Expanding Work

Dwayne Phillips
1 min readSep 24, 2020


by Dwayne Phillips

In which professionals show Parkinson how to make some real dough.

Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. It is sometimes applied to the growth of bureaucracy in an organization.

When work is slow, it expands. That is, the workers expand it to fill the day. I have seen in it practice.

And I have seen professionals make Parkinson look like an amateur. At 2 p.m. on Friday a simple one-hour task didn’t become a three-hour task per Parkinson, it became a full-size study that would take three weeks.

The rallying cry of such professionals is, “but what if?” It is easy to add, “but what if?” to any answer, to any sentence, to any, “I think we’re done now.”

How does anyone “get away with” this? Simple. No one is watching. No one is supervising. No one is saying, “No, this is plenty.”

Solutions? There are many, and many of them are harsh. These situations come from good people having nothing to do. Find something positive to do. Find a book to read, a no-cost online course to take, an experiment to perform. Maybe these things are not in the main line of the business, but neither is expanding the work to fill the month.



Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.