. Walk quickly. Everywhere. It doesn’t matter what your destination is. Just make sure that you’re in a rush. Need to go pee? Well, march there as if you were a corporate titan summoned to rescue a multi-billion dollar merger gone awry. Accidentally print out a raunchy email sent to a coworker? Actually, you really should hurry up and get that.
2. Wear glasses. I don’t think they’d ever fund it, but if you got a bunch of Harvard scientists to do a double-blind study (this is serious, I’m told), undoubtedly its conclusion would be that people with glasses look smarter and, as a result, are more often the undeserving recipients of corporate generosity. Wear non-prescription glasses if you have to.
3. Carry a sheaf of papers. The content of the papers is not really important so long as the papers appear, at a glance, to be important. Simple black-and-white copy will do, but if you really want to get snazzy throw in some graphs and pie charts. An office worker chatting away with a colleague in the kitchen is talking about happy hour. If she’s holding a bunch of papers, she’s discussing her upcoming PowerPoint presentation.
4. Squint. This can be optimized in conjunction with number two. Always look like you’re doing your best to recall what the quadratic equation is. In fact, always be trying to remember what the quadratic equation is. You’ll look like you’re in the midst of figuring out some serious sh-t.
5. Email at odd hours. This one’s been much ballyhooed but bears repeating. Make Outlook your friend, and learn how to schedule your emails. An email sent to your boss at 3:02 pm is work as usual; sent at 11:02 pm is like, “Whoa, this kid’s a machine.” Pepper them throughout out-of-office hours: 8:12 pm, 10: 46 pm, 5:49 am, etc. Don’t save it in your drafts to send later from your iPhone. It’ll say “Sent from iPhone” and, more importantly, you’ll actually be sending a work email at 11:02 pm.
6. CC your boss on everything. “Reply all” is your friend, except, of course, if you’re covering up a mistake. Did you just finish reading an email your boss sent that required no response? Tell him so. “Just read your email.” Did you complete a task that you’re supposed to do every day? Well, remind her that, yeah, you did that sh-t again.
7. Never laugh. Smile rakishly (it makes you look like a winner), but never laugh. You just look like you’re fooling around.
8. Only laugh around your boss.
9. Find out your boss’s favorite hobby and make it your favorite hobby. It’ll help with the laughing. Start and end every week talking about said hobby.
10. Always speak in the first person plural. Note: almost always followed by “need,” “really,” or “should.” “We (really) need to/should start thinking getting me that promotion.”