First Day Back



I know what you’re thinking.

You just got back from leave, and it was great. Now, you’re looking at an inbox – the one you emptied before you left – stacked to the rafters with taskers. Your unread emails number in the hundreds. You can’t remember the combination to the safe.

You don’t want to be there.

It’s OK. Here are some things you can do to look like you’re working.

1. One-by-one, take the paper from the inbox and move it to the outbox. Replace at the end of the day.
2. Grab a folder and walk down the passageway, avoiding eye contact. Look angry or worried. Do not smile. Repeat as necessary.
3. Call home. Talk to the answering machine. Insert “sir” in the conversation every once in awhile.
4. Move all emails to a new folder. If you don’t hear anything in a month or so, delete them.
5. When the boss approaches, type furiously on the keyboard. What you type isn’t important.
6. When playing games or checking “My Space”, have another legitimate screen handy to pop-up (spreadsheets are perfect for this since nobody can read them anyhow).
7. Grab a bag and announce that you’re going to go work out. Then go to lunch.
8. If conversation with the boss is unavoidable, get him to talk about his vacation and hope he forgets why he called you in.
9. Schedule a meeting in the conference room. Don’t invite anyone. Hang the “Meeting in Progress” sign on the door and catch up on some sleep.
10. Make a “supply run.”

That should get you through the first day. On Tuesday you’re on you own – I’d like to help, but I have a meeting scheduled in the conference room, and it looks like it may go all day.


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  1. That’s awesome! Thanks for the pointers (and the laugh). As an XO, I would grimace if my guys were reading this and I’d be watching for the scotch tape on guys’ hands. Now, as an “action officer” in the Pentagon, I could see myself using some of these techniques! 🙂 Quite the difference in perspectives going from the big fish in the little pond to the little fish in the big pond.

  2. Med cruise 89′ CV59… F14 lunges of cat
    # 3 then weight off wheels and everything jettisons, 2 Pheonix, 2 sparrows, 2 sidewinders and 2 drops. Never did find the aircrews 4 missing “cheeks”.

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