It's time to stay on that couch and make something of your life! Just follow these step-by-step instructions, and you'll be slacking your way to financial freedom in no time.
Get a Boss' Salary for an Intern's Work, like Edward McSweegan
1. GET A PLUM JOB
After earning a PhD and working his way up the corporate ladder, microbiologist Edward McSweegan was promoted to managing Lyme disease research grants for the National Institute of Health (NIH). But the job came with plenty of politics.
2. UPSET THE WRONG PEOPLE
When advocacy groups claimed that a "chronic" form of Lyme disease existed and that it required lifelong antibiotic treatments, McSweegan, like many public health experts, disagreed. He just wasn't diplomatic about it. In 1995, he publicly called one of the groups "wacko", much to NIH's chagrin.
3. END UP WITH NOTHING BUT FREE TIME
The statement earned McSweegan a two-week suspension. It did not, however, earn him a pink slip. Instead, his bosses took away the work he had been doing and never gave him anything to replace it with. For seven years, the scientist effectively became a gofer-fetching coffee and forwarding emails. The only thing that didn't change: his salary. That entire time, McSweegan continued to rake in $100,000 a year.
SLACKER WARNING! Don't publicize your plight
If you're sick of coasting and want to find real work in your inbox, do as McSweegan did. In 2003, the bored scientist finally snapped. He took his story to the media, where he publicly asked his bosses for something to do besides write mystery novels on taxpayer time. That year, McSweegan was finally given new grants to administer-a job he still does to this day.
Get Paid Long After You've Left Your Job, like Bobby Bonilla
1. BE REALLY GOOD AT SPORT
This is the tricky part. First, become a heavily-recruited, all-star baseball player like Bobby Bonilla.
2. NOW, DO YOUR JOB POORLY
In 1992, Bonilla became the highest-paid player in baseball when the New York Mets signed him to a $29 million, five-year contract. It wasn't the best idea. For the next three years, the Mets had a dismal record, and Bonilla became the poster child for their ineptitude. Of course, his behavior didn't help. He once called the press box during a game to complain about a call the umpire had just made against him. Another time, he offered a critical journalist "a tour of the Bronx"-as a threat. In 1995, the Mets traded him away.
3. IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, FAIL AGAIN
Four years later, the Mets made the baffling decision to rehire Bonilla, who proceeded to follow up his disastrous early-1990s stint with an equally tragic end to the decade. This time, it only took the Mets one year to oust him. The catch? According to Bonilla's contract, the team stilled owed him $5.9 million.
4. WAIT FOR SOMEBODY ELSE TO MAKE A BAD DECISION
Rather than pay Bonilla off or allow him to keep playing, the Mets made a convoluted deal. Bonilla would leave the team, and his salary would be deferred for ten years. In exchange, he'd earn 8 percent interest annually-bringing the total sum to nearly $30 million, which he'll get in annual payments of $1.19 million from 2011 until 2035. What were the Mets thinking? Hard to say. Pundits speculate that the team was simply short on cash. Delaying the payout allowed management to free up funds, meaning they could recruit players they actually wanted.
Earn Someone Else's Subsidies, like Suburban "Farmers"
1. BUY THE RIGHT HOUSE
Actually, that's pretty much it. Federal farm subsidies are paid out to help keep farmers in business. The intention is to stabilize farmers' income to counteract erratic weather and fluctuations on commodity prices. Unfortunately, the subsidies are notoriously mismanaged. In 2006, the Washington Post investigated the lax attitude surrounding the allocations of these funds. Surprisingly, the most egregious offenders were suburban McMansion dwellers. Reporters found that the cash payouts remained tied to the land-long after that land stopped being used for farming. The journalists also found realtors and developers advertising the subsidies as a selling point on lots and houses. In 2005, one area of Texas brought in $37 million in rice farm subsidies-most of it going to either non-farmers or farmers who no longer grew rice at all.
__________________________The above article by Maggie Koerth-Baker is reprinted with permission from the Scatterbrained section of the September-October 2010 issue of mental_floss magazine.
Be sure to visit mental_floss' entertaining website and blog for more fun stuff!