The Art of ‘Half-Masting it’

By Bob Morrell on December 12, 2019

When I first began work, the rules were very clear and inflexible. You had to wear a suit. You could smoke at your desk and only had an hour for lunch. You did things a certain way. This wasn’t always the right way, but you knew you were doing your work in the way that was expected of you. Some of that work was very dull, but in the early stages of any career there is always some drudgery to do, and if you do it well it allows you to move on to more fun stuff. I was also taught that certain things need to be done properly.

Now, there is a fashion for offices that look like sixth form common rooms, casual dress and a strategy of 'half-masting' or 'trying to get away with it'. Trying to get away with casual clothes, with an email rather than a considered document, with emails when a call is required, discussing instead of doing, and avoiding mundane tasks in favour of more stimulating work.

There are some simple rules I use. 1) Always dress smartly with a clean shirt. 2) Always over deliver with new customers, don't create something poor quality because it saves time. 3) Don't live in your inbox - relationships are formed through interaction, voice, emotion and comedy. 4) Diarise and focus on mundane work and do it as well as you can. 'Half-Masters' will try and fool you into thinking that they're all members of a cool club that you don't understand, that work 'doesn't have to be so hard.' and 'you're the problem'; for trying to do things properly. For this reason, 'Half-Masters' will always be half as successful as they could be.