Being a Slacker at Work Pays Off

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Being a Slacker at Work Pays Off

Workplace slackers get a bad rap for being lazy and “reeking of weed.” But in reality, they are some of the smartest people at the office — especially when compared to fellow employees who are put on a pedestal for being “loyal” and “hard-working.”

That’s because, according to a new study, as much as loyal and hard-working employees appear to be more valuable, they’re mostly just allowing themselves to be used. 

“Companies want loyal workers, and there is a ton of research showing that loyal workers provide all sorts of positive benefits to companies,” Matthew Stanley, the lead researcher on the new paper and postdoctoral researcher at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, explained in a press release. “But it seems like managers are apt to target them for exploitative practices.”

Stanley and his team had 1,400 managers complete a series of online surveys about how they would treat a hypothetical 29-year-old employee named John, who was described as being either loyal, disloyal or agreeable. In every instance that John was considered loyal, these managers were more likely to ask him to work late without overtime. (How’s all that loyalty and free labor treating you now Johnny Boy?)

“Loyal workers tend to get picked out for exploitation,” Stanley continued. “And then when they do something that’s exploitative, they end up getting a boost in their reputation as a loyal worker, making them more likely to get picked out in the future. It’s a vicious cycle.” 

Whether you’re a true slacker or not, these findings are a good reminder that being a model employee isn’t going to get you anything but a brown nose — and those obviously stink.

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