Tagged: workplaces

My Labor Day Wish List

relaxinglabordayIn honor of Labor Day, I’d like to offer 10 ideas for making the workplace much more fun and rewarding:

1-Immediately fire anyone who attempts to cook fish in the office microwave oven

2-Start every meeting by announcing, “anyone who expects concrete actions to result from the next hour should step forward and tell the group where your misguided optimism comes from.” This not only exposes those in the group who are abusing drugs, but lets the leader know how truly ineffective he/she is.

3-Allow anyone sentenced to a cubicle to convert it into a Tupperware container, thereby keeping out human bacteria and mold. Plus, it’s always a morale booster to hear the cute little burp when you seal the top.

4-Rig the office copier so it can read and understand what documents are being duplicated. Not only would this expose who is using the copier for personal reasons, but it would be a hoot if it could announce the contents of the document to the rest of the office, such as, “Morty is renewing his prescription for Viagra! Sophia just registered for a vacation on a nude beach!”

laborday5-At least once a year the boss should be told what’s really going on in the office and offered early retirement.

6-Every time someone asks about ROI or KPI they are immediately rendered DOA.

7-Install an actual watercooler. Too much gossip is exchanged by email and text, thereby making overhearing some delicious scandalous nugget virtually impossible.

8-Just as a joke, on payday announce the entire office will be tithed 20 percent of their pay to support the cleaning staff’s ammonia habit.

9- Once a week it would be cool if the CEO walked around headquarters with a big smile asking workers, “do you believe this shit?”

10-Instead of annual raises, employees are invited to raid the supply cabinet for all the pens and Scotch tape they can fit in their backpacks. Oh, crap..they already do that.

Sour Grapefruit League

springtrainingFor many years I’ve been terribly jealous of Major League Baseball players. Not because they get paid a jillion dollars to play a game, or that many of them have great hair or gorgeous girlfriends or wives. No, what I covet is a job that includes “spring training.”

It’s a great concept. Players spend six weeks or so in warm weather, practice a couple of hours a day, sit by the pool, play golf, and a bunch of games that don’t even count, before they even begin to get down to work for real.

Say, for instance, teams of white collar corporate drones need to get in ship shape for the brutal fall budget planning season for the year ahead. To do so, they spend six weeks in DC during cherry blossom season which lulls them into believing the world is fair. Then training cranks up with a full schedule of mock meetings with another companys’ controllers who are there to beef up their resolve to break the hearts of aspiring Directors by insisting on across the board 20 percent cuts…just for the sport of it. By the second week, cocky Millennials who showed up expecting to make the team even though they have no discernable skills or practical experience, will wash out once they find out that once you get hired, you have to actually do work.

C-Suite executives generally show up during the third week sporting artificial tans and obnoxious anecdotes about the Disney cruises they took in the off-season. But they’ll need to catch up quickly with two-a-day harassment workouts. You can’t just walk in the office after a two-month off-season and expect to effectively harass your staff.

Last to show up are members of the Board of Directors. Their regimen includes “backroom deal boot camp” and “boardroom coup playacting.” Despite it being the pre-season, there’s immense pressure to get in shape before the annual shareholders meeting where they must show how well they practiced their “I give a shit” looks when a shareholder offers a proposal.

Personally, I feel I could benefit from a reasonable off-season of, say 3 months while I lick my wounds from the last corporate bloodletting season, and a productive pre-season where I can effectively sharpen my political knives.

I’d be ready to roll with any idiot who blathers on about their latest pet project, and would even suggest negating a moronic policy decision…by way of the “midlevel-manager’s challenge.”

Office Spaced

IMG_2215I have no affection at all for offices. A person trying to woo me to his firm promised me a corner office. It was a generous gesture but I told him that under no circumstances would I accept a corner, or any other office. I ended up not taking the job anyway because I was an out-of-work journalist and I wasn’t quite ready to switch to something new. I also despised offices of any sort but loved newsrooms, which are, in effect, offices with just the right proportion of chaos, collaboration and profanity.

A couple of years ago as a sign of a promotion, I was ordered to move from my open cube to a closed office. “If I’m being promoted,” I asked, “why am I being placed in solitary confinement?” Alas, I now view the general prison population through a glass window. Sometimes it’s fun to have one of my co-workers on the “outside” play the game of “prison visitor” and place their hand on my window and I place mine opposite from the inside..just like in “Birdman of Alcatraz.”


Thanks to the Chicago Auto Show last week, I hadn’t’ seen my office or desk in 6 days…until today. I jangled my keys like the “office warden,” opened my door and breathed in the squalid stale air that could only be neutralized by brewing coffee and inhaling a box of Altoids.

For a brief moment I thought about tidying up the mess on my desk I left behind, but why bother? That would only make room for a new mess and I was already quite familiar with the desk-tritus on display, including the Post-it note with my computer password from 2009. I keep forgetting it. Damn passwords!

The sad part is I’ve now grown used to spending my workday holed up in my human Habitrail. There are all sorts of places to hide stuff I should have tossed years ago, I can make phone calls in private and I can engage in the guilty pleasure of watching the YouTube video of Katy Perry in her skimpy jungle outfit singing “Roar,” uh… during my lunch break…of course.

In fact, I think that tomorrow I’ll start the process of reforming. I won’t toss used Keurig pods under my desk and tell curious visitors they’re my dead pet mice, or rationalize a pile of randomly ordered file folders by calling my system “Anarchic Alphabetizing.”

I might even take down the sign on my door that warns potential visitors, “Where productivity comes to die.”