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Have you ever had the need to sneak out from your office for a reason too personal to disclose to your boss? Most people will never tell their management about a job interview they have at some other place and for a good reason – this can turn out to be very negative for your prospects at your current workplace. Therefore, you would want to go into a stealth mode and find a way out without being caught. You are on a top-secret mission and you are not even sure how that will turn out to be. In this blog post, we will talk about the ‘Four Ps’ of what you should and should not do when sneaking out of your office.
Rule 1 – Presentation
What You Should Not Do: Dress Up In Out-Of-Character Clothes
What You Should Do: Dress Up Superman-Clark Kent Style
Remember the Superman comics and how Clark Kent manages to keep a low-key profile and then go into a phone booth and voila! Well, you might not find a phone booth to change but you get the idea. Usually it is the outfit that outs you when you are trying to make your great escape. It can give your co-workers an idea that you are planning to go to an interview or sneak out for a lunch with your girlfriend. Just picture yourself wearing a suit when it is scorching hot outside. So if you do not wear a suit and need to wear it for the occasion, you should keep it in your car and change elsewhere (unless you can do that in your car!). You can change in a bathroom a shopping mall or the nearest McDonald’s. Women who usually dress up in business casual for work can hide a jacket, jewellery or nicer shoes in their gym bags. You could also leave your coat or blazer outside and keep yourself in a semi-formal attire if that is fine.
Rule 2 – Presence
What You Should Not Do: Go Absolutely Rogue
What You Should Do: Work your way around your workplace
The problem with sneaking out is that it can cause anxiety, which can be transferred over to the interview or the meeting you have outside work. Try to see if you can schedule the meeting before, after work, or during your lunch break, if you have any. You could simply disappear for a short time, unless your boss is someone who loves to micromanage his team or sits right next to your station. Know that it is not always easy to avoid lying but try to keep this as the last option, just because it can make your heart race faster and turn you into a person you are not. You could use some of these awesome excuses to help you leave work early (The Best Excuses for Asking Your Boss to Leave Early)
Rule 3 – Perception
What You Should Not Do: Leave Without Any Trace
What You Should Do: Make It Look Like You Will Be Right Back
Even if you use an excuse and go out after talking to your boss, you will still want to leave some message for others to know, just to avoid the matter escalating. You could easily set a status on IM if your office used one, like Slack or Google Hangouts. Try to leave the office in a way that it looks like you are there or at least intend to return shortly. A good way to do that is to leave your coffee unfinished, your sweater or jacket resting on the chair, your devices open or having a messy desk. I used to leave half-eaten sandwich on my desk and it always seemed to do the trick.
Rule 4 – Preparation
What You Should Not Do: Be Caught Red Handed
What You Should Do: Have a Solid Alibi
You will need to be prepared for your co-workers and team members asking you where you are going or where you were. You could simply say something like you had an eye exam or an appointment with your dentist. Since everyone has regular dental and eye check-ups, you will not be questioned any further. The bonus here is that dental appointments usually result in follow-up appointments for cavity fillings or other procedures, which you can use for future rounds if you are actually sneaking out to give interviews.
Always avoid going over-the-top with your stories like a sick grandfather or death in the family as it can cause your colleagues and boss undue concern. They might want to attend the funeral or end up asking you about it to empathize with you even weeks later, only to find that you had even forgotten how your loved one died. Having such excuses exposed can seriously damage your relationship at the workplace.
10 Tips to Help You Sneak Out Of Work, Whenever You Want To
You will need to follow certain things to ensure that you sneak out of work, whenever you want to. Below are 10 tips to help you master the act:
- Devise the Entire Plan. Making sure that you sneak out of work without getting caught require you to plan the whole thing beforehand, perhaps weeks before the actual day. This will give you enough time to be able to go through all the details multiple times. It also allows you to change some aspects of the plan, if needed.
- Be Very Knowledgeable of Other People. Since you are planning a sneak out, you need to be 200% sure of other team members’ and your boss’s plans for the day. BE sure to know what every other person in your office, especially on your floor is doing at the time of your departure. You would not want to go through the pain of sneaking out only to meet your boss standing right on the entrance door.
- Pick the Perfect Time. While this depends on many factors, you will need to know how you can pick the perfect time to sneak out. You might need to do multiple attempts and that is why you should start a little early and not leave it to the last try. You know how often your boss checks on your station and when s/he involves you in meetings and discussions. Work with probabilities here.
- Know Your Escape Route. Your escape route is s important as your timing. Make sure you have all factors of your escape route planned. Plan your each step and be sure to have enough practice of doing so. It would be ideal if there were multiple entry and exit points to your office, so you can avoid the one commonly used by your boss and/or team members.
- Make Sure Your Escape Route is Clear. Not only do you need to know your escape route, you also need to make sure it remains clear. Do not assume that you have seen your route once in the morning and it is still clear. If you are taking a backdoor exit, make sure you will not end up seeing a colleague taking his/her smoke break.
- Know Your Office’s Weak Points. You need to be vary of the weak spots at your workplace. These are areas where your chances of getting caught are the greatest. It can be the glass door to your boss’s room from where s/he can view every person walking past. Keep a check of such spots and time your move to sneak out perfectly.
- Have an Accomplice with You. If there is a colleague who is truly close to you, someone you can call your friend, you might consider telling him about your escape. Having an accomplice will not only help you clear things out and escape with ease, but also cover up for you at work in your absence. Just make sure this accomplice is someone you can really trust and not someone who will tell on you.
- Keep Your Cool at All Times. All through this whole process of you sneaking out, you need to maintain a cool and calm demeanour. If you start panicking, you will find yourself out of office without your car keys, prompting you to head back in and increasing your chances of getting caught. Plan your moves, move calm, and collected. Make sure you have everything you need when you head out to avoid ruining your escape plan.
- Never Let Your Behaviour Deceive You. You might have a great thing to go to, but please do not show that on your face. Act naturally otherwise your team members and especially your boss (who is much more experienced than you!) would definitely get a hint and will be on your case. Never stammer or sweat if they ask you something and never hesitate to answer their questions or show anger. Acting differently will make them suspicious of your behaviour and that will pretty much destroy your plan.
- Always be Ready with an Excuse. Whatever you do, you need to keep an excuse ready for your defence in case you get caught. Make sure it is a believable and natural excuse and not something that will make you even more suspicious. If you get caught right outside your office, make an excuse that you are just heading out to get yourself a coffee and even offer them one just to make it look natural. You can always buy some time, depending on how long you want to be out for.
Hopefully, these tips will help you sneak out of your office like a pro. It’s all about Presentation, Presence, Perception and Preparation. Let me know if you have any other tips to share with my readers. Do check my other blog post on How to Ask your Boss if you Can Leave Work Early – Like a Pro. This blog post has received over 1 Million views and is something that you would like to read!