Workplace Humor – Things Never Heard in the Office

The Office

I feel the need for a little blast of office humor.  Here’s my list of things that have never been said in the workplace.  Enjoy!

I love it when you microwave leftover fish in the kitchenette.  The smell is divine!

Oh boy, a PowerPoint presentation!  I haven’t seen one of those in a while.

I get to have lunch every day.

After hours meetings are my favorite.

You don’t have to tell me what my raise is this year – I like surprises.

I really respect how you ignored my previously scheduled meetings and put yours out right on top of other people who can use Outlook correctly and were courteous.

My favorite part is when you read your PowerPoint slides to me because I can’t read.

There was no traffic when I came in today.

I love it when you send me material at 11:30pm and expect me to respond in a half an hour.

There’s no way we are going to blame the vendor for this mess.

My headcount/staff additions have all been approved.

I would bet my life on the technologies we use here at work.

My career is right on track.

I love the way you give developmental feedback.  It’s SO useful.

My two favorite times of the year are annual performance reviews and goal setting.

Information Security is VERY flexible.

I don’t mind changing that thing we agreed to eight months ago, now that we’re two days before launch.

I sure hope this web based learning has a comprehensive test at the end of it.

We will never have layoffs in this organization.

Your idea is much better than mine.

It’s a good thing we have highly competent leadership to get us through this.

You’ll have plenty of time built into the schedule.

Skype is my favorite consistent tool for having meetings.

Nothing motivates me more than having someone threaten my job.

Thank goodness for the dress code.

No, I don’t mind if this meeting runs over a half an hour or so…I wasn’t doing anything after this anyone.

I’m completely in the loop.

I love business travel…it never interferes with my private life.

No, 5:00am isn’t too early for me to meet.

I’ll buy my own office supplies.

I think all of the smokers huddled near the entrance is cute.

I wish the company would make me install more apps on my personal smart phone.

Our telephone technical support is awesome.

You can’t possibly over-document a process.

No, 192 slides in your presentation is not too many.

I have all of the information I need to get this done on time.

Pivot tables are fun on a bun.

I love it when you use Excel as a word processor.

We have too many vacation and holidays here.

Wow are you being flexible!

I was hoping you’d ask me to donate to your favorite charity/cause/event.

I could fly business class, but I thought it best to save the company money, so I opted for coach.

Strategic alliances always work out for the best.

My PC is too fast.  Can I get an older, slower model?

I wish I had the same carpet we have in the office at home.  It’s SO plush and hides stains well…

No one on our team is stressed.

I appreciate the offer of promotion, but I think it’s a little premature in my career, don’t you?

Wow look at all of the white board markers in this conference room.  And they all are new!

Oh boy, the annual budgeting process is starting!

I find that the wingdings font helps make things much clearer.

It is helpful that you have dived into the weeds.

I love that new acronym.  It makes my understanding complete.

I missed what you said because I was updating Facebook.

Do I have to take a holiday off?

I work best when I am given an unreasonable deadline and no resources to meet it.

I love it when company leadership adjusts our pension plan.

I am glad they give us so much time to attend training.

PowerPoint solves everything.

Moving the timeline up won’t cause any problems.  We can do it sooner with no issues.

I wish we could eat in the cafeteria after hours…it’s my favorite restaurant.

I cherish the moments I spend waiting for technical support to figure out who I am.

I could sure use more spam in my inbox.

I was thinking that this might be a good time to panic.

Oh boy…I get to change my password this afternoon!

You can just ignore the agenda.

Threatening my job inspires me to do better.

Could you micromanage me some more?  I find it helpful.

I want to take the time to read the entire document before asking any questions.

I can’t wait for the next reorganization.

If you stopped paying me, I would still come in and do the work.  This place is that awesome.

I wish they would move employee parking further away from the office.

Snowstorm days are my favorite days to come into the office.

I think I’m grossly overpaid for what I do.

We always accomplish a lot during lunch meetings.

Thank goodness you involved me early on this project.

This place would make an awesome movie.

Our bathrooms here are spotless.

I want to transfer to the mail room.

I have too much respect for our IT Department.  I brag to my friends about how great ours is.

I don’t mind that you interrupted me…your words are more important than mine.

Our company spends too much time worrying about the impact of decisions on the staff.

I’ve never had an issue getting my expenses reimbursed.

Open floorplans and shared workspace really boost productivity (and provide all the privacy I need).

You guys go home…I want to stay late and work on this.

It’s very convenient to work with people in other time zones.

You’re being way too flexible.  I work best with a lot of structure.

I attend these meetings because the lunch they provide is so tasty.

The best time of the day is the two hours I spend going each way to and from work.  It’s “me” time.

Raising your voice makes me believe you are more correct.

The problem is that the company communicates meaningful and useful information to us too often.

Our customers are far too patient.

Your kid is selling something at school?  Put me down for four of whatever it is.

Your PowerPoint presentation thrilled, motivated, and inspired me.

We need more rules to govern us.

This isn’t just a job, it is a career.

I’m going to take some personal time this afternoon to clean the kitchenette area and do the dishes there.

I want to hear more about how you are going to fix all of the problems in our department…after being here two weeks.

You have a good grasp of the big picture.

Could you use more technical phrases when you explain it to me?

Six point font is totally readable.

They would never lay me off or outsource my job.  I’m invaluable.

Nothing says lovin’ like mandatory learning!

Can everyone on the call stay off of mute? Feel free to put this conference call on hold if we are boring you.

I love it when your dog barks in the background.

Go ahead and finish your text message, what I was saying wasn’t important anyway.

That doctor/dentist’s appointment can wait.  I need to finish this spreadsheet.

SAP is pretty intuitive to implement.

I’d love to do a group photo for the company’s web page (or SharePoint site).

When I work at home I wear the same things as when I’m in the office.

Video calls are a blast.

Gosh darn it, my inbox is empty.

You can skip my raise this year.  Working here is reward enough for me.

Boy does the refrigerator in the kitchenette smell and look clean!

I hope we get to do a mandatory, after-hours team building event!

Don’t worry about the budget.  We trust you.

I like being triple-booked for meetings.  It means I’m popular.

Town hall meetings are a productive use of my time.

This is exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated college.

How early can I get into the office to start work?

The greatest joy I have in the week is filling out my timesheet.

Can you put me on a failing project?  I want a real challenge.

Can I have a copy of that poster in the breakroom?  I’d like to hang it up in my apartment.

Linkedin has improved my career measurably.

Your happiness is what motivates me.

That data analysis you prepared was dreamy.

It’s not a problem you showed up late for the meeting.  We looked forward to catching you up.

The new hires we get from colleges really fit into our culture well.

I’m comfortable with you being smarter than me.

Whatever you do, don’t prioritize my work.

Please, withhold more information that I need to do my job.

I wish I had the stamina to work longer days.

I am sure our leadership has considered all points of view.

Of course I’m comfortable with taking a demotion.  All that matters is that I get to work here with you.

One of the reasons I stay here are the great chachkis I have accumulated over the years…especially stress balls.

Open enrollment is fun.

I’d much rather take web-based learning rather than go to Vegas to attend a seminar.

The company spared no expense on the toilet paper they purchased.

Aw rats, it’s 5:00pm!  I have to leave work.

Free leftover cookies from the meeting?  No, I’d much rather pay for them.

I’m ignoring that fire alarm…work is more important.

Who farted in here?  Whew!

I live for the random changes in direction.

No, I’m not interested in your latest rumor that could impact my career.

No thanks, coffee makes me too nervous.

I don’t mind being called “Bloodsucking Overhead” in the least.

Our corporate logo brings me joy.

Go ahead and go over your allotted time.  Your incoherent rambling is far more important than the other speakers.

No, I don’t need a bio-break.  We’ve only been in the meeting non-stop for five hours.

You don’t need to spell it.  Ackaraspapu is a pretty common name.

We’ve had so much fun on this project, let’s get together tonight after hours and hang out.

Please keep your smart phone out.  Feel free to do texts during the meeting. I know you’re paying attention.

My favorite part is when you talked down to me.

I’ll use the broken chair.

I don’t think the profitability matters.

I DO care about your petty little opinion – very much so.

Usually one has to go to a McDonalds or Taco Bell to find someone of your management stature.

I’m sorry, can you repeat that?  I wasn’t paying attention because your presentation was so incredibly boring.

I was hoping I might be able to lay some of my people off.

All of the awards our company wins really makes me feel positive about how things are going.

Someone wrote ‘Don’t erase” on the whiteboard.  I’m sure that was just a joke.

Yes, a mandatory after hours dinner sounds like a lot of fun. I often fantasize about eating with m co-workers.

Isn’t that the same outfit you wore yesterday?

We don’t need to worry about backing up our data – hard drives hardly ever fail.

Mentioning your rank in our discussion impressed me.

I don’t mind you canceling the meeting I prepared for at the last possible moment.  My time has little value.

There’s no need for us to meet, I read all of the material you sent in advance.

I was going to have a meeting, but sent an email instead.

The time you spent busting my balls was very helpful and will resolve all of the problems you were complaining about.

I’m going to update my passwords now, before I get those useful and courteous reminder messages.

I feel safe and secure because our building security folks are top notch experts in their field.  They are practically ninjas.

I think the best time for us to get the team together to work through this is after hours on Friday.

Your inability to follow an agenda is respectful of everyone on the call.

No, my significant other doesn’t mind at all if we cancel our personal plans so I can attend this meeting.

You are correctly using the word, “crisis” to describe this situation.

We could get more done if you weren’t a maniacal egotistical douchebag.

Being on a technology pilot is how I define a good time.

This place can’t function without you and your keen insights and swift decision making.

What will solve this problem is a good graphic image.

I don’t mind moving my personal vacation plans to accommodate your pseudo-crisis.  It would be my pleasure.

I love our password policy.  Keeping the same password for more than two weeks is boring.

I think it’s great you joined the call late.  It reminds us all of how important you are.

I can’t believe your former employer let you go.  You’re a keeper!

Because it worked at your last company I’m sure it will work here too.

Our organizational chart is sleek.

I LIVE to take another company survey because they always take swift, positive and noticeable action based on the results.

I can hear you too clearly on Skype.

By all means, tell me how to do my job more efficiently

I would never say that about you to your face.

I don’t mind not getting lunch all week so that I can work.

I’m checking my emails on vacation because I want to.

I don’t need to write my name on my lunch…my coworkers would never steal it.

My bonus was too large.

You have a bizarre definition of the word, “Winning.”

No, we’re not top-heavy with senior management.

I don’t know how this organization functioned without your brilliant leadership.

I’ve found outsourcing the work improves the quality, speed, and saves money almost every time.

I like the way you panic.

Don’t worry about what charge code to use.

I have saved every one of the t-shirts I’ve ever received from the company.

Renaming a project/product always solves all of its problems.

When I’m on a business trip I always eat at the cheapest place I can find.

My spreadsheet printed right the first time.

I believe filling out a status report every week is some of my most productive time I spend at work.

I get depressed when my manager calls in sick or goes on vacation.

I can’t talk now, the new issue of the company newsletter just arrived in my inbox and I can’t wait to read it.

I’m eligible to retire but I think I’ll stay on because I love working here so much.

Look – someone left me extra office supplies on my desk.

If we had more senior leaders working on this issue we’d solve it faster.

Enjoy my little snarky attempt at humor?  Check out my book: Business Rules

Annual Performance Reviews – A Snarky Fix to an Age-Old Problem

Dwight
Over-preparing for an annual review…

Note: None of this is related to my current employer where everything is sunshine, roses, rainbows, Prozac, and unicorns.   I’m just offering perspective about organizations as a whole and my disdain for annual performance reviews in general.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

To say I loathe the annual performance review process used by most organizations would be a gross understatement.  Personally, I don’t like to talk about my career choices or reflect on my last year, even if that year was outstanding. My “career” (and I use that word loosely) is my business.  I have an Evil Plan and I’m not inclined to share it. Last year I critiqued the infamous bell curve The Dreaded Performance Review Season

Reviews have a sense of hopelessness about them.  They force you to take stock of the last 12 months and to obtain feedback on the last four weeks (which is usually the basis of the core of your rating).  In some organizations reviews are a burdensome administrative task that can fail to accomplish the intended goal of improving performance.  Instead they become exercises in statistic mathematics (fitting people to a bell curve) and focusing on the three things that an employee did wrong in a year, rather than the 300 things they did well.  I have yet to emerge from a review energized, inspired, and enthusiastic – and I get good ratings over the years.

Office2

So I started thinking about ways to make the process go by faster.  (Hey, if it can’t be motivating, at least we can get it over with – right?)  I thought a multiple choice/survey format that the employee could check off would expedite things in the discussion.  Now, I’m still tweaking this prototype – but I thought you’d enjoy my current working copy.  Feel free to share.

 

Annual Review Multiple Choice

 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

___Prison – for that whole, “Lone sniper on the roof of his place of employment” incident I’ve been covertly planning.

___Getting my hands on some fissionable material to finish a DYI project I have going in my basement.

___Wearing a “special” white coat with long sleeves that lace together in the back.

___Kicking back and retired on the income from my Nigerian Prince scam.

___Still waiting for Skype to connect my call from earlier today.

___Waiting in line for Star Wars XVI – The Last Sith

___Still searching for my long lost marbles.

___Trying to explain to my family why I wasn’t with them because I needed this job to pay the damned bills.

___In a shack in the forest, writing that manifesto I have been meaning to get to.

___In line at CVS to up my antidepressants.

___I see myself in a room, doing an annual review, making up another bullshit answer so that I can end this ordeal.

 

What are your career goals?

___Making sure someone else is framed for the crime or at least the guilty parties are identified.

___I’d like to be CEO.  Can you help make that happen?  If not, leave me alone.

___I’d settle for some cheesy title if you can’t actually promote me.  I’m quite fond of the title “Emperor” but you can call me ‘Sire.”

___To make the voices in my head go away or at least get down to a reasonable number.

___Four words:  Hand of the King.

___What is this “career” thing you are referring to?

___I am counting on the lottery or getting my own reality TV series about a guy working in a dysfunctional office.

___I don’t suppose “survival” is an option?  If so, I choose it.

 

How well do you work with your peers/colleagues?

___The fact they are still alive should tell you something.

___I like them.  When we are on a call together they make me look like the smartest person in the meeting.

___I strongly believe at least one of them will be featured on the news with one of their neighbors saying, “He was quiet – a loner…he seemed normal to me.”

___They are the best trained group of clowns to ever emerge from the same tiny car.

___Most seem stressed – but then again, underachievers usually are.

___Without them you wouldn’t need me.  (Think about it – you’ll eventually get it)

___I think enough of them to secretly post their resume’s on several leading job recruitment sites.

 

What do you think of your teammates?

___You will never meet a finer group of team members – outside of a prison basketball court.

___Great group of people…the kind you of team you see in Goodfellas or The Godfather.

___They can be counted on – for lunch and for making most of my meetings pointless.

___We are unified and cohesive on one thing, a common enemy, our manager. Oops!  Awkward…

___They can be consistently relied upon, to shuffle their workload to me.

___You will not meet a finer group of people outside of a chain gang.

___What I think my teammates says less about them and more about you and your interviewing standards and approaches.

___I hope at least two of them marry Cersi Lannister.

 

What kind of experiences can we give you to help your stretch and advance your career aspirations?

___Put my on a project that was not hopelessly doomed, horribly sponsored, technically impossible, or led by an escaped lunatic.

___How about putting me in charge of the whole shooting match?  I figure it will take three weeks…four tops, to straighten this all out.

___Please stop trying to help me by giving me more work.  If you stretch me more, I may snap.

___Something that is near completion, competently run, that I can claim credit for “leading.”

___I’ve been working with all of the responsibility and none of the power – how about we flip that for next year?

___Preferably something that requires travel to Hawaii, Europe, of Polynesia.

___I have been a patient in this asylum long enough, I’d like to be a guard for a while.

___None.  I just watch you as my manager and mentally note to do the opposite of what you do.

 

How do you feel about the feedback you received this year from your peers?

___I got feedback?  I thought we were still on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?”

___Apparently the bribe money was well spent.

___I’m sorry, we were supposed to read that before the review session?  I assure you I give that feedback all of the attention it is due.

___It is good to know that the people that gave me feedback are taking medication and drinking still.

___Those negative comments are totally deserved.  I was being a dick and want to assure you I will be a dick again in the future.

___There would have been more positive feedback if the system had allowed people to submit what they wrote in crayon.

___My response to the feedback begins with, “Those assholes started it!”  It goes downhill from there.

___I think the constructive (negative) feedback I received was because those people couldn’t find their ass with a flashlight and both hands.

___I am ashamed that these people who gave me feedback have that kind of time on their hands.  Makes you wonder about them, doesn’t it?

 

What kind of learning should we put in your annual plan?

___I was thinking of taking the Web Based Learning course, “Giving a damn – you can do it!”

___I don’t suppose I can convince you that basket-weaving is related to my job?

___Why bother, you will never give me the time to attend the course anyway?

___I believe a course in advanced cursing would be in order.

___I’ve tracked down an industry tradeshow for a week in Vegas.  Send me and I promise to make an effort to attend one of the sessions.

___Using Advanced PowerPoint Techniques, Graphics and Animations to Bedazzle Leaders 101

___Is there anything we have on substance abuse – a “how-to” kind of class?

___Really?  You’re going to give me the time to go to learning or the money to travel to it?  Don’t make me laugh.

___I don’t know – what did you take to get your job?  I’m sure only a short course will suffice to fill that gap.

 

What could you have done to have been more successful last year?

___”More successful?”  It sounds like you aren’t thankful for what you got there buddy.  You might want to work on that.

___Less leadership “support” and more common sense would have helped.

___While a bonus will not make me more successful, it can’t hurt matters.

___Suppressed my sense of humor and my snarky remarks during meetings.

___How about the ability to pick and choose the work I am assigned?

___I could have constructed a functional time machine to reverse your bad decisions.

___I have everything I need to be successful, at another company.  Thanks.

 

What can I do to make your job easier?

___Nothing.  Just keep those checks coming.

___Please, sweet Jesus, stop trying to help me.

___A limit of three random/psychotic changes of direction per month would be great.

___Tequila!

___Have you considered an extended vacation or taking a sabbatical? I recommend it.

___I have a list of people who need to “disappear,” if you catch my drift.  (Wink, wink)

___You can stop assigning me the workload of three full time staff.

___Before you make up deadlines, could you please purchase a calendar?

___Please have your boss remove their head from their ass.

 

What kind of feedback to you have for me as your manager?

___Keep on going – oblivious seems to work for you as well as me.

___I am impressed with you – well, that you find the office daily.  That I’m impressed with.

___What you don’t know won’t hurt you.

___Whatever you do, don’t look in the box under my desk.

___It’s adorable that you pretend to care.

___I don’t supposed you’d be willing to take a job with our competitors?

___You are PURE.  A Previously Undetected Recruiting Error.

___You don’t have stress but you ARE a carrier.

___I’m sorry, do I work for you?

___Like you care…

 

I think my multiple-choice approach streamlines the process – don’t you agree?

Hey, I wrote a pretty good book on cynicism at the office – Business Rules – The Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords  It is chocked full of bitterness about work…and extra vitamin goodness.

The Cynic’s Guide to Making Your Meetings Effective

EffectiveMeetngs-page-0
My snapshot of a typical week’s worth of meetings – totally scientific.  

I have spent the better part of my daytime career in meetings, and I am no better for it. If people were compensated by how effective their meetings are, most would be living in cardboard boxes or in a van down by the river.  Even worse, most people don’t seem to care that the way they run meetings sucks.

When I was at Ford, we determined that our division lost upwards of $50k a day on poorly run meetings.  We changed that with intensive training and some simple rules.  I have learned a few things along the way, so allow me to share (in my usual snarky way)…

  • Have an agenda. I recently got back to this.  You don’t have write War and Peace – just a line or two about what the meeting is about.  Are you driving for a decision?  Then state that.
  • Start and end on time. People eventually get the idea that you are being effective. I never start more than two minutes after the scheduled time.  Sorry dude, that’s just how I roll.  Either be there or not – but this train is rolling out of the station.  Starting and ending on time is showing respect to people.
  • Don’t stop to catch someone up. That just burns time.  If that person needs to know what they missed, talk to them one-on-one later.
  • If you don’t have the right people in the meeting – then kill the meeting. If someone says, “We really can’t do it without Joan’s input,” then say you’ll reschedule with Joan.  Corollary:  Invite the right people to the call to begin with.  Don’t invite the whole world.  Invite the minimum number of folks needed to meet the objectives of the call/meeting.
  • Don’t read your PowerPoint deck. It is hard to believe, but most of the people on the call attended school and can read (though sometimes that is questionable with senior leadership.) Your slides should reinforce what you have to say.  And the fewer slides, the better.
  • Document the decision or summary of the meeting. One sentence can do it.
  • Silence does not mean agreement. Whoever the idiot was that first said, “If you’re silent I assume you’re agreeing,” clearly doesn’t understand people.  Sometimes I am quiet because I can’t think of non-swear words to convey my shock and awe at the raw stupidity of what I have just been told.
  • Engage everyone. If you invited people to the call you must want to know what they think.  If they are being quiet, ask them what their perspective is.
  • Facilitate your meeting. There are some people who are just blowhards.  They babble on-and-on just to wear out everyone else.  Keep the meeting on point.  Feel free to time-box discussions.  “We’re going to allow 15 minutes for debate on this subject.”  Personally, I like cutting people off when they are on some rambling tangent – but I’m partially evil.
  • Acknowledge people’s contributions. “Thanks Stephanie – that was a good point you raised.”
  • Schedule your call for the smallest amount of time necessary. We’re all busy.  Don’t schedule an hour for something that should take 20 minutes just because you’re paranoid that Mary is going to pontificate her perspective.  Surprisingly you can get most things done in the time you allot if you run your meeting right.
  • If you check that phone one more time I will break your fingers. You’re not in the meeting to play with your phone.  Shut it off or stuff it in your pocket.

Most of this stuff falls into the category of, “common sense,” but let’s face it, that is a rare commodity in most offices.  Share this with the guiltier members in your team.  There’s a chance they will get a clue and even if they adopt two of these suggestions, you’re ahead of the game.

Want more snarky ideas for work?  Check out my book – Corporate Rules – The Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords.  

 

Coping with a Reorganization – A Quick Guide

dwight2
I think I can see the new org chart from here…

Over the decades I’ve become something of an expert on reorganizations.  One, I’ve been in information technology and IT departments LOVE to reorganize.  Sometimes it’s driven by the technologies, sometimes by geography, other times the whims of some madman in leadership who truly believes that the problems are rooted in the org structure (oh you silly leader!) I have a master’s in HR with an emphasis on org design, so I’m often the person that gets pulled in to offer counsel on organization structures.  I’m not saying they always listen to me, but I do get asked which makes me feel good.

Another thing that makes me a relative expert is that I have “survived” roughly 216 1/2 reorganizations in my illustrious career.  “Survived” is a relative term here.  Reorgs have provided me with countless new managers over the years, new career paths (none of which I asked for) and a plethora of angst, a mountain of anguish, insurmountable pain, numerous sleepless nights, and suffering that has left me with a strange facial tick.

Reorganizations are a part of life under the Corporate Overlords.  While painful and time consuming, it is often easier for them than actually fixing the problems their teams struggle with.  Rather than fix it – you make it someone else’s problem.  Issue resolved, right? It doesn’t matter where you work, reorgs are part of the DNA of organizations now.  They can create the illusion of progress while at the same time waste countless hours of productivity and torpedo morale. Even when they have positive outcomes, the process itself is inherently stressful.

As a war-weary correspondent from the reorg-front lines, I offer you the following do’s and don’ts.  I cannot say I always follow my own advice – I am merely human after all. In general, however I DO adhere to these concepts.

What to do:

You have to figure out what is driving the reorganization.  The biggest indicator of how a reorg may play out is the justification that is presented.  Why is this reorg happening in the first place? Is this a cost cutting effort or is the shuffle designed to streamline operations?  Understand that and you may get a good idea of what the future-state structure might look like or alleviate some fears you might have.

Focus on the behaviors you wish to project to the people making decisions.  The short version:  Do your job and do it well.  Nobody wants to be near Sister Stressy.

Support your people.  Yes, you are nervous.  Your team can sense that.  You need to keep them focused and as calm as possible.  You’ll be tempted to not talk about the reorg, but this is a time when you need to engage with your people more than ever.  Be an awesome manager.  Even if you have no idea what is happening, listen to your people and give them time to vent then relax.

Just because your manager is freaking out – doesn’t mean you should. When it comes to reorgs, there are people that are in-the-know, people who don’t know what’s happening, and those that think they are in-the-know and are wetting their beds at night in full panic-mode.  Your manager may have no idea what is going on, so don’t get caught up in their drama.

Tune out the rumors. Every little tension is magnified during a reorg.  People talk and, well, make things up.  Don’t play into the rumor-mill.  Rumors consume time, ratchet-up tension, and divert you from doing things you should be doing.  Better yet, kill the rumors entirely.

Listen.  Listen to your staff, your leaders, just listen.  You will learn more than you think if you simply pay attention and process what you hear.

Remain professional. Assuming you were professional when all of this started…stay the course.  Think about the kind of image you want to project and fake that…fake it hard.

Update your resume’.  This is more psychological than anything else.  It is 50% about being prepared, should the reorg go poorly for you.  The other 50% is that it IS something that you can do, something you have control over.  Take the time to update your CV.

Make sure your manager knows what kinds of opportunities you might be interested in. Reorgs are not all negative.  Many offer new possibilities, new roles, new departments.  Take the time to make sure your manager knows what skills you have and things to be on the lookout for, should opportunities present themselves.

Watch job openings.  This is a little trick of mine that works.  If a reorganization requires new positions, they will sometimes be posted before the formal org chart announcement is made.  I have found that monitoring the job postings for your company can give you some insights as to what might be going on.

Remember, unless they ask for it, no one cares about your little opinion.  Trust me, with my ego, I have an opinion on almost everything. That doesn’t mean I need to share those with leadership in hopes that it will guide their decisions.  In fact, it almost always plays out as a negative when you forced your opinions on them unsolicited.

Trust in what is real. Unless you hear about it officially, it is likely speculation and guesswork. If you get a real “official” org chart or message about the change, well, that’s real and pay attention to it.

Network with your friends to make sure they are not melting down.  This is a good time to be a good colleague.  Help your friends keep an even keel.

Keep in mind that this is not personal, it only impacts you that way.

 

What not to do:

Let the reorganization overpower your performance.  Fretting and wringing your hands is not helping.  Focus on your work, not letting your imagination crank-up your panic levels.

Draw unnecessary attention to yourself.  This is not the time to showboat or flaunt your successes.  It is also a good time to not screw something up.

Overreact.  Just like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says:  Don’t Panic. It upsets your staff when you curl up in a fetal position on a video conference call.  This is a time to remain level-headed and demonstrate that you have things under control.  Corollary to this:  Don’t whine.  No one likes the whiner.

Try to read between the lines in communications.  There’s no hidden clues.  I have watched people tear apart a communication about a reorg, attempting to see if there is some coded message that tells what leadership is thinking.  Trust me, your senior leaders are not smart enough to hide clever Easter Eggs in their emails to telegraph their intentions with a reorganization.

Try to force your way into the process.  “I’m going to call up so-and-so and let them know how I think this should be handled.”  Yeah, that’s a horrible idea.  Even if you have a legitimate reason to need to know the results of a reorg, the leaders often cringe when you try and force your way into the room.  A corollary to this:  Don’t demand anything from leadership.  Ultimatums are a definite no-no during a reorg.  You are in a position to demand nothing when it comes to a reorganization effort.

Turn on your colleagues.  We’ve all seen it before.  It’s the corporate equivalent of the film Gladiator when its reorg time.  Managers turn on each other in some bizarre thought that this is battle to the death, complete with Star Trek fight music for a background.  It’s not.  You don’ t make yourself more desirable by slamming your peers.  You only come across as a douchebag.

Change your personal plans.  “Maybe I should cancel my planned vacation.”  Here’s the deal, the reorg will happen if you are there or on the beach or in a hospital bed.  Often times there are delays etc., so trying to guess when exact word will come from on-high down about the results of a reorg is at best, an inexact science.

Try and get ahead of the reorg effort.  I had a manager who thought he understood what a looming reorg was and tried to beat it to the punch, restructuring our team according to his “vision.”  The result – he was wrong – and we ended up reorging twice as a result.  There’s only one thing that sucks more than one reorg…and that’s two reorgs.  Don’t be that guy/gal.

Job hop to avoid the change.  Unless you know for absolute assurance that you are going to be negatively impacted by a reorg, don’t try and jump ship.  Making a job change because of fear is a bad thing to do…if that is your prime motivator.  Not matter what assurances you may think exist, you could be taking on a new role only to get reorganized anyway…at that point lacking the experience in-job to help solidify your position.

Rewrite your job descriptions.  Some reorganizations are top-down driven.  They start with the senior leadership structure and work downward.  More rare reorgs are bottom-up, looking at what roles are needed and where at the grass roots level.  Rewriting your job descriptions to try and position your staff one way or another is often a waste of time, especially if the effort is top down.  Don’t try and beat the system here…it is often seen for what it is, cheating.

Gossip or guess.  Spreading potential misinformation can work against you if the wrong people find out.  Don’t be part of a chain.  Listen?  Yes.  Spread gossip?  No.

Hire non-essential people.  Hiring someone in and then telling them three weeks later that their job and reporting structure may be changing is just plain mean.  At minimum, anyone you’re hiring in needs to know that the department is being reorged so they can factor that into their decision.  Think of it this way – would you like to know the situation before you had to make a decision?  There you go.

Dig your heels in.  Resistance to change is natural, expected, fruitless, stressful and a waste of energy.  No single employee has ever successfully derailed a reorg effort, so trying is just frustrating for you.  There’s always a lot of reasons to not change, but that doesn’t mean that the change is going to stop.  The concept that you are mounting some sort of gallant resistance effort against the will of the Corporate Overlords plays well in your head and havoc with your career.  You will not wear down the will of the organization to bend to your way of thinking.  The sooner you try and adapt and demonstrate your willingness to accept change, the better things will be.

Now, if you need some chuckles during this entire process – I recommend the following links:

The Resume’ We All Wish We’d Written

Funny Job Titles

Humorous Org Structure

or you can check out my book – Business Rules – the Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords. 

 

Office Humor – The Resume’ We All Wish We’d Written

jimh
Best Employee Ever

I recently updated my resume’ for the 432nd time in my career.  I do it from time-to-time, just so that it is fresh.  I believe in being prepared at any moment for a new opportunity.

As I finished the task, I started thinking, wouldn’t it be funny to put together a “real world” resume’ that describes jobs as many of them really are?  It would have to be snarky and mostly agnostic to any industry or business.

This is the result.  This is pure fiction – not based at all on my real-world experiences or employers.  Stop trying to read into this – it’s just a bit of creative exercise on my part. It is designed not to slam any particular organization but to offer you all a chuckle or two while activating my humor-oriented brain cells…nothing more.

 Wild “Buck” Pardoe

1313 Mockingbird Lane
Hooterville, Virginia 20106
555-555-1212  (please ring twice, hang up, then call back)
Emails:  corporateoverlords@gmail.com
Sellingflowersontheexitramp@aol.com

Career Goals: 

A little late for that, don’t you think?  I’m 54 – the  USS Career Goals set sail a long time ago.  Let me worry about that shit – okay?  Just be thankful I’m applying.

Core Attributes:

  • A complete willingness to sell out my few battered remaining principles (not values) to remain gainfully employed.
  • A marginal and often offensive sense of humor which endears me to co-workers of the same ilk and makes me the bane of upper management.
  • An innate ability to detect workplace bullshit and point it out for others amusement and entertainment.
  • A solid understanding of the accounting principles behind and the current balance of my 401K account.

2001 – Present  Position:  Artful Dodger

In this capacity, per my manager, I was responsible for:

  • Getting my manager promoted at the expense of my own dwindling career aspirations.
  • Covering up senior leadership failures, shortcomings, and outright blunders.
  • Producing PowerPoint decks describing the work I wasn’t actually doing because I was busy producing PowerPoint slides.
  • Offer tacit, usually convincing agreement to any lame idea that management put forth.

In my role I successfully create the illusion of offering value to the organization, whilst maintaining a low enough profile to avoid the random waves of layoffs, rightsizings, redistribution of staff, staffing/operating model alterations, or other excuses to reduce the workforce. I was the survivor/victim of eight reorganizations, seven-ish indiscriminate managers forced to take me on, and 48 random changes in strategic direction – all of which I handled with the bare minimum of professionalism and above average cynicism.  The fact that I actually got work down during this period speaks well for my ability to tune out rhetoric/distractions and the strength and effectiveness of the medications that I am on for chronic depression.

I recently honed my leadership skills playing Call of Duty 4, which I treated as meeting the organization’s “required online training” annual goal.  I consumed copious amounts of caffeine and food stolen leftovers from office lunch meetings as my primary means of subsidence during the workday.  My teaming skills were best demonstrated during this period of my career when my Dungeons & Dragons party killed Vorloff, an ancient red dragon, which as you all know is no small feat for sixth level characters, especially a party that was short of a cleric.  I believe these skills carried me well at work as I often am called upon to slay ancient ridiculous ideas.

My competency in meeting attendance and generating the impression that I care about the subject matter is unparalleled.  I am often seen as contributing to the topic at hand when in reality I am often simply restating what someone else has already said.

In the last year along I was chucked under the bus on six projects for pointing out that the lack of sponsorship, leadership, and common sense.   As such I have gained new perspectives on scapegoating and deflecting blame which I believe is grooming me for future success. I have also learned the intricacies of bus transmission systems – so I have that going for me.

I work well under pressure, which is more of a survival tactic than a true business skill.  I have demonstrated an ability in forming teams of peers in cooperative/collaborative work groups; mostly so we can share our mutual misery and gripe about our lack of opportunities and personal growth.  We have formed a shadow-organization (we call ourselves the Legion of Doom) in our department, ensuring that information is shared between teams and that quality is maintained, mostly because the formal communication channels and leaders are so horribly broken, it was necessary.  We essentially are running the entire department under the radar or knowledge of management.  As such we are secretly “keeping the lights on” in our organization, despite the efforts of leadership to hamstring our efforts.  Our determination to keep things operating speaks to the fact that management has not yet fully shattered our souls, spirits, and dreams.  We call that, “Winning!”

Clearly I am one of the smartest individuals on most of the teams I work on but that is only in comparison to my peers and their general level of apathy.  Another perspective on this:  Our recruiting techniques leave a great deal to be desired. Being perceived as more intelligent than average has proven to be a strong asset and useful in preventing my career from advancing.

I have recently learned how to deflect my own personal failings onto others, which has streamlined project reporting by 46.8%.  I have also learned the importance of generating random data points (such as the percentage above) to create the impression that I have actually calculated things out precisely.   You bought it – right?

Delegating the majority of my work and a general cynical perspective is also a suite of activities that I openly embrace and have perfected.

My communications skills are on-par with anyone that has been wearing a straightjacket and confined to a padded cell (cubicle) for the last 15 years.  My power to lace my messages with ISA’s (Important Sounding Acronyms) creates a sense of comfort with many managers in the department.

I work on global teams meaning I’m expected to take meetings at bizarre, often inhuman times and smile while doing it.  I not only must interpret what others are saying in six different languages, but I have to fake caring for the same.

I bring this, “please don’t smother me in my sleep” attitude to your new opportunity!

1995-2001   Position: Target of Mid-Level Management Abuse

Assembled and led numerous teams composed of contributors with marginal interpersonal skills, weak communications competencies, non-existent leadership skills, questionable technical abilities, and incredibly (some astronomically) large egos.  Some individuals I teamed with were not only fugitives from the law of averages, but they lacked an understanding of basic physics or the ability to count above the number ten.  While I managed these interpersonal challenges, I also coordinated an abnormal number of budget cuts, weekly changing priorities, and scope-creep which was so monumental that it was deserving of some sort of award.

In this capacity, I also suffered the slings and arrows of leadership’s abuse for not delivering on time, despite all of the factors outlined above.  The fact that I am still alive today is testament to my recollection of where the bodies are buried.

In this role, I organized the confused; aligned the diverse; educated the ignorant; calmed the irrational; covered for the incompetent; baffled the leaders; exceeded the unreasonable; navigated the confusing; quelled a tempest-level-shitstorm of frustration; led the brain-damaged; diffused the frustrated;  and documented progress where it didn’t exist.  I am pleased to say I earned a solid three-out-of-five performance rating (Meets Expectations!) of which, I am exceedingly proud.  To say that this provided me with an exceeding amount of motivation would be an understatement.

I traveled on business trips to such exciting locales as Cleveland, Ohio in the winter and Newark, New Jersey in the summer.  While peers padded their frequent flyer and credit card point accounts I simply longed to return home.  I participated in numerous after-hours, mandatory teaming events.  These were highly useful in identifying the boot-lickers in the department and I became adept at pretending these events were “fun.”

While performing these duties my “teams” successfully implemented obsolete technology, marketing it as “bleeding edge” stuff to our end-users.  My willingness to subscribe to this blatant lie while totally selling out my professional principles clearly put me on the leadership path in my career. I have so adopted this lack-of-spine-state that I no longer can discern between reality and fiction…which has served me well over the years.  I also developed the competency of identifying both smoke and mirrors in other’s representations of their work.

Thank God I discovered social media during this stage of my life as it occupies a great deal of my thinking during the day.  I post under several different identities just to confuse our information security department.

Summary:   I saw this as my “deconstruction” years of my career.

1990-1995  Position:  Idealistic/Foolish Dreamer

When I started here, I cared. Then things changed, about an hour after employee orientation. Our organization’s motto should have been a clue:  “Give us six months and we will devour your mortal soul.”

In this role my responsibilities included, but were not limited to:  Attending meetings for which I had no idea why I was there; listening to my manager rant about how stupid her manager was; having my job change six times in the first two years for absolutely no reason; and watched as others who were not able to tie their own shoes were skyrocketed above me because of their skills at kissing ass.  This was an enlightening experience that prepared me for a mid-level management position…just enough authority to be dangerous, all of the responsibility, but none of the authority.

While lesser people might have packed their bags and quit, I developed a “Can-do!” attitude.  Once leadership took note of that I was appropriately disciplined and ordered to replace “Can-do!” with “Shut-the-fuck-up-and-suck-it-up!”  This completed my management orientation period and made me feel as if I had sold my soul for a bi-weekly paycheck.  I would feel guilty about it if not for the scars that I have earned.

I became a harvester of other people’s bad decisions, though in fairness, most of these decisions were simply dumped on my desk to resolve.  I innovated several reporting dashboards that upper management demands on a weekly basis but has not used actual data in the last two years.  I consider this part of my “innovation” skill-suite.

Hobbies and Interests:

I am currently am exploring taking up chronic alcoholism and am working to get my name on the Do Not Fly List so I no longer have to do business travel to exciting locations such as Newark, New Jersey or Cleveland, Ohio.  Several people recently have asked, “Are you smoking crack?” so I am also considering taking that up as well.

Based on a documentary I watched called Breaking Bad, I believe I might start up my own meth-lab.  It has to be safer than working in my current role – and potentially more rewarding.  If that doesn’t work, I hope to be the subject of a Netflix Documentary, “Workplace Shooter – the Buck Pardoe Story.”

Thanks to my career, I have become proficient at cutting myself; making shanks in my spare time; and taking up amateur tattooing.

I am also a semi-pro astronaut, a licensed walrus castrator, and a notary.

Willing to Relocate!

Humorous Work Horoscopes for February 2017

zodiac

I saw a funny horoscope online the other day and started thinking about how cool it would be to have a humorous horoscope of snarky one-liners that are quasi-business/work related.   Alright, “cool” probably isn’t the right word…please play along.

So, I have prepared a year’s worth and will be putting them out monthly (I hope). Here’s the first one for February – all set to be pinned to your cubicle wall.

page0001

It is likely that this horoscope is as accurate as any out there, and this one is designed to make you smile.

You can download the PDF from here if that is more to your liking:  february-calendar

Enjoy!  If you liked that, check out my book, Business Rules – the Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords