Surfer's paradise

Mar 13, 2001 at 12:00 am

Best Ways to Use the Web at Work
5. Plan your vacation
4. E-mail
3. Shop
2. Porn
1. Find a new job

Let’s face it: If you spend most of your workday making elaborate online vacation plans and drooling over endless pages of porn, you’re not going to be working there much longer. Line up your next gig before you get the ax, and make sure your new employer has a T3 line or better for optimum browsing pleasure. But if updating the résumé seems a bit daunting and you’ve grown fond of your cube, here’s a few alternatives to help save the job.

  • If a supervisor suddenly appears while you’re scrolling through airline timetables, grunt an assertive “Mm-hmm!” and scribble down a few numbers before closing the window. Whisper in a conspiratorial tone, “Murphy’s being transferred to Malaysia. Mum’s the word.”

  • You might not worry about your employer’s rules against personal e-mail, but what about your systems department secretly reading all messages and laughing at you behind your back? Avoid both problems and use a Net-based mail account like Yahoo! or Hotmail for personal messaging; close it whenever you’re away from your desk.

  • Stay away from eBay — its pages take forever to load and are difficult to hide at a moment’s notice. Limit your shopping to mainstream items such as books, records and business attire, so you can explain that you’re looking for customer giveaway ideas or a birthday gift for the big boss. (When utilizing the latter alibi, add to its authenticity by demanding a cash donation from your snoopy colleague.)

  • If caught viewing porn while working at an alternative newspaper, announce that you’re doing “cultural research” for an upcoming article/column, or that you’re reviewing a potential advertiser’s Web site. Otherwise, stay away from the hard-core stuff and check out “Lego Porn” (preschool action figures arranged in hilariously compromising positions) or the Louvre’s nude painting and sculpture galleries (lots of male full-frontal; view the French version to further confound finger-pointers). Both sites offer innocent-looking smut which will fool casual bystanders, and neither uses obnoxious multiplying pop-up windows.