Ninja Slackers may have already invaded your office space.

There’s a new breed of slacker out there. They’re hard to find because it’s so easy to create the illusion of hard work in this digital age. Sometimes, they don’t even know they’re slacking. I’m not talking about the guy you busted checking Facebook or Funny-or-Die, I’m talking about these people:

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The Meeting Stretcher: No meeting should last any longer than one hour. As much as we hate meetings, this slacker gets a weird sort of comfort from them. He or she gets to talk, others have to listen—it’s a good feeling. They’re kind of like that guy at the bar during last call who won’t leave.

The Laurel Rester: This person accomplished something great six months ago. They may have won an award or picked up a client. Whatever they did, they’ll be sure to remind you of it when you ask how their current project is moving along.

The Tortured Soul: They were here until three in the morning last night. They haven’t slept in 3 days. They don’t get to spend enough time with their family. They love to complain about how the job is torturing them and always try to one-up other Tortured Souls since they seem to attract one another. Who knows if they’re any good. The only thing we do know it that they’re working hard and hating it.

The “I Agree” Person: We get paid to find solutions, make decisions and take risks. This is sometimes the hardest part of the job yet the least time consuming. That’s why this slacker is usually overlooked. They just say, “I agree” when a safe or popular decision is on the table—a decision usually made by someone in senior management.

The Super Multitasker: This slacker is usually doing 100 tasks that are actually pretty easy but makes them look hard. They plan the birthday parties, organize the softball team, pick out the new carpeting—that kind of stuff. They make sure their plate is full so that they’ll have the excuse of being “too swamped” when their real assignment falls apart.

The Bus Rider: Why isn’t this slacker’s job done? It’s always someone else’s fault and they’re not afraid to throw that person under the bus.

The Smart Person In Meetings: This slacker has been around forever. Their biggest accomplishment is saying something just smart enough when senior management is in a meeting. “We’ll implement a strategy that generates buzz through viral media with cost-effective growth if we analyze the key components…” Yeah, that person.

I get it. You’re paying these people. How can you tell who’s working and who’s slacking? My suggestion: Don’t evaluate the workers. Evaluate the ideas. Evaluate the results. This new economy is being fueled those ideas—not time sheets.

Or, just hire freelancers. I happen to know of a really good freelance copywriter.

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