Do you remember the Bud Light “steaming cup of coffee?” Commercial?

In this commercial, people equate a steaming cup of coffee to the idea that Johnson is working hard.

The boss walks by his office, spots the steaming cup and comments, “Looks like Johnson’s in early.”

In the afternoon, Johnson’s peers are wondering where he is. One of them comments, “I don’t know, but there’s a steaming cup of coffee on his desk.”

Finally, as the boss is leaving the office at 9:00 pm, the boss approvingly comments, “Johnson, burning the midnight oil again.”

Now, OK, I know it’s only a beer commercial. In fact, I still find it kind of comical in that context.

However, fast-forward to about 20 minutes ago. I was scanning through magazines and found “The mouse jiggler.

The mouse jiggler is the modern-day version of the steaming cup of coffee.

What’s a mouse jiggler, you ask?

It’s a device you put your mouse on that simulates small mouse movements as if you were doing it yourself.

Why would you want such a device? Let me quote the article:

“Completely undetectable (for now) by your computer or your workplace’s Orwellian monitoring systems, the mouse jiggler keeps your cursor on the move, preventing your computer from going into sleep mode, leaving your boss none the wiser about the comfy groove you’ve made for yourself on the couch.”

OK, let’s think about this for a moment.

First, let’s address the people who believe a mouse jiggler (or a steaming cup of coffee) will solve their problems.

It could be that the work environment lacks safety, or you don’t care. Whatever the reason, it’s time to look for a new job if you think such a device is needed.

And, for the bosses out there.

How would you respond if you find someone who works for you has a steaming cup of coffee or mouse jiggler?

I know it would be tempting to label them as a slacker, unethical, or unprofessional.

However, you will find it more impactful to examine what makes them believe they need such a device.

Hint: the truth is unlikely to be about them.

Build a working environment in which people feel valued and engaged. Then, people won’t need to try and fool you into thinking they’re working.

You’ve got this.

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