Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary c. 1966
One who shirks his duties or avoids military service in wartime; shirker.
The term slacker is commonly used to refer to a person who avoids work (especially British English), or (primarily in North American English) an educated person who is antimaterialistic and viewed as an underachiever.
So while I am not going to recommend enlisting in military service (the Reader’s Digest definition may be a touch out of date) I will recommend putting your talents to good use – as I hope to put my own to use without over burdening myself with the traditional notion of work.
As to my definition of a slacker – the wikipedia definition for North America is on target. I would add to it that slackers general have a level of idealism that breeds a cynicism of the current system (or at least I do). As for in practice: slacking, as I used it in my school career, consisted mostly of ignoring the busy work and completing important tasks (projects, papers, etc.) in the shortest time possible (usually at the last minute).
In a way this was my use of Parkinson’s Law without knowing about it. Parkinson’s Law is cited a great deal in Timothy Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Workweek and refers to the notion that we a job will swell in work according to the time given. While some may dispute how Timothy Ferriss uses the Parkinson’s Law, Study Hack for example citing the specific context Parkinson was referring to in his paper on British Civil Service, it is in many contexts an effective idea to put to use.
The purpose of slacker reform is then not to take the slacker out entirely but to optimize the slacker for high yield and efficiency while maintaining a minimal level of work.
Are you a slacker? Even if you aren’t, how would you define slacker? Let me know and comment.