7 Ways to Secretly Read on The Job

Employers can be so unreasonable; just because they pay you life-sustaining money they think you should devote a full eight hours a day to their needs. But what about your needs? Every week, incredible new books are being published—they talk about Peak TV, but we’ve been living in an era of Peak Book for decades now, and the flood of excellence isn’t slowing down. Even worse, we all know that every job has that dreaded phenomenon of Down Time, periods when you just don’t have much to do, which leads to the equally disturbing phenomenon of Looking Busy. It’s not your fault you’re so good at your job you’re done by 2PM every day—why can’t you read a little until the next assignment?

Well, you can—if you’re a little creative about it. In fact, using the following 7 tips, we’re willing to bet a few people are reading in your office right now. Here’s how you can get in on this.

Restroom Reading Room
If your desk isn’t private enough, you might need to create a retreat for a little reading. Even the most draconian offices still allow employees to go to the bathroom, so stashing a few books in there means you can take several 5-minute reading breaks over the course of the day without being noticed. The atmosphere may not be the best, and if you overdo it people will start to wonder what is physically wrong with you that requires 16 bathroom breaks in the morning alone, but at least you’re burning through that new thriller.

Audiobooks for the Win
Plenty of people put in some earbuds and play tunes while working—why not listen to audiobooks instead? If your job is the sort of mindless drudgery that only requires a percentage of your actual attention, listening to a trained voice actor purr and emote their way through a great story will make your workday fly by, and no one needs to know what you’re actually listening to.

The Secret Conference Room Book Club
In all things, it takes a village. You probably aren’t the only person on the job who wishes very much that they could read more without risking their paycheck, so band together and pool resources. Reserve a conference room for an hour every day, give your meeting a project code name, and gather with your books, NOOKs, or smartphones and get to reading. If anyone notices you’re away from your desk, it’ll be obvious you’re “in a meeting.”

Find a Job That Pays You to Read
Of course, despite your most creative efforts you might be thwarted in your desire to read more on the job—so why not make your job reading? It won’t be easy, but it’s possible, because such jobs do exist. For one, you could find work as a book reviewer for blogs, websites, or print publications (which has the extra bonus of free books). For another, you could become what’s known as a “freelance reader,” which is where literary agents and publishers pay you to read manuscripts and offer succinct reviews as to whether they’re worth pursuing. Is it worth re-jiggering your whole career to get paid to read? Obviously.

Now that you have a solid strategy for reading more on the job, you can double your reading list for the year! Did we miss any strategies to increase your reading time?

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