Ok, so you don’t want to act so dumb that you get fired for being incompetent. There has to be a limit to your dumbness. Find that perfect balance of channeling the behavior of the Dumb & Dumber cohorts with the brain power of a skilled ninja warrior professional. You need to act dumb but have a reason for every dumb thing that you do and say.
Don’t simply walk into your boss’s office and flash him while bringing him his morning cappuccino. Hmm, might be a bit over the top kind of dumb! He may enjoy the show, but that won’t advance your career. Unless of course, he’s into that sort of thing! Try choosing your episodes of dumbness with more care. Like acting ditzy if you want to charm your boss into getting a seat on the next team project, even if it’s just as the meeting note taker.
Acting dumb helps you to fly under the radar and hit your target without anyone even seeing you coming. It’s the perfect opportunity to enter into an Intel gathering mission. You can develop friendships that can get you ahead in your career. Sounds cold and calculating, but sometimes you need to be looking out for number one. No one else is! You give yourself an out when things go wrong because everyone thinks you’re so dumb. Consider the following reasons why acting dumb can help your career.
You Can Fly Under the Radar
Smart people are noticed. Dumb people can fly under the radar and become seemingly invisible. You can become the fly on the wall that people hear buzzing by their ear, but can never seem to swat and kill. You’ll be privy to the inner circle. Not because you’re the carefree team leader that everyone loves. Rather, because you’re lower on the food chain, and they need you to bring the coffee and make sure everyone is comfortable. While you’re smiling with that deer in the headlights look in your eyes handing out coffee, you can start gathering juicy facts that can be used to your advantage later on. No one will care that you heard about this new client coming on board because you’re basically invisible. Use that to your advantage. Listen to what’s being discussed. Figure out what information can help you get ahead in your own career.
Stay in character. Keep acting invisible. One misstep can spell doom and destruction for your master plan. Imagine the dire consequences of becoming too enthralled in the discussion. You’ll end up over-pouring water into your team leader’s cup, which will create a cold waterfall cascading down into his lap. Maybe he needed that cold shower because he was too busy thinking about his girlfriend’s latest text message. But, that negligent action will damage your powers of invisibility.
Instantly you’ll be on everyone’s radar while dodging lightning rod looks of disdain as you run out of the room. You probably won’t be invited back again, even if it’s only in the role of office gofer. So, take your role seriously and be smart in your behavior. Just act like you’re dumb, so no one cares what type of company intelligence they talk about right in front of you. If you play it right, you can find a wealth of information that can help you end up as team leader some day and have someone pouring water for you and bringing you a double shot espresso like one of the big shots!
You Develop Necessary Friendships
Acting dumb increases your chances of developing necessary friendships. These friendships are symbiotic. You know, you scratch someone’s back, and he’ll scratch yours. Just don’t get too carried away with the scratching. Save that for a non-work day! In your master plan, you’re going through the back door. You need to develop these friendships in a smart way while acting dumb. It all boils down to picking the right relationships to cultivate that will get you ahead in your career. Ok, so you don’t necessarily need to develop a friendship with that sexy receptionist who winks at you every time you walk into the office. That can become an extra credit relationship.
Stick to the mission. You can be that goofy work buddy who hangs out with the debonair team leader. True, he probably feels sorry for you and thinks you’re a total loser. He’s just doing his civic duty of trying to help someone less fortunate. After all, it’s not his fault that he was born that way with handsome good looks and that charming smile. Go with the flow. He thinks he’s using you. It’s really the other way around. You’re like a double agent. Thinking smart and focusing on the mission, but acting dumb and working the system.
Sidle up to this smarty pants at every chance you get. Cater to his ego. You know how these types like to be praised. Without even realizing it, this guy is going to help you out. He’s falling right into the trap of your necessary friendship. He needs you to stroke his ego, and you need him to introduce you to the right people in management. If you play your cards right, this guy is going to start to take you out to lunch and try to dress you up in a Pretty Woman (or man) makeover. Enjoy all the trappings because you never know how long he’ll keep you as his protégé. If you slip up and start channeling your alter ego, he’s going to get suspicious, and you can lose your chance of getting all you can from this friendship.
Keep acting dumb so that you can hang onto your access to your contacts in upper management. Acting dumb has gotten you known as his sidekick, and you’ll start to become more popular in the workplace. Until one day, the tables are turned, and you’ve advanced your career and don’t have to act dumb anymore. Your debonair mentor won’t even know what hit him when he’ll be witness to your intellectual transformation in upper management.
Your Act Becomes Believable
Brace yourself. You may be too good of an actor and start fooling yourself into thinking you are actually dumb. Slap yourself in the face a few times if you have to. Do whatever it takes to follow the master plan. Acting dumb is an act! You need to walk as close to the line as possible so that your act becomes believable. You need to be credible when denying your involvement in that major fiasco that happened at the office. You know, when the sh** hits the fan and everyone is running for cover, you’ll have plausible deniability. No one is going to think you had anything to do with the loss of that multi-million dollar deal because you have no brain and weren’t even in on the planning stages. Sure, you had the ear of your debonair team leader during your fancy mentoring lunches. Yes, you offered up some brilliant ideas in that moment which could have led to your mentor moving forward on that deal.
Yet, when all hell breaks loose, no one is going to think about questioning you. After all, you’re just the coffee girl or water boy and no one realizes that you had any part—even if just slight—in the fiasco. Of course, not taking responsibility isn’t being advocated. You’re just trying to lay low until the smoke clears. Then you can see where the boundary lines lay and what your next plan of action will be. You’ll be alive to face another day.
Let’s face facts. Acting dumb is hard work. Don’t get discouraged because you can perfect it to an art form and maybe even win an Emmy in the process. You will become that double agent who flies under the radar, makes nice with the right people and knows how to wave his hands, denying any involvement in the screw ups.
Have you ever acted dumb in the office to advance your career?