Fake Work

Ayelet Baron
3 min readJul 21, 2023

Time to Shine A Light on Management that Sucks

First published on ayeletbaron.com/blog

Fake work is like putting on a show or performance. It’s doing things that make you look busy, but these tasks don’t really help the company. This can happen when you’re stuck in unnecessary meetings, writing reports nobody reads, or working on projects that never get off the ground.

Poor management often causes this fake work with poor planning, which leaves people feeling frustrated.It’s also a world of pretense at work.

Let’s take a research scientist as an example. He started a job at a tech company full of hope. He wanted to use his machine learning skills to push the limits of AI.

But that dream quickly turned into a disappointing maze of confusion and dissatisfaction. Despite his big paycheck, he felt wasted and aimless. Soon, he found himself on a performance improvement plan.

But then, he got a chance to work on a new project. It seemed promising, and he poured himself into it. But it turned out that the project was never meant to be launched. That was the last straw. He left the company.

This reality of fake work is getting more and more common in the tech industry. Many tech employees draw huge salaries while they maintain a facade of productivity, instead of making real contributions.

But this isn’t about employees being lazy and collecting money. At the root is managers assigning tasks that don’t matter. So, the rise of fake work is about lack of management.

Tech companies hired people fast to keep up with demand during the pandemic. But they didn’t plan well for these new hires. Many of them ended up without meaningful roles. This caused layoffs and more claims of fake work.

Many tech employees didn’t have enough real work to fill their days. Often, more than one person got the same task. While some people might have taken advantage of this, most found themselves stuck in a frustrating situation.

Now, big tech companies are laying off thousands to reduce fake work. They are trying to become more efficient. But maybe a healthier course of action is to focus on conscious leadership and…



Ayelet Baron

Pioneering Futurist. Author. Former Cisco strategist. Thinkers50 author. Forbes 50 Female Futurists #indieauthor