Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On Maintaining Workplace Sanity

So I promised I’d post some recipes this week, but wouldn’t you know, I went ahead and screwed up the salsa I made in a major way. So I decided not to post that loser of a recipe. But if you have about 50 Roma tomatoes and you’re looking for a quick way to turn your tongue inside-out and mummify your kidneys, let me know. I think I can help.

Today events conspired that made me want to write a post dedicated to workplace harmony. So without further ado (because who needs all that ado? ---Somewhere in Kentucky a young man raises his hand and drawls, “A’do”----)

But I’m not ready to be fired yet, so I probably shouldn’t write about it. What do you think? Should I write about it? No? Alright, you always had such good sense. What's that? I should? No. Yes? Really? Okay, I will.

So I had one of those “less-fun-than-mono” interactions with an individual I met with as a result of the fact that I need to earn a paycheck to eat and live in a heated abode and keep that heated abode stocked in boxed wine and Spam. And by “less-fun-than-mono,” I mean that I left our interaction feeling that I had just spent an hour with a creature that crawled from a pore on Satan’s butt.

For some reason, this person really took a disliking to me. And it wasn’t because I asked if she had crawled from Satan’s left cheek. I didn’t! I practically offered her a million dollars. A million chocolate-covered dollars. I complimented her hair. I asked how her weekend was. But the ice queen was having none of it. She nearly punched me out with her frostiness. If ‘unfriendliness’ became personified and developed skills, hers would be able to karate-chop the hearts of orphans in half. And it would do so with gusto.

I think we can all relate. Once in awhile, we will just have to deal with someone who was born hating us. And I am less able to be successful unless I establish a rapport with whatever individual I must work with to complete the task at hand. We don’t have to be best friends. But there has to be a basic level of trust, friendliness, and politeness. To that end, here is a helpful list of ways to make the most of a workplace relationship:
  1. Do not be a creature birthed in a pore on Satan’s butt.
  2. Do not take other calls and do not chew your lunch loudly when you have a phone conference. If your conversation partner can tell that you’re eating a Taco Bell Cheesy Tendon Melt from 75 miles away, you might consider brushing up on your etiquette skills. There are several books in the first grade library that could help with this, such as Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners. (I was shocked that it's spelled "Berenstain," too!)
  3. Please refrain from complaining. I realize this is an attractive hobby, but everyone is dealing with the same BS at work. Your complaints are not new. Here’s a neat-o, keen-o idea: how about developing a sense of humor about those pesky, bothersome issues we all have to deal with? I know, it’s kind of crazy. Revolutionary, one might say. But it might make you more palatable as a human being. In general, anyway.
  4. Don’t be insane. This is a skill that could apply to many areas of your life beyond the worksite, as well.
  5. Tangents are not your friend. They may act the part, remembering your birthday and taking you shopping when you’re sad, but don’t trust them. Tangents will let you down repeatedly. They will confuse you and leave you stranded on the side of the road, and then you’ll never get a ride back to whatever your point was to begin with.
  6. Again, because this bears repeating: if you are a creature birthed from a pore on Satan’s butt, you might want to take a night class on phone etiquette, developing a sense of humor, maintaining good mental health, and staying on track in a conversation.

And if you must deal with such a creature in the course of your daily work, remember: you’ve got a box of wine, a can of Spam, and good people and pets at home. You’ll be alright.


  1. I'm going to be laughing about that guy from Kentucky all day.

  2. Number 5. Oh how I hate the tangent. HATE the tangent.

  3. Wow, when I read "birthed from a pore on Satan's butt" I immediately had a vision of my bosses big fat demented head squeazing itself out of said pore. I am going to think of it every time I see her, and I am going to laugh.

  4. Hmmm, I think that Zit o'the Devil was at my corporate offices last week. She travels.

    You are so funny. Really. You are.

  5. Yes, that dude in Kentucky raising hand and guffawing "A'dooh" (which is how it is properly spelled, my friend), had me CRACKING up!!!

    Spam, Boxed wine... you are closing in on Swishy's place as BBFF...

    Just kiddin' Swish, you know you're #1 in mah heart!

    But Jess, I do think you've raised your status of oh-mighty-writer-one with this phrase, which I am quite certain has never, ever, ever been written in the English language, cuz come on, WHO THINKS UP THIS STUFF: a creature that crawled from a pore on Satan’s butt.

    And, you, Swish and I have a lunch date for October 5 that YOU CANNOT MISS OUT ON. I know a great place in Naperthrill that serves boxed wine and Spam on Fridays...


  6. Laughing, no, make that guffawing at all 6 items on the list.
    See--here's one of the benefits of being "retired." I still teach, but parttime. And anytime someone gets to be one of these items on the list of 6, I can just say--SEE YA.
    Like Janice sang--"freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

  7. "Don't be insane".

    You're asking A LOT.

  8. Yeah, I'm pretty sure we work with the same person.


  9. This sarcasm is so sweet and tasty that I'm going to simply print this and read it after dinner tonight instead of having desert.

    Damn, you crack me up woman!

  10. Anonymous2:32 PM

    I should be giggling, but I'm honestly baffled by how anyone could NOT like you, so instead of giggling, I'm thinking about how I'd like to punch out the taco-cruncher.

  11. Anonymous6:30 PM

    I'm pretty sure that the Cheesy Tendon Melt is the only variation on a tortilla that Taco Hell hasn't tried. Hilarious, Jess.

  12. Hee hee. Excellent advice - someone should print that list up on one of those motivational workplace posters.

  13. Yep #4 is a real winner.

    A clue for the clueless - if you have to ask if you're insane, you probably are. :>

  14. You really should consider making your next book nonfiction. The world needs help, and you have much wisdom to offer!!!

    I'll be laughing all day :)

  15. Anonymous2:46 PM

    Can we be best friends? Because really, this post proves you're my kind of gal. Except for the Spam. Please no Spam.

  16. Jess, I agree with Trish Ryan. All of your posts relate to the "human" condition. The confessional style of writing works so well for you!!!

    I found out that someone at my office reads my blog. Dang it. I had to immediately delete a few posts and soften some others. I'll miss bitchin' about it.

  17. This should be required reading at work.

  18. Anonymous12:51 PM

    "Don't be insane" - Man, if only more people in the workplace took this one to heart.
    Sorry you've got your own personal co-worker from hell.

  19. Anonymous4:03 PM


    I guess all offices/coworkers are about the same. Funny stuff. Number 4 is my fav. "don't be insane" LOL.

  20. Anonymous1:05 AM

    No mummification of the kidneys necessary, but you can give me your spare one if you want. ;)

    LOL @ the guy from Kentucky. I think I spoke to him on the phone at work today.