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"I guess you can take anything but actual work."
Jerry, Seinfeld

When a character is so into laziness as a philosophy, that he will go out of his way to enmesh himself in it. If there's a job that needs to be done that will take an hour to do, he will spend two hours writing up an expense report to keep from having to do it, because gosh-darn-it, it's the principle of the thing that matters!

Well, mostly it's the smug sense of superiority that comes from realizing that there's absolutely no consequences from behaving as lazily as possible. Boredom is rarely an issue for this character, even if he doesn't actually have anything to do, because of this.

This makes an excellent In-Universe justification for One-Hour Work Week.

Contrast The Slacker. May be Brilliant but Lazy.

Examples of Professional Slacker include:


  • Wally from Dilbert has quite the talent for thinking of elaborate excuses explaining why he can't actually do his job. Oftentimes, the sheer amount of effort he clearly puts into these plans makes one wonder why he doesn't just do real work. Then you remember what happens to all the characters in this universe that try to do their jobs correctly.
    • According to Scott Adams, his inspiration for Wally was a man in a dead-end position who was trying to get fired in the bottom 10% of the company, because the severance package associated with it was his best option. He was apparently quite brilliant and completely dedicated to his goal.
  • Riley from The Boondocks went into this mode during one summer, where he came up with a plan to spend as much time sitting in front of the television as possible. Huey, incredulous at Riley's concerted effort to avoid doing anything, then took the remote to force Riley to watch E! entertainment indefinitely, making it clear that Riley would have to get up if he wanted to watch something he would actually like.
  • Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation hates the very principle of government. He also happens to be head of Pawnee's Parks and Recreation Department. In one particularly bizarre plot, a women's organization gives him an award for "Woman of the Year", in spite of the fact that Ron is not a woman, and that everything the award says he did are actually things Leslie did while under his "supervision". He is grotesquely insulted by this.
    • Ron found a kindred spirit in intern April Ludgate, who he hired as his personal secretary simply because she promised to be as lazy as possible and stonewall anyone's attempts to meet with him.

 Ron: I don't care that you text all day and sleep at your desk. In fact, I encourage it.

    • Really, everyone on Parks And Recreation not named "Leslie Knope" is this trope.
  • The Simpsons: when they film Radioactive Man in Springfield, Homer talks with some Teamsters.

 Homer: You guys work on the movie?

Teamster: You sayin' we're not working?

Homer: Oh, I always wanted to be a Teamster. So lazy and surly... mind if I relax next to you?

Homer stretches and leans on the truck. The Teamster does the same,only for longer, and sighs with more satisfaction at the end. Homer does a really long stretch, then sits down and leans against the truck. The other Teamsters, not to be outdone, all do the same, only more exaggeratedly. The whole thing degenerates into a big stretching and groaning contest.

  • In Beetle Bailey, the eponymous soldier will go to extreme lengths to slack off. Particularly noteworthy examples include changing into pajamas, brushing his teeth and rolling out a sleeping-bag... in order to sleep on the job. And then there was that time when he led Sgt. Snorkel on a merry chase all across the Camp Swamp area... in order to avoid the Escape & Evasion course.
  • Gaston Lagaffe more or less never works at work, but only ever sleeps, eats, makes bizarre inventions, and otherwise goofs around. He once got overtime pay for spending a night asleep at his desk. When his office receives letters, he keeps them in the mailroom for a while before throwing them all out.
  • Robert Heinlein's "The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail" deserves a mention. It's a story about a man who dedicates himself to the task of doing as little work as possible. He joins the military (since they provide you with free room and board in addition to the paycheck of any other job). As an officer cadet, he ends up screwing around with a local girl (okay with the military, not okay with her family); rather than trying to hide his affair from her family, he simply decides to marry her (okay with her family, but forbidden by the military since cadets aren't supposed to have families) and leaves the job of hiding the marriage to his in-laws. He becomes a combat pilot (most money for least work), but quits after being transfered to an aircraft carrier (he deems it too risky) and figures out a way to draw combat pay as a cargo pilot instead. The story rambles on in that fashion for quite a while.
    • Perhaps the cherry on the sundae was when he looked at his retirement options and realized that simple retirement nets you half pay while being forced out for a disability gets you three quarters. His solution: go insane (like a fox), then retire to his farm in the mountains (that he loved) and hire someone else to do all the work (that he hated).
  • In Jerry Pournelle's Falkenberg's Legion the troopers practice "System D" in their off-hours. They patronize a bar en masse. Drink as much as they can hold, then claim they can't pay. If the bartender complains, they tear up the bar while cohorts in crime delay the police. The planning this requires is quite a bit more than it would take for them to just buy the beer -- particularly if they showed this level of ingenunity in their actual jobs.
  • Victor Tugelbend from the Discworld novel Moving Pictures is a perpetual student. His grandfather left him a legacy to pay his way through Unseen University, with the condition that the money will stop if he ever gets less than 80% on an exam. Since the passing grade is 88%, Victor spends many hours studying to ensure that he always gets exactly 84%, going so far as to challenge the results of one exam when the grader made a mistake and gave him too many points. All in an effort to maintain the easy lifestyle of an eternal student. He also exercises religiously on the basis that keeping fit is easier than carrying around a lot of heavy useless fat. It appears he actually does manage to do these things efficiently enough that he has to make less of an effort overall.
  • Clyde, resident not-so-Scary Black Man of Candorville, went so far as to get a college degree in biomechanical analysis so he could learn how to use as little energy as possible in his daily actions.
  • George on Seinfeld. He has his desk altered so that he's got room to sleep under it while remaining unseen by anyone (he even has a little compartment for an alarm clock put in). He leaves his car parked at work 24 hours a day so that it looks like he's always there even when he's skipping work. He practices looking annoyed so that people will think that he's busy when he's not. But the sheer pinnacle of this trope is when he signs a one year contract with the Play Now corporation. Everyone at the office hates him and puts him through as much misery as they possibly can, but as long as he shows up each day and sits in his office (which is downgraded to an asbestos filled bunker) they have to pay him.

Real Life

  • Marc Allen, founder and president of New World Library. The most badass and accomplished professional slacker. Sleeps in every day until noon, takes Mondays off, works 20-30 hours a week. Yet runs a successful publishing company and has published several books and musical albums.
  • Of course, there's a magazine for these people; The Idler, dedicated to advising its readers on how to achieve such a lifestyle. Naturally, it only comes out once a year. The editor, Tom Hodgkinson, has also published books called "How To Be Idle" and "How To Be Free" and is himself a stellar example of the trope.
  • Civil servants in almost every country of the world are seen as this. French ones take the cake though : nearly impossible to fire, go on strike as soon as somebody proposes to reduce a tiny bit their advantages and perks... And slacking so much you wonder why they don't come at work with their pajamas. A popular jokes consists of a man asking to a civil servant to count from one to ten and go a bit after ten. The answer? "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight nine, ten, Jack, Queen, King."
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