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Deliberate Defiance at Work

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: In the last few months, I've found myself lying to my bosses at work, telling them I've completed projects I haven't. I'm endlessly procrastinating and I'm not sure why. I spend a lot of my day shopping online, visiting social networking sites and writing personal emails.

Why have I been able to get away with this? I find it troubling and yet it's now become a challenge to see just how far can I go until they'll notice.

A: I have no idea why you've been able to conduct yourself as you have at work.

Your boss could be an idiot, or perhaps you're a master manipulator. Maybe the organization is disorganized and can't keep track of employees' job performance.

There's a chance you'll get away with your "trickery" for a little longer, but eventually it will catch up to you.

How committed are you to this professional mediocrity? You're obviously not a 24/7 workaholic or perfectionist. Still, I don't actually believe you want to be the slacker you present yourself as.

Sounds as if you're sort of pulling a scenario not unlike that of the Peter Gibbons character in the movie Office Space where you're aiming to see just how much you can get away with before someone calls your bluff.

How will you feel when your boss or another employee calls you out on your disinterest and poor performance?

You could actually lose your job. Do you want this to be your new reality?

I highly doubt it.

So, something quite powerful must be motivating this deliberate definance.

Let's imagine that you put 100% of yourself into a given project. You excitedly present your supervisor with the contents of said project, expecting a pat on the back, a raise or perhaps even a promotion.

Instead, your efforts are met with disapproval, disappointment and silence. If you never got the credit you expected or the acknowledgment you felt you deserved for your efforts, how would you feel?

I believe your chronic work procrastination is fear-based. It isn't uncommon to be anxious about your capabilities. Inactivity is a great defense against rejection. Not trying at all is a great way to prevent being judged poorly.

When you were originally hired, your company might have seen a lot of promise in you. However, as time passes and the puzzle pieces fall into place, they won't regret letting you go.

Even if you're completely dissatisfied with your present job, stop focusing on why you're getting away with this deliberate defiance. That's irrelevant. Figure out the WHY in what you are actually doing. That is what's important.

As always, please keep send questions and comments to ASK NOAH at

I want to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year. Thanks for continuing to read my humble little column.

Have a profitable and peaceful week,


This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Noah Kass is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction, relationship issues and work stressors. He has been Clinical Director at The Dunes: East Hampton and Realization Center in Union Square. Mr. Kass was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show," featured in a segment called "Kass' Couch" and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.

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