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The Anti-Slacker Checklist

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • January 26, 2015


“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” -Oscar Wilde


“Slacker” is the term given for assholes, psychopaths, incompetents, and rotten apples that wriggle their way into a company.


The safest way to avoid slackers (and find stars) is to use the following checklist:


1. Is he the type of person that always keeps his options open? Avoid people that can’t make commitments or stick to their commitments.

2. Can he write clearly in English? Stars send documents that don’t need replies. Slackers send documents that require replies longer than the original email.

3. Does he use punctuation or paragraphs? Does he use too many exclamation marks? “Exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” Terry Pratchett

4. Would you introduce him to your daughter?

5. Does he hide behind fancy words? Jargon is the shelter of the incompetent and insecure.

6. Does he scan the room with his eyes whilst talking to you?

7. Does he praise you in private whilst avoiding public association?

8. Does he have integrity? Warren Buffett says you should back people with integrity, energy & intelligence. Without integrity, the others are irrelevant.

9. Are his actions, thoughts & emotions aligned? Does he live different lives?

10. Does your gut say that he is not “right”? Listen to your gut.

11. Does he have the gift of the gab? Be doubly careful.

12. Does he stand behind his opinions or is he always hedging his bets?

13. Does he make public spectacles of disagreements? (ie: cc’ing all instead of engaging in one-on-one correspondence)

14. Does he mimic and kiss the ass of the most powerful person in the room?

15. Is he consistent? Consistently friendly or consistently unfriendly are fine. Inconsistency is not fine.

16. Does he put things in writing? Writing is a wonderful way of distilling ideas. If you can’t distil it, you don’t understand it.

17. Does he prefer one-on-one meetings to group meetings? Corporate psychopaths tell everyone a different story. They like to divide and conquer.

18. Does he always have an excuse for why he’s late? Stars arrive at the office at 7am without being asked. Slackers slouch in at 9, with a new excuse every day for why they’re late.

19. Does he make excuses and blame others? Stars never make excuses; they just own up to their mistakes and fix them without a fuss. Slackers always make excuses and try to shift blame.

20. Is he responsive? Stars reply to emails and messages quickly. Slackers are a black hole for communications, receiving but never responding.

21. Does he take initiative? When given a task to do or a problem to solve, stars figure out the solution without asking 20 questions. Slackers show no initiative and expect the person assigning them the task to give them the solution too.

22. Do you have to nag him? Stars finish jobs without having to be nagged or pestered. Slackers never finish anything unless they’re nagged and pestered.

23. Is he a learner? Stars are always thinking of ways to learn new things. Slackers are always thinking about girls or cars or rugby.

24. Is he hungry? Stars have a fire in the belly. They work hard even when no one is watching. Slackers tell you how hard they work but slack off when the boss goes home.

25. Does he have energy? Stars never need downtime. Slackers always need downtime.

26. Do conversations with him feel like effort or do they get to the point quickly.

27. Who are his friends? Birds of a feather flock together.


“Graveyards are filled with indispensable men.” -Charles de Gaulle