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Fine art of leaving without telling

You can almost hear the conversation in your head. "Bob's still here," your co-workers exclaim.

india Updated: Jun 02, 2006 13:08 IST

You can almost hear the conversation in your head. "Bob's still here," your co-workers exclaim.

"Look, his wallet and keys are still on his desk."

Ha! Little do they know that the wallet is empty and that the keys fit your long-expired 1973 Ford Pinto.

You've sneaked out of work early on Friday. Your phone is forwarded, your BlackBerry can catch important messages and you're hanging out at the beach. And no one realizes it.

It's summer, and it's time to review how to duck out of the office early.

Don't laugh. There is serious strategy involved. Men's Journal has actually done a scientific study. Well, sort of.

The outdoor and fitness magazine with 750,000 subscribers dispatched a writer to a popular beach in San Francisco at 3 pm.

on a Friday and asked the surfers changing out of their business clothes how they pulled it off. Senior editor Jacob Ward breaks the technique into two parts: the preparation and the execution.

To disappear with ease, it's best to establish a schedule that needs a lot of time out of the office: long lunches with clients, off-site meetings and frequent conferences, he said.

That way, your boss and coworkers come to expect that while you're not at your desk, you're still working.

So if you're not at the office on a beautiful Friday afternoon, no one automatically assumes you're kicking back at the pool. If you haven't done that, you just have to be more creative, Ward said.

You have to simulate work activity at your desk. That's where the wallet, keys and old pair of eyeglasses come into play. All those things symbolize that you're still around, because you wouldn't leave those items behind, Ward said.

The key is to look like you're down the hall or picking up a snack across the street.

One way is to put a cup of steaming coffee on your desk and leave it in plain sight.

Don't drink coffee? Try the ice water trick. Put a glass of ice water on your desk, which will eventually sweat and leave a stain. No one would even guess you're not around.

On the technological end, there are several things to do. Adjust your computer so it doesn't go to sleep. You can also preprogram your e-mail delivery. If you want everyone to think you're slaving away at 4:45 pm on Friday, schedule the distribution for that time.

The only downfall would be if your boss was walking past your empty office at that moment and the e-mail popped up on his BlackBerry. Hmmmm.

First Published: Jun 02, 2006 13:08 IST