After college and all you’ve learned about the business world you go into the business world expecting it to be, for lack of a better word, businessy. But soon after you leave college and get into the business world you realize the business world is about as businessy as the bastardization of the word business to businessy implies…if that makes any sense… The truth about business is, it is ridiculous, weird, and is never like you seen in the movies, except maybe in Office Space.
1. Theft of office supplies is the most under reported crime in the world. I don’t know whether it is intentional or a pathological need that is imbedded into our very genetic coding, but there is something about office supply pilfering that takes over us when we see them in colleagues cup holders or stacked in supply closets that smell like a Staples store. Something about “procured” office supplies also make them better than personally purchased office supplies. There is some Ju-Jus that is infused into them, maybe it is stolen from your soul at the moment of theft, but it imbues them with extra powers. Once freed from the workplace you can use them with wild abandon no pen you have will write better smoother lines, no Post-It note will stick longer, and no white out makes you loopier than those of the looted variety!
2. Prepare to have the same discussion about your lunchtime food choices every single day, for the rest of your life. Learn your “this is why I like or don’t like this” script and prepare to repeat it OVER AND OVER AND OVER again.
3. All those e-mails you put together with lots of information and details. No one reads them! On occasion if people are bored, and have nothing better up their sleeves, they MIGHT, MIGHT read your e-mail if they have every website except work related sites blocked, their friends in the office are off sick, their cell phones aren’t getting reception, and they have taken too many potty breaks for another 15 minute absence from their desk to go unnoticed…well if ALL of this happens they MIGHT read your e-mail. This boring paragraph e-mail is the best way to sneak something by someone. Put whatever it is into e-mail that isn’t bulleted, just long paragraphs of information. Look for the longest, most boring, middlest paragraph, and stick in whatever you are trying to sneak by. Sitting pretty, nicely cuddled in between long boring paragraphs referencing one of the ten attachments that are at least 15 pages long sent along with the e-mail. No one will EVER catch whatever it is your sneaking into the e-mail.
4. The sneaking of things into e-mails leads inevitably to the question of, why are you sneaking things into e-mails? You might not think the workplace is a fight to the death, but that just means you’re blind…it’s a fight to the death…practically no one ever tells the whole truth, and 90% off the e-mails that you ever get from anyone is a “self-serving e-mail”. What is a self-serving e-mail, it’s an e-mail specifically written to make the writer look good and someone else look bad. So by sneaking something into an e-mail if someone says, “you never told me that,” you can say, “sure I did it’s right there in the e-mail”. Trust me…people do this all the time. It’s messed up, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective.
5. Still more on e-mails. They are instant. They are fast, everyone demands something e-mailed to them so they can have it right away. This is called e-mail hoarding. It is why most work e-mail inboxes look like they should be featured on an episode of Hoarders. Everyone wants the info e-mailed to them, but they don’t review it and if they review the never respond to you. Forget about the “RSVP” like line you added to the subject line saying “REPLY IMMEDIATELY”, I NEED YOUR RESPONSE RIGHT AWAY. All of the office technology out there has been created so people can make others hurry up and wait for something. It’s the workplace’s passive-aggressive fuck you to the “I needed this yesterday“ mentality.
6. You know that person with a good personality, and the knowledge base of a Squirrel who didn’t have the good sense to store up nuts in the summer for the soon-coming cold hard winter, remember them?! Well that person, or someone very much like that person has a better job than you, makes more money than you, and will probably tell you what to do, and then try to take credit for your ideas.
7. The ability to look busy, while not being busy at all is a skill you must master. Never look like you aren’t busy. If you look like you aren’t busy this is code to other people to ask for help, your bosses to give you more work, or HR to reconsider if you really need to be full time. Never look like you aren’t busy.
8. If you put on more makeup or dress nicer than you usually do, just because you ran out of your regular work clothes, and you were down to what you chose to wear and a dress from your 1995 10th grade banquet as the only clean clothing options you had…someone will embarrassingly remark on it.
9. Candy bowls/dishes, computers and lip gloss pots. Sharing is gross. Okay, well, not all sharing. No, never mind, I think all sharing with co-workers that aren’t hot and of the cute male variety is gross. But there is nothing grosser than sharing candy bowl/dishes, computers, and lip-gloss with people you work with. In the first place, why are they asking to borrow beauty items? Aren’t there like a million articles a week online on the inadvisability of sharing makeup?! To avoid this, you have to keep a decoy communal lip-gloss pot on your desk that you let your co-workers use, and you keep the real lip-gloss. The Clinique Superbalm excellence or C.O. Bigelow minty loveliness hidden away from prying eyes! Second, using a keyboard and mouse someone else has fondled all day long, it’s like the work place equivalent of sitting on a toilet seat that is still warm from the person that sat on it before, yuck. Everyone that borrows my keyboard and mouse to check something seems to be a hand sweater and after they finished commandeering my keyboard and mouse both items still have co-worker’s grimy little handprints all over them that is doubly gross. Third, did those grimy little hands get washed before they got stuck into the candy dish on your desk?! Nope likely they did not. Get individually wrapped pieces of candy…ooh…and don’t put anything you like in the candy dish without a doubt it will probably go first and you are left with something completely unacceptable like only lemon Starburst.
10. Don’t ever take the bait on stupid e-mail forwards sent around. Without fail someone will have some smart ass forward that will guarantee the country’s problems will be fixed in 6 months starting with the immediate impeachment of whichever president is in office at the time. Followed by the fact that there is no matter how many times said president has said God Bless America or no matter how many American Flag lapel pins they have, they are clearly the root of all evil in the world and you are never winning this argument, don’t argue with crazy people…don’t…just don’t. Just steal all of their office supplies when they aren’t looking, and think good luck highlighting that report with your tongue motherfu*@(&@! (EVIL LAUGH!!!)
So this is the workplace you read so much about in school. The place where no one wears cute designer clothes everyday, hot 4.5 inch heels are replaced with flats with arch support because walking is usually a work requirement, and there are definitely no hot, hot, mind-blowingly sexy men in perfect suits, or fun after work parties. It’s just a goofball place where everyone is trying to get ahead while not stomping too obviously on the hands of the person hanging on next to him or her. It’s just a different playground, it’s just that if you are sniffing they markers on this playground they send you to rehab…!