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The Office Shuffle

I introduced the term career capital to describe these rare and valuable skills, and noted that the tricky part is figuring out how to acquire this capital. By definition, if it’s rare and valuable, it’s not easy to get. This insight brought me into the world of performance science, where I encountered the concept of deliberate practice—a method for building skills by ruthlessly stretching yourself beyond where you’re comfortable. As I discovered, musicians, athletes, and chess players, among others, know all about deliberate practice, but knowledge workers do not. Most knowledge workers avoid the uncomfortable strain of deliberate practice like the plague, a reality emphasized by the typical cubicle dweller’s obsessive e-mail–checking habit—for what is this behavior if not an escape from work that’s more mentally demanding? (Location 2276)

The "office shuffle infinite loop dance":

  1. Open Slack
  2. Check Slack
  3. Close Slack, open email
  4. Check email
  5. Close email
  6. Stand up and walk to the water cooler
  7. Fill mug
  8. Walk back to desk
  9. Sigh (social signal to others that you are indeed working)
  10. Sit down at desk
  11. Log into computer
  12. Return to step 1