My Epic Retirement Farewell Letter – Snarky to the Bitter End!

 

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How I looked day one.  Where is that enthusiastic and dedicated go-getter?  I haven’t seen him in the mirror in a long time.

Disclaimer:  Just because I am being blunt, open, honest, snarky and forthright in this message does not mean I didn’t enjoy working here and that I forged great relationships.  I would be remiss (and a hypocrite) if I didn’t fully vet emotions and sometime painful memories that I have been forced to carry for years. For me, it’s the best way to move forward, shedding some of the agony I’ve experienced. Please consider this what it is, an emotional purge with a light twist of humor. Yes, this is my actual farewell letter. 

Tomorrow, October 15, is my last day at the firm as I move on to early retirement after 25 years of service.  Despite my looks, which I blame entirely on the firm, I am only 56 years old.  For the record I am not being let go, RIFed, outsourced, downsized, right-sized, rebadged, deliberately unassigned, co-sourced, shown the beach, laid-off, “being given a chance to pursue other opportunities,” career-parked, put on the island, assigned to “special projects,” or even paroled. I am retiring, early, in fact I have had an evil plan in the works for some time.  I tend to think of this as less as retirement and more as “pre-boarding.”  Don’t think of this as me fleeing the firm, think of this as I’m “owning my career.” As with most things in my life, I am doing it my way.  Torn between snarky humor and well-placed-parting shots.

I have read a number of these kinds of messages over the years.  Most are teary-eyed, “I’ll miss you all…it has been a privilege to work with you…” dribble.  If you are expecting such a sob-story message from me in some vain attempt to stir memories and emotions; it is time for you to take a drug test.  I can even think of a few people to hold the cup for you when you do (I actually have a list).  As I have done with my entire professional life; I refuse to conform to normalcy.  I AM a professional writer after all, which is synonymous with “delusional/narcissistic genius,” so strap yourself in for a wild few minutes of my crafted ramblings.  In preparing this message, I am reminded of Bilbo Baggins’ quote from the Fellowship of the Ring:  “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” That certainly sets the tone, so let’s saddle-up, take a stiff drink, put your feet up, and dive into my triumphant farewell email (soon to be a major motion picture!)

I never really planned on staying here for 25 years. This place is like that scene in the Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.”  When you want to stay, they try and find ways to get rid of you – and when you want to leave, they slap on an ankle tracking monitor and lock you in a digital equivalent of a Turkish prison.

Sadly, I barely remember actually having a job that I applied and interviewed for or wanted.  All of this talk of “owning my career” is pure horse crap; designed to absolve management of their responsibilities.  For the last 15 years I have been doing jobs that I have been slotted into, forced to take, while being told that I need to make the best of it.  Mobility?  That is a forlorn myth.  When you are good at something, they won’t let you leave, trust me on this. So now I AM owning my career with a full departure.  You have to admit, my solution is eloquent and oddly Shakespearian.

In case any weak-kneed, spineless, misshapen-sacks-of-oozing-pus-that-call-yourself-leaders believe they are somehow winning…that they are somehow driving me out, perish that thought. I’m going on my own accord.  This is on my terms, waging a struggle on a battlefield of my choosing, and I am the victor.  You did not win, you didn’t even manage a stalemate.  I walk away with my honor and dignity intact.  Though clearly with this message, I will have to revisit my definition of the word, ‘dignity.”

Of course I won’t actually be idle in retirement, I will be writing a lot more books, I’ve got some television stuff in the works, and I’ll be spending time on my game company and starting several podcasts.  I will not looking back at my time at here with any misty-eyed memories.  While I cherish my friends I have made here; and that is where it ends.

When I hired into the firm, the partner I worked for, on the first day, told me, “This is the peak of your career – working here.  Anything else you do in your career is downhill from here.” For the record, he got it 50% right.  I am proud of the work I have done, even though the last few years I have hated doing most of it. Ultimately, when you look back, that is all that really matters, your personal sense of pride. The firm certainly got its pound of flesh out of me. I have long maintained that we should have the tag line, “Give us three months, we will crush your mortal soul.” But I digress…

There’s a lot of things I will not be doing going forward. I will no longer have people questioning my private life or implying that because I’m a successful author that I am not giving the firm full attention.  I will not have to tolerate some manager saying that because I work from home, I’m somehow not putting in as much effort as anyone who is office-bound.  I will not have someone in leadership telling me that they are a better writer than I am and expecting me to take that in silence (only one of us is a New York Times bestseller – and it ain’t you!)  I will not have my aspirations held back because someone doesn’t like the fact that I am successful outside of work. (I was told once that I didn’t get as large of a raise as they could give me but it was, “…okay because you have income from outside of work that will offset the raise you didn’t get.”) I won’t be told that travel is impossible, while leaders gallivant across the globe with the sole purpose being padding their frequent flyer and hotel point accounts. I won’t have to watch people promoted only because of whose asses they kiss, rather than what they have accomplished. I won’t have petty backstabbing managers going behind my back and over my head because they lack the balls-that-God-gave-a-sand-flea to talk to me directly.  I will no longer have to tolerate passive-aggressive behavior that is considered a substitute for leadership. I won’t miss having to explain our business to people who know (and care) nothing about our end-user community.  I will no longer be forced under threat to take mandatory classes that have nothing to do with my job. I will no longer have to bite my tongue when some leader attempts, in vain, to impersonate Steve Jobs with a ponytail or a cheesy black turtleneck. The petty insecurities of even pettier managers will no longer cast doubt as to my worth, intelligence, dedication, loyalty, or commitment.  Note:  If you were at all offended by this paragraph, you are part of the problem.

Free at last!

Ah, the memories.  In my case these remembrances are a curse of sorts, a shadowy nagging reminder of what we once were as an organization and team. I remember when we cared about performance, rather than just getting positive feedback.  I can remember both dreading and missing roundtable sessions.  I remember when people were a priority, not an undesired commodity.  When we called people “talent” it depersonalized them.  Our people have become like gasoline. You need it for your car to run, but you don’t really care about where you get it from, just as long as it’s cheap.  I remember when people aspired for promotion rather than seeing each level as being a larger target on their backs. Alas, we did not recognize the good old days at the time because we were busy striving to be better.  All of that has been lost.  Now, work in our IT Department has become a matter of survival.

I won’t miss the Illuminati-ish budgeting process, moratoriums, firm-mandated learning, stinking-badges, travel bans (for people at my rank), firm-mandated fun/social events, trips to India or anything associated with Newark International Airport. I won’t miss trips to New Jersey regardless of mode of transportation.  I remember the suicide jumper at the Embassy Suites in Secaucus, leaping eight floors to his death in the middle of the breakfast bar, ruining breakfast for everyone other than the cop who was eating a donut he had lifted from the crime scene.  True story.  Proof that NJ cops are a sick bunch of bastards and that some people would rather die than stay another night in New Jersey. I get it.

I did some quick (highly inaccurate) calculations in regards to my so-called career.  I traveled to New Jersey roughly 53 times during my career at EY – arriving and departing on-time only twice through Newark International Airport. I went to Cleveland approximately 31 times – and oddly enough 90% of those were in the winter.  Why?  Because the firm hates me.  I went to New York around 14 times, spent three-and-a-half weeks in Dallas, and countless other little trips that tore me away from family and friends.

According to one model I created for this email; I produced a total of 51,874 PowerPoint slides in my 25 years here – and only five were read, and only two of those were actually understood.  That is less of a testament about my PowerPoint skills as the collective IQ’s and attention spans of those I was presenting to.  I sent a staggering 988,246-ish emails, not counting when I hit Reply-All just to cover my ass or to be one. There are entire days of my life spent responding to other people’s foolishness in email.

I have spent two and a half days of my career on the phone with tech support for something I didn’t do wrong, but because some IT manager put something into production that had not been properly tested. I have lost approximately 479 hours of my life because people cannot attend a meeting on time. It would be much easier to count the number of meetings with attendees that actually respected everyone and started when they were supposed to.

On at least five occasions I was forced to interrupt long-planned family vacations to take “important” conference calls that were not, most of which required me to lug around my work laptop as well. I have had a total of 32 managers in the course of my 25 years, often times having more than one manager at a time (which we all know is a delight.) Only one; John Russo, actually stood out as an excellent leader and motivator. For the rest of you, breathe somewhat easier – he’s the only person I’m mentioning by name.

Over nine days of my career were wasted group-editing messages for an audience that won’t or can’t read. I attended over 212 hours of learning in my career, only eight of which was something I actually asked for.  I have taken roughly 278 internal surveys over 25 years, none of which has resulted in any sort of measurable change. I have missed approximately 58 breakfasts, 426 lunches, and 26 dinners because I work in this place…all part of the firm’s covertly mandated weight loss program I suppose. I’m so thankful they cared!

I am estimating that I have had 17 job titles, the majority of which didn’t involve me actually changing jobs…just renaming what I did (I stopped ordering business cards six years ago).  Over the years I have spent more time being reorganized (66%) than I have being actually organized.  I have had my budgets reduced 17 times for a cumulative total of 142%.  I was forced to adopt four different firm tag-lines and three logos over the years, none of which changed my life in the least. I can remember charge codes I haven’t used in years, but struggle with my current Apple password. Which reminds me, I have had to know over 196 different passwords for work. You may claim I’m exaggerating, but you can’t fight the math.

I believe I am responsible for causing at least three ulcers and two panic attacks with senior leadership, though this is difficult to confirm (I may have only been a contributor.)  This last statistic is one I am relatively proud about, because, as one manager told me, “Ninety-five -percent of the time you are a great employee, but the rest of the time you are pure evil.” This monument to idiotic management techniques got the percentages totally wrong (grin).  When he got negative anonymous feedback, he spent an entire week trying to identify who had sent it, having me fly to NJ so that he could personally accuse me for over an hour for being the author of the piece. “I know it is you Blaine, it was well written!” I didn’t write it but he swore he’d get me back for it. While innocent at the time of the accusation, I wrote my own scathing piece about his lack of leadership that afternoon…I mean, if I’m going to be accused of it, I might as well actually do it.  Oddly enough, he managed a team of writers at the time. Calling him an utter moron insults morons everywhere.

When I joined the firm we did time and expenses on paper IBM forms and our email was MS Mail which required server reboots almost every day to stay operational.  There were days it would have been better to use tin cans and string to communicate (actually, compared to Skype, this may be a good viable alternative.)  I was here when Lotus Notes was considered bleeding edge technology – and when we replaced it as “archaic and outdated.”  I’ve seen TRAX, Bert, GFIS, and Mercury during my career and want to assure you, I will miss none of them once I leave.  I won’t miss failing Skype calls (“Can you see my screen yet?”), mind-numbing webcasts with seeded audiences and  questions, LEAP, LEAD, LEADS, Success Factors, reminders from Risk Management which read like they were written by Captain Obvious (Example:  Did you know that public intoxication could harm your career?”)  I will easily forget that warm cuddly feeling that any alert from Information Security carries with it. Information Security’s unspoken tagline: “Do what we say and no one gets hurt.” Catchy eh?

I oversaw seven technology conferences where I had to play the role of adult to crazy drunken IT professionals (a stretch on that last word.) As a result I have driven four of you to hospitals for injuries you received, had to break up three pool parties at Vero Beach (which included a 3am contest to jump bicycles into the pool, which I had to fish out, thank you!)  I had to explain to a tax partner why it was wrong to hold a strip poker party in his room with new hires. No, I’m not joking. I had to explain to one employee why dancing on the bar table wearing only his hot pepper boxers was a violation of firm policy (a perfect use/waste of my Master’s Degree in HR).  I have caught three people having affairs (no I will not provide names.)  This last factoid includes one man that brought his kid’s babysitter to the conference, leaving his wife at home with the kids…eww… The concept of any of you naked still makes my stomach pitch, don’t take it personal.  Thanks to all of these experiences, I generally refused to drink at firm functions.  In retirement, I will be drinking again to get catch up on lost time and attempt to purge those memories.

My last few years or so here have been concentrated on separating people from their careers.  I hated every moment of it. “Hate” doesn’t seem to do it justice, but there are no other phrases that seem to work short of “Soul-Crushing-Career-Fuc*ery.”  I will not miss Incremental Layoffs, Swift, Topaz, SWPI, DIPPI (Okay, I made that one up, but I bet you believed it),  Azorian (Google it), Gorilla, Diamond, RIF’s, “staff realignments,” rebadging exercises, location strategy, or anything that has some idiotic code name or acronym.  My biggest success was when I saved 25 of your jobs in one shot. True story. There were others I managed to save or had individual’s packages increased because of my behind-the-scene interventions.  I saved what jobs I could and never even got a pat on the back for it…in fact, I was painted as the bad guy for fighting those battles by lesser men and women. It didn’t matter – I had my triumphs and all it cost me was my own career aspirations.

I leave knowing that a lot of people will say, “I never knew what he really did in the first place.”  It is important for you to know that I am 100% comfortable with this.  I don’t care if you know; I know and that’s what matters.  Frankly, I have no idea what you do either.  We even have betting pools about you and what you do.  I don’t expect a statue in my name – it would sink into the swamps of New Jersey anyway.  Some folks will rejoice with my leaving while others will speculate as to what is really behind my departure.  I encourage you to make up some good stories and spread plenty of rumors attached to my leaving.  The only way I wish to be remembered is someone saying, “Boy, I wish Blaine had been on that call.  He would have said something snarky/funny about _______.”

My departure should be seen as an opportunity to all of you.  You have free will to blame anything that goes wrong the next three months on me. I will hold no ill-will to you, I would do the same if you had retired.  All I ask is that you attribute my name to BIG failures or issues.  Don’t squander my name and reputation on little things…save it for some big and awesome failure.  Just not Mercury please. I refuse to be a part of that f’ing disaster.  You can also use it positively, “If Blaine were here, this wouldn’t be nearly as screwed up.”  In other words, have some fun with my departure, use it to your advantage. I will not hold it against you.  In fact, you’re welcome!

I offer this unsolicited advice to those of you remaining here:

  • When you look at who the firm promotes, or hires from the outside; question whether you really want to be promoted yourself. “Do I want these people as peers?”  The correct answer is, “hell no!”
  • Don’t take what the firm does as personal.  It’s never personal.  The firm doesn’t have the time or the care to make it personal and in terms of priorities, you are WAY down near the bottom of the list.
  • The firm will always do whatever puts more money in the partner’s pockets.  They may lie about their motives, but this is the true underlying business driver for most initiatives.
  • Organizational Karma is a real thing…it just takes time. Revenge takes longer.
  • Always be suspicious when the firm says they are giving you something or doing something for you – like those holidays we were given this last year where they forced us to take vacation days.  (Yes, I am still bitter about this.) It is healthy to question leadership’s true motivations.
  • Don’t seek to validate your value to the organization in the eyes and minds of others.  If you are content with your performance and contributions, that is all that matters.
  • Owning your own career often means picking out which box to pack up your office when you are let go. Find your own path in and outside of the firm, don’t let the firm define you.
  • “Outside talent” is poorly named in most cases.
  • The traits you see and loathe in others, chances are they are inflicting the same BS on people in their private lives. You only have to deal with them for a few hours at a time. Suck it up, buttercup.
  • If you seek help with your career, get a mirror or put on your butt-kissing pants.
  • Words do not matter.  All that matters is actions.
  • Don’t pick idiotic code names for your projects or your teams.  Look at Mercury.  Named after the god of speed, it is 3+ years behind schedule and the system is slow as a snail.  I guess there is no Roman god for entropy…
  • Don’t be in the office on a day when layoffs happen.  It really is just a matter of time before something violent goes down. You can only stress people out so often before something snaps.
  • If someone has to guilt you into doing something, it isn’t worth doing in the first place.
  • Managing technology has nothing to do with the tech – it’s all about the people. Technologies come and go, but people always remain.
  • No one cares (other than you) about your past glories.  The organization doesn’t remember the times you saved their collective asses.  They don’t recall when you worked the long hours or what bits of your personal life you sacrificed for them.  They only remember last week when you were a minute late to their very important call.  You cannot change this organizational amnesia so don’t waste time trying.

The firm has changed a great deal over time. It does not value long term, older employees below the Director ranks…that has become abundantly clear.  “Seasoned” employees are a minority in our technology teams and have no voice here.  I have grown weary of walking into an office and having people stare at me because I am twice their age.  I loathe webcasts with live, staged audiences of only people in their 20’s, reminding me that I am an unrepresented minority in my own firm.  Even our internal branding site doesn’t have anyone over the age of 50 in images. I am through groaning every year when the promotion list comes out because people of my age group have been glossed over.  For all of its grandiose talk of supporting diversity, older (mid-rank) employees such as myself are discriminated against and made to feel unwanted by the very firm we have committed our careers to.  Bitter?  Just a tad, thank you for asking.

I leave knowing that the organization will endure long after my departure, or at least until my tell-all book about this place is published.  I cherish my writing career, where I DO have an impact on people, lives, and real-world justice. We all want to make an impact on the world around us. Working here will not give you that opportunity.  Work provides us with the money so we can go out and do that in the real world.  That is the best job satisfaction anyone can hope for. I will be spending my remaining years happily writing true crime, and science fiction.  In other words, I would rather deal with serial killers and imaginary people rather than some of the people at work.  Try and take that in the spirit it was intended (wink).

I will miss the things that make me laugh at work, and this place provided a lot of humor over the years. Humor has been the one thing that stood between my work day and being fitted for a straight-jacket (available in our company colors; yellow, black, white, and gray – complete with our logo!)  Fortunately this place has provided me a seemingly never-ending source of material to make me chuckle.  Emails about the dangers of touching goose shit in Alpharetta or a mouse/rat infestation in Secaucus provided me quite a bit of levity over the years.  Who can forget when BJ’s Warehouse came to the NJ office to talk about memberships and they sent out an email with the subject, “BJ’s in the office Tuesday!” I heard a lot of people made it into the office that day, only to be severely disappointed. One cannot make this kind of stuff up.

The only shame I feel about departing is that I am leaving good friends here.  Work isn’t about spreadsheets, deployments, or PowerPoint…it is about people.  I have worked with some of the absolute best and some utter idiots. The best, well, they know who they are and why they rock it out despite daily adversity.  On the flip-side, there are some folks I know that I am still puzzled how they put on their shoes each morning, let alone their toupees.  I even got one evil-incarnate boss terminated (She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named), which was horrible, delightful, and epic all at the same time…may she rot in hell for all eternity.  Sure it torpedoed my waning career hopes and she left me with PTSD (true story), but I would do it all over again.  There is something great about fighting the good fight for the right cause regardless of the personal and professional cost (no retribution my ass). The mental picture of her walk of shame to her car that last day still brings me joy. Sadly enough, in the last 15 years, her misery is one of the few things that made me truly happy. That’s what this place does to you, it corrupts your thinking.

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my opinion about employees/refugees that we have taken in from an unnamed banking institution (okay, it’s JP Morgan).  I remember when JP Morgan was not a curse word or a synonym for a human-shaped-sentient-enema mascaraing as an IT leader. There was a time when we weren’t the retirement home for JP Morgan’s mentally infirmed and emotionally crippled. We have consistently recruited from a company whose chief output was gross incompetency, egotistic rage, and an inability to organize a bowel movement – let alone run an IT team. You may think I am just venting here, but in reality, there is an overwhelming body of evidence to support my conclusions.  If anyone who is a JP Morgan veteran reads this and is offended, let me say, “Good, you deserve it!”  Rather than get pissed, why don’t you prove me wrong? I’ve been waiting for years for one of you to at least try. Pardon me if I don’t hold my breath.

I covered for a LOT of gross managerial incompetence over the years. I can’t count the times I have been deliberately lied to by several senior leaders, two of which were vice chairmen who assured me a directorship.  Thanks to them, while I am not a porcupine expert, I know a prick when I see one.  It is tempting to cite examples, but the list is long and less-than-glorious.  Some believe if you dress like Steve Jobs that makes you a visionary.  Others confuse recording videos for actually leading. For years, I sat back and allowed lesser men and women take credit for my work and use it to advance their own careers.  For God’s sake, we sent one portly director, who had been laid off, to Agile training in London the week prior before his departure!  At the same time, I was told I couldn’t travel for legitimate business needs because of severe travel budget constraints.

I took the honorable road, trotting upon the moral high-ground.  It was never easy and to this day I regret not punching two of them, and kicking one in the nut-sack, repeatedly.  Let me tell you, the moral high ground is a lonely place. I counted on the firm to recognize what it had in my skills and to reward it appropriately.  I told myself leaders would honor their commitments. In other words, I lied to myself.  I was not alone in that naiveté’; many of you did the same.  I assumed, over the years, that the firm would do the right thing.  For years I have been told I was a “High performer, high potential employee,” but was never even talked to when positions came available, even ones I applied for.

The machine of our IT Department is clearly flawed and broken.  We don’t even have a performance management system in place any longer and the role of counselor has been effectively neutered.  Bringing in outside vendors actually makes things worse, not better.  No one fights for the individual employees.  I tried, and this message is my final salvo in that slugfest. Locked, loaded, weapons-free and are hot…

I was an idealistic fool to have such lofty ideals of the organization; that the firm would recognize talent and promote it. I refused, up to my last day, to stoop to pandering and bootlicking to get ahead.  At least I walk away with a thin shred of my morals and dignity somewhat intact – though I’m sure this farewell message l has damaged a tiny bit of that. The difference is that I own this decision – this was my choice to hit send. It wasn’t my choice to be marginalized as a manager and employee.

When I go into offices where I should know people, I don’t see them.  We have lost the comradery and far too many of our friends and colleagues.  Our leaders have scared people into working at home, using “location strategy” as a weapon of fear.  It all has an impact.  We used to deliver complex technical solutions almost flawlessly.  Now we are years late, millions over budget, and when we do deliver, it is often a disappointment.  The sense of team has been lost – gutted by layoffs and tainted by a constant nagging fear which is the current foundation of our culture. Sadly I had a role in perpetuating this culture, and I hated every second of it. We cannot go backwards, but I sincerely hope that the leaders find a way to go forward that reignites that passion and sense of unity.  Not Borg-like unity though…that would be bad.

If at this point in this message you likely expect me to list out all of the great things of working here and why you should stay.  Clearly haven’t been paying attention.  Sorry to burst your precious little emotional bubble.  If I have offended anyone with this message, chances are it was intentional.  If these comments hit too close to home, well, perhaps you need to do a little self-reflection and personal adjustment.  You may say I am just a bitter person on the way out the door, and write off this message as angry ramblings of an ungrateful asshat.  I’m totally cool with that.  I am King of the Asshats.  I am confident that some of what I have written has hit home and rings true.  I believe that all it takes to change the world is one person who refuses to compromise their ideals and takes a stand.  My departure is my stand.  Let’s hope it ends up better than it did for Custer at the Little Big Horn.

If you want to stay in contact, you can follow my blog (blainepardoe.wordpress.com) or email me (bpardoe870@aol.com).  Facebook and twitter work as well.  My cell is 540-222-9805 and my home office is 540-937-9886.

I leave you with this, “And now my watch has ended…”

Mic drop…

Blaine Pardoe

PS. Should any of you opt for a rebuttal to this farewell message or offer a critique to my assessment, let me remind you that I have maintained adequate blackmail material from various Technology Conferences, emails, meetings, business trips, dinners, training events, etc, over the years.  My archive of photographic and documentary evidence alone should prevent you from saying too much negative about me.  My blog has close to 200k visitors to it each year and I’m not above naming names and providing examples once I leave.  Ponder this, as I hit the door, I have very little to lose and even less self-control when it comes to digital retribution. Moreover, I will have time on my hands to extract revenge…mwah ha ha ha.

Office Humor – The List of Things I’m Not Allowed to Do At Work – The Buck List

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Oh, its on like Donkey Kong…

Next week I retire (early – I can’t stress that enough) from working for the Corporate Overlords and dedicate my time to being a full-time author of true crime and science fiction. As such, I need to expend a lot of excess humor that has been building up for some time.

This list, named for my nickname, The Buck List, all started with the infamous “Skippy List.”  The Infamous Skippy List  I decided, like this heroic figure, I needed to keep a list of things I was prohibited from doing.  That was ten years ago.  So the list is, well, comprehensive.

These are things I’m banned from doing, or have learned I shouldn’t do, or things I shouldn’t say aloud.  Some I’ve done – some I’ve only contemplated, others I’ve witnessed and thought, “I’d better not try that shit.”

Fair warning, there may be duplicates.  After around number 400 or so they start to blur together.  Some are inside jokes…I make no apologies.  Most are generic enough for everyone to enjoy, especially IT folks.

Feel free to share with anyone you think needs a laugh.  After ten years, the list has grown pretty long, so there is enough there to tide you over for some time.  Enjoy!

THE BUCK LIST

  1. I do not have the authority to stop, start, kill or create any technological deployment. I should though.
  2. I cannot include ‘kill all the bastards’ or ‘they should be lynched’ as part of any change plan.
  3. Telling project managers that they are defying the laws of physics, while entirely accurate, is not permissible behavior.
  4. Sound effects during presentations is a frowned upon.   (You do one crash and explosion and the world comes down on you…)
  5. Referring to the good old days as the good old days is a no-no…in the eyes of the current “leaders.”
  6. I do not have the authority to change my career ladder into a career escalator.  Sidebar:  Stop referring to a “career basement.”
  7. My career ladder does not include being CIO, CEO, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, or Emperor of the Universe.
  8. Pretending I’m on mute and mocking the speaker is considered inappropriate.

8a.  Using the middle finder to tell someone that they are number one while on camera is considered inappropriate.

  1. Whispering “Remember, thou art mortal” in the ear of any of the leadership team during their presentation is banned.
  2. I am not allowed to change knowledge database entries to all read, “Reboot the server or PC,’ as step 1
  3. There is no “God of Change.”  Wearing a toga doth not make it so.
  4. Impersonating Captain Picard on conference calls with the UK is not as funny as I like to think.
  5. When asked, “How will you make that change?” an appropriate response does not involve attaching electrical hookups to body parts and ‘giving them a shock or two.’
  6. No one wants to hear about ‘reality.’  (Good to know!)
  7. Saying ‘I told you so, I told you so, I told you so — you realize I was right all along’ is considered repetitive.
  8. I am to cease using the phrase, ‘When I am king…’ at the start of my meetings.
  9. Supergluing everything down to the desktop in the hotelling office space is a no-no.  For the record in a typical office this is a 2.3 tubes of Superglue task – verified at Ford Motor Company, Truck Operations IT Department in 1992 by yours truly.
  10. Using someone else’s Skype account to send funny messages to the rest of the department is considered a no-no.  Even if they forgot to secure their PC properly which technically IS a violation of security standards.  Still a no-no.
  11. Replacing the items in the supply cabinet with items found in the parking lot is not acceptable behavior.  This bad behavior has caused the New Jersey people to lose their cabinet space.  Repercussions Blaine, repercussions.
  12. Putting up police caution tape to turn the atrium elevator into my own personal lift is not permitted.
  13. Using sock puppets in lieu of PowerPoint is a banned activity.  Especially if the puppets are made to represent members of the leadership team…and done with their voices/accents.
  14. I do not have the authority to reorganize IT Services in my own image.
  15. Drawing pentagrams in the office atrium is not allowed.
  16. Putting up a sticky note in the cafeteria in front of the daily special on Sushi day that says, “That’s not fish…” isn’t as funny I liked to believe.  (I totally did this!)
  17. When your boss says he likes a “tuna roll” you should imply that it is a sexual phrase.  Funny yes, just not to him.
  18. Secretly altering the specifications for any application is a no-no.
  19. Playing the theme from Hogan’s Heroes in the background when you have a conference call with German staff is verboten.
  20. Insisting on changing your ID badge with a new photograph on each visit only serves to frustrate the security staff (which it was INTENDED TO DO.)
  21. When in New Jersey, I am not allowed to ask someone from Facilities to assist in creating an ID badge before 9am.  Even if you have a meeting you need to attend and the person is sitting at their desk doing nothing.  Do Not ASK.
  22. Rewaving your machine weekly does not make it run faster – it simply drives the support staff crazy.
  23. Selling firm-owned laser printers on eBay is not permitted.
  24. Labeling people’s personal possessions at work as “Basura” is in poor taste on at least two levels.
  25. I do not have the right to auction off Director’s parking places – even when they don’t use them.
  26. Replacing the road signs around the office is dangerous despite being funny.
  27. “Uh uh” is not valid rebuttal to a suggestion to change the plan.
  28. Light yellow font color on a white background, while technically branding compliant, is not appropriate.
  29. Just because you can make things a six point font does not mean that you should.
  30. I am not authorized to change the operating model of IT to make life easier for me.
  31. My SecurID Fob is not a piece of jewelry.  Definitely not an earring. (For one week I wore mine as a necklace. No one said anything.)
  32. The dress code apparently applies when you are working at home…and using video conferencing.
  33. Planning a coup de tat is not an accepted firm team building event.
  34. I will stop reminding the German staff we kicked their ass in the war.
  35. I will stop reminding the British that if it wasn’t for us, they would have gotten their ass kicked in the war. (See, equal abuse on both sides guys!)
  36. No one fully appreciates my impersonations in meetings or on conference calls.  Especially my impersonations of the leadership team.
  37. I am not allowed to perform Shakespeare in meetings to make a point. (Which I did!)
  38. Referring to the new college hires as “Snot Nosed College Pukes” is not a motivator for them – despite being accurate.
  39. My annual goals list is not supposed to be, “a work of creative fiction.”
  40. Reserving numerous meeting rooms I have no intention of using angers the locals.
  41. Booting someone out of their conference room by claiming I already have it booked (when I don’t) is only funny to me.
  42. Photographs of butt tattoos should not be submitted to be made branding compliant.
  43. I do not have a fireworks permit for NJ.  Even if I did, it doesn’t apply indoors.  Corollary:  Setting off fireworks in the men’s room is a less-than-acceptable response to all of the stalls being used.
  44. I am not allowed to operate my own personal company branding website.
  45. I may not change the firm’s tagline to “Quality in Whatever We Damn Well Say!”
  46. Or “Do what we say and you won’t get hurt.”
  47. Putting up fake tombstones in the office with the words, ‘People First” on them is not an acceptable behavior or Halloween decoration.
  48. I am not allowed to add or edit Values to the Firm’s Values List.
  49. Discussing politics at work purely to get people angry and upset is discouraged.
  50. Referring to leadership as “Drooling morons,” however accurate, is not allowed.  Nor is putting up posters that say the same thing.
  51. Erasing the phrase “Do Not Erase” from whiteboards in conference rooms on your way out of the building is a no-no.
  52. My change plan cannot have a workstream called “Fire the SOB’s!”
  53. I may not ask for a “Fortress of Solitude” as part of the workplace of the future.  Corollary:  I do not have permission to build my own Fortress of Solitude in any office.  Nor may I requisition parts for one.  I’m not even allowed to build a pillow fort.
  54. I will stop bringing up the need for jetpacks and flying cars as part of the workplace of the future.
  55. I will stop pointed out that the workplace of the future is just a scam to get us to work from home – something that was discouraged only a few years ago.
  56. Submitting requests in Service Now to decommission active applications is not an acceptable test of our processes – especially when it happens.
  57. Putting Out of Order signs on all of the restrooms in Secaucus is not appropriate social behavior.
  58. Attempting to organize a sing-along in the men’s room while conducting my personal business is a no-no.
  59. I will not use the word, “cute” to describe significant leadership-driven initiatives.  I will also not say things like, “It’s cute that you think it works that way…” or “How cute that you believe that…”  My definition of cute and the rest of the organizations is markedly different.
  60. I will stop maintaining a database of leadership incompetency’s – and stop posting graphs produced with said data.
  61. “Change management” does not imply that I have the authority to order someone to change their attitudes, personalities, or dispositions.  Putting it in a change plan is also not permitted.
  62. I am not allowed to write my annual goals in Klingon – or Romulan.  (Personally I think they lose something when translated to English, but that’s just me.)
  63. Just because someone chuckles, that does not mean what I said was correct/legal/appropriate.
  64. “Because I’m smarter than everyone else in the room,” is not a solid, tangible, business justification…despite being true.
  65. “You may be right, but that would be a first.” does not garner teaming. Yes, I did this.
  66. I will not explain how a deployment defies the laws of physics on a whiteboard.  I will also not label the diagram as, “Why your stupid deployment defies the laws of physics.”
  67. No one is amused when I say, “Our employees can’t read.”
  68. I will not use any non-American accents when responding to questions by staff in other countries.
  69. A change network does not have its own logo and theme music.
  70. “Armed enforcement squads,” are not a known change lever.
  71. Running to snitch on someone with the CIO is not demonstrating leadership.
  72. Dismantling a chair and Fed-exing the parts back to my home for reassembly is not a good use of my time.  It does, however, prove our mail room will package and ship just about anything. (I actually had this planned out at one point in time.)
  73. Building a fort out of office furnishings just outside of the cafeteria is not a team building event. Entrenching is also discouraged. “But think of the lives I’d be saving” is not a valid excuse.
  74. Just because the supply cabinet door is open, it is not an invitation to rearrange the items to confuse my colleagues.
  75. I will not record and play my own music for the background of conference calls.  Also sound effects are also banned.
  76. Whoopie cushions in the guest waiting area at reception, while funny, is to be admonished.
  77. Resetting the heights of every chair in the office at night is in poor taste. (I did the entire 4th floor two days in a row.)
  78. Bringing my own toilet paper with me to the restroom, while more comforting, is considered inappropriate and unfair to the other poor souls who use that single-ply, double-grit material passed off as toilet paper.
  79. Installing my own vending machines, especially those in the bathroom, is prohibited.
  80. Asking for definitions, then snickering, is disrespectful (allegedly).
  81. A “Blue on Green Attack” is not a change strategy.
  82. Altering the daily lunch special sign with the words “Cat” or “Soylent Green” outside the cafeteria is not permitted.
  83. “I’m sorry you believe that,” is not the same as an apology.  Nor is, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or, “I’m sorry your sense of reality is so out of alignment.”  (For the record, they all start with, “I’m sorry…”)
  84. I cannot have an annual goal to “Kill the senior leadership and assume control of the organization.”
  85. I need to stop suggesting that a time machine is the best solution to our many issues.
  86. When someone makes a mistake I should not point out that in feudal Japan, they would have killed themselves to preserve honor.
  87. I do not have the authority to form an Away Team.
  88. Yelling, “Set phasers on kill!” does not end the debate.
  89. I am not allowed to formulate my own resourcing strategy.
  90. I cannot institute a dress code for IT Services based on the classic Star Trek TV series.  Nor can I designate the cloud engineering team as, “The Red Shirts”
  91. The CIO is not “The Head Weenie” nor “Queen of the Weenies”
  92. I will not assign myself or my colleagues call-signs ala Top Gun.   I am not “Stud-Muffin” nor is my manager “Chrome-Dome”
  93. My office is not to be referred to as “The bridge” or “The CIC.”
  94. There is no job description for “Self-Appointed Morale Officer” that the firm considers valid.
  95. Quoting Star Trek, while perfectly relevant, is lost on those that don’t watch the series.
  96. I will stop telling people I’m clairvoyant.
  97. Other people in the room are slightly insulted when I say things like, “I’m not smart, I just look that why compared with my peers.”
  98. Putting out of order signs on all of the vending machines as a form of protest irritates the locals.
  99. I will stop referring to the staff in Secaucus as ‘The locals.”  I will also stop calling them, “My Merry Men.”

107a.    I will stop referring to the Secaucus office as ‘the swamps of NJ’ even though it is in a Bruce Springsteen song.

  1. The Cleveland office staff does not like being referred to as, “The Mistake On the Lake”
  2. I need to stop referring to the senor leaders as ‘Our Mensa Society Chapter.”  I can only assume the Mensa people were offended…
  3. I will stop requisitioning hardware to build my own working model of the Death Star.
  4. “Basura” is only supposed to be labeled on trash – not everything in someone’s office (who knew?)  A Corollary rule:  Just because you have access to two pads of sticky notes and a pen does not mean you need to use them labeling things in people’s offices.
  5. The mail room is not my personal valet service.  For the record, they’re not good at it anyway.
  6. No one has commissioned me to see how many pages the printer can print before jamming.  Such experiments on hardware are not permitted.
  7. Replacing the dry erase markers with Sharpees is prohibited.
  8. Stocking conference rooms with only dried out dry erase markers is cruel and unusual.
  9. Chair Racing is not an office Olympic Event.  In fact, there are NO Office Olympics.  That includes the stapler toss, the 50 yard office streaking competition, or “the number of people we can fit into this JIT,” event.
  10. I do not have the power to choke people like Darth Vadar and should stop going through the gestures during meetings where I disagree with the speaker.  I should also not say, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
  11. Random numbers a charge code doth not make.
  12. When ordering office supplies, “one of each” is not an acceptable order.
  13. The Staples catalog is the only accepted source for ordering supplies.  Government auctions, eBay, and army surplus stores are not considered firm-related suppliers
  14. Calling the INS to the office to scare the cleaning staff is in poor taste and potentially illegal.
  15. Posting employees resume’s on Monster.comin hopes they will get an offer and leave is tacky.  Writing up their resume’s in the first place is ‘presumptive.’
  16. Voodoo dolls of the staff are not permitted in the workplace.  Nor am I to be selling them on ESTY.
  17. The “workplace of the future” does not include waterboarding.
  18. I do not have the authority to execute my own fire drill by pulling the fire alarm.
  19. I will not pay people to pull the fire alarm so that I can get off of a boring conference call.
  20. I will not say, “Roger” every time someone speaks to me on a conference call.
  21. I do not have permission to conduct my own psychological experiments on the staff in Secaucus (or any other office) even if they are ‘in the name of science.’
  22. I may not attach my own cables/locks to people’s PC’s while they are at lunch without their permission.
  23. Doing mime impersonations from a JIT to those that walk by is not helping my career.
  24. Doing my daily run in the office because it is raining outside is not permitted – even though Crazy Jane did it.
  25. Beans + slow-moving-elevator = a combination I’m not allowed to make.
  26. Setting up my own toy donation box at Christmas in the cafeteria is in poor taste and potentially illegal.
  27. When traveling to NJ, I will not paint my face to match that of Mel Gibson during Braveheart.
  28. I will stop trying to convince my Italian co-workers that Olive Garden is Italian Food. Paul actually threatened me once when I did this.
  29. I will stop referring to my Italian co-workers as “Snooki” …especially the men…especially Paul.
  30. Bringing and tuning my bagpipes in the office is not an effective use of my time – nor is there a charge code for that. True story…
  31. There is no “bring a homeless person to work” day in the firm.
  32. Submitting our office to “Flip this House” was not appropriate.
  33. Just because I own the right set of tools for dismantling and reassembling cubicles, does not mean that I have the authority to do so.
  34. If I’m going to check my iPad for personal mail, watch a movie, or play a game – it is best to not do so on a video conference call.
  35. Nap time ended in kindergarten.
  36. Peanut butter or Vaseline and the earpiece of a telephone are not a combination I’m allowed to make.  (I might add that this is very humorous in a shared hotelling office).
  37. Calling my peers “terrorists” is wrong.  Giving their names to Homeland Security is too.
  38. I will not refer to my manager as ‘el Gringo’  ‘el Gringo’ is not Spanish for ‘The balding man.”
  39. My UK colleagues don’t like to be called, “a bunch of wankers” especially when I do it with a cockney accent.
  40. I will stop using the phrase, “my alleged peers…”
  41. I have not, nor will I ever, be in line to be “Lord-God King and Sovereign of the firm.”  I am also not allowed to use this in my signature block to, ‘test it out.’
  42. I may not invite organizations to take part in EY Connect Day.
  43. I may not wear a kilt in the office as part of dress attire.  I must further not wear the traditional undergarment (nothing), and, to drive this point home, I am not allowed to cross my legs while wearing a kilt.
  44. Asking any director what their IQ is, is inappropriate.   So is asking, “Really?!” when they provide an answer.  Also banned, “No Way!”  and “Wow did I lose that bet!” Corollary:  Organizing a betting pool and collecting money on ‘how long you think this person will last’ is not chargeable time and negatively impacts my utilization.
  1. I do not have signature authority for the eight foot sub sandwich for Subway.
  2. Underwear is not a miscellaneous expense.  I cannot claim it as a business expense because, “When I heard the plan it scared the shit out of me.”  Corollary:  The employees who process my expense reports are not amused with my sense of humor.  Additional Corollary:  I do not get points for creativity on my travel expense report nor does this qualify as an annual goal.
  3. Hanging a picture of me at the beach in front of the camera during a video conference call apparently demonstrates a lack of respect. For the record, it took two weeks before someone figured it out.
  4. I will stop accusing the network engineers of running porn sites on our servers.
  5. Information Security does not have a sense of humor and I should stop looking to try and find it.
  6. I will stop referring to my time with the government as, “When I worked for “The Agency”” This is so true…I was asked just a month ago if it was true that I worked for the CIA before the firm. “I can’t discuss my former employment…” is a great counter to this question.
  7. Sporks are not playthings – they are especially not catapults for things I grabbed at the salad bar.
  8. I am not in charge of creating new acronyms at work.
  9. The looting of office supplies is to be done with some degree of discretion.  Posts describing the thefts to Facebook and Twitter are not discreet.
  10. I will not attempt to use the Jedi mind-trick to get out of work assignments.  “This is not the change manager you are looking for…”
  11. No one in the office is “Part of the rebel alliance.”  There are, however, stormtroopers.
  12. The Europeans do not understand the North American Redneck…so any such references are to be terminated from my vocabulary – ya’all.
  13. A PIP is not the same thing as a PIMP.
  14. Releasing wild animals in the atrium is banned.
  15. New Jersey is not, “one of the known gateways to hell.”   Nor is Cleveland.
  16. Stop telling Applications Engineering that, “You guys put the W in Quality.”  They will never understand that joke.
  17. Leaving suspicious packages in the cafeteria and atrium is inappropriate.
  18. I am not Superman and should not wear a cape at work…despite the fact that it is stylish.  This includes my own homemade capes made from Hyatt bath towels.
  19. The Eastern Europeans are not “gypsies out to steal your children!”
  20. “Being technically brain dead,” is not a hiring qualification. (I still contend it moves you higher on the promotion list.)
  21. I will stop offering to loan my spine to managers who can’t commit or make up their minds.  Apparently one of them actually got the joke.  (I know, it shocked me too!)
  22. The New Jersey staff do not like me referring to Atlanta as, ‘the new center of the IT universe.”
  23. There is no charge code for updating my Facebook status and I should stop asking for it.
  24. Hazing is not part of employee orientation.
  25. I will not purposely steal people’s waiting car service vehicles to get to the airport.  For the record, the first time I did this it was an “accident.”
  26. The correct answer is “Yes, I did pack my bags myself.”   TSA people are not trained to identify when someone is joking.
  27. Responding to emails in Pig Latin is otna lowedna.
  28. I was not on the grassy knoll the day Kennedy was shot and should stop claiming I was.
  29. Having a nightmare about work does not allow me to bill that time against a charge code.
  30. “One shot, one kill,” is not a good response to how I would suggest fixing the problem.
  31. The desk staff at the Embassy Suites do not like it when you mention the suicide/jumper there.  The staff working at the food court hate it more since that’s where he hit.
  32. An “End-User Journey” is not us pushing them down a flight of stairs.
  33. “Serial Arsonist” is not an end point on my career ladder.
  34. I will not refer to the TSA screeners at Newark Airport as, “Barney and Andy.”  Apparently they don’t find this humorous.
  35. I am not allowed to dig a tunnel under the wire.
  36. It is not my job to test the security of the firm’s network.
  37. “I told you so!” does not foster teaming.
  38. There is no “Thunder Cloud,” “Rain-Cloud,” or “Hail-Cloud.”  There’s only THE Cloud.  All hail The Cloud.
  39. All references to “Hitler” or “Mussolini are prohibited on employee morale calls.
  40. I will stop smiling when the news is bad.
  41. I will stop laughing when the news is REALLY bad.
  42. When in the x-ray machine at the airport, with my hands over my head, I will not shake my hips like a male stripper.  Again, TSA has no sense of humor.
  43. I’m not authorized to hold my own beauty pageants at work. Corollary:  No one shows up to see the swimsuit competition – go figure.  Hats off the Paul for winning last year! Way to sport that Speedo.
  44. I will stop referring to the organization chart as “A rough guideline.”
  45. The people who attend technology fairs are not “technology fairies”
  46. When someone says, “I expect more from you Blaine,” the correct response is not, “Welcome to the party pal.”
  47. I will stop asserting that employee policy can violate the laws of physics.
  48. I will no longer invite random people to instant meetings – nor graph their responses.
  49. Firm security does not have a policy that allows me to create my own ciphers and codes for emails.
  50. I am not allowed to declare random hard stops to meetings. (Example:  “I have a 1:23pm hard stop.”)
  51. When I ask obvious questions I need to be aware that someone on the call is being mocked (by me).
  52. Bringing in “Danger Radiation” caution tape to the office and using it on the doors to the server rooms impedes productivity.
  53. No one is amused with my chalk outlines of dead bodies on the carpet.
  54. The cleaning staff is not employed to be a source of amusement for me.
  55. Relocating someone one cubicle to the right after hours is a no-no.
  56. Calling in a bomb threat to give the office a break is not a wise move – and the Department of Homeland Security is not amused.
  57. The summer interns are not “lambs for the slaughter.”
  58. I am not to take calls while in the bathroom.  Likewise I am not to tell people where I’m taking the call from.
  59. I will not use my connections to have people from work added to the Do Not Fly list right before their vacation.
  60. I do not have a budget in my non-official role of Chief Morale Officer.
  61. I will not sponsor a contest of “Things that rhyme with JIT.”
  62. I will stop calling the Secaucus Office “The Swamp”
  63. I will stop pretending that my phone is on mute to cover for me saying bad things about the people on the call.  (I will NOT apologize for it however).
  64. I did not “summon” Hurricane Sandy to destroy New York and New Jersey.
  65. “Alchemy” is not the answer to a deployment-related problem.
  66. IT Services does not create the Blue Screen of Death to keep our Techs employed.
  67. I will not stencil “Reserved” on parking spaces at random in the employee lot just so I have a place to park.
  68. There is no charge code for a Starbucks run.
  69. I am not “The Encryption Officer,” and no such role exists in IT Services.
  70. The London team is not to be referred to as the “Lords and Ladies.”  Nor is their leader to be called, “Your Lordship.” or ‘The Court Jester’  (In fairness, I was being sarcastic…)
  71. I am not permitted to build or name my own Cloud.
  72. When posed with the question, “What you are working on?” an inappropriate answer is, “Calculating the amount of explosives needed to take down the Jersey office building.”
  73. When filling out the Green Building Survey, I will not respond to the question, “How many miles did you drive into the office today?” with “None, I can fly.”
  74. There is no contest to the amount of office supplies I can steal and stuff into my backpack.  There are also no prizes for this (beyond the stuff in my backpack).
  75. When asked by a partner if I think it’s appropriate to bring a Pepsi product when we have Coke as a major client; the proper response is not:  “You can have my Diet Mountain Dew when you can peel my cold dead fingers from around the can.”  Also not acceptable is the shortened version, “Fuck off.”
  76. I will not use rolled or lose coins smaller than quarters to pay for my McLean parking for the day.  The parking staff and the people behind me do not find it entertaining.
  77. I will not loudly moan erotically when getting my free flu shot at the office.
  78. The Enterprise Plan was not drawn up on a placemat at IHOP and I should stop telling people that.
  79. I will not refer to parking lot flooding at the NJ office as “Lake McCreadie,” or “Lake Osborn” Both of them lack a sense of humor.
  80. There is no contest as to how much abuse I can inflict on a rental car – even a Chrysler.
  81. I am not authorized to put up my own signage – especially if it is funny.
  82. Asking the security people “How would you handle a bomb threat?” is inappropriate and I do not technically have need of that information.  These folks like a sense of humor almost as much as the TSA.
  83. Pointing out that the technology everyone is counting on currently doesn’t exist, only serves to piss leaders off.
  84. The project timeline is a not a “crazy-ass guess.”  Keeping track of how many times the project deadline has been changes is only entertaining to those in the US
  85. Laughing at stupid ideas is not considered to be people-friendly, no matter how much the chuckling is deserved.
  86. Having firearms hanging up on display behind me during video conference calls is intimidating to some, frightening to others.  My LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon) is a bit over the top. (True story)
  87. I am not a Ninja (but I may have Ninja-like abilities.)
  88. No software deployment can cause a rift in the space-time continuum.
  89. I will stop referring to “The Cloud” as if it were a person.  Example: “I wonder what the Cloud thinks about this timing?”
  90. I “ain’t no hollar back girl.”
  91. I will stop calling our IT strategy, “Whack-A-Mole.”
  92. The Dependency Report has nothing to do with drugs.
  93. There is no IT Services Fundraising Committee nor am I allowed to sponsor bake sales, cake walks, or other revenue generating activities using the committee’s name.
  94. Planting marijuana in the flower beds in the Secaucus office atrium is mostly illegal.  In fact, planting anything in the atrium is prohibited.  So is putting up scarecrows.  Write it down.
  95. I need to start talking about my “career.”  It’s a fictional character at best.
  96. I will not steal Cushman Carts at Newark International Airport.  In my defense, the airline shouldn’t have changed the gate to the other end of the concourse AND they shouldn’t have left the keys in the Cushman.  Note:  TSA does more than frown at this behavior – IF they catch you! (True Story: The Business Trip) The Business Trip From Hell
  97. The Cloud does not move with the wind.
  98. The change plan does not consist of a sign that says, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
  99. The leaders do not like to be corrected, told they are wrong, laughed at, or have their authority questioned.  They especially hate it if you do all of this in the first five minutes of a meeting.
  100. Using quotes from Dr. Who and/or Star Trek does not solidify people’s confidence in me and should be refrained from.
  101. Things left on a white board are not invitations for me to edit as I see fit.  (I once added three redundant steps to a support model someone left up with a “Do Not Erase” line.  I also edited a networking diagram once and it stayed that way for at least a month.)   Corollary:  I am not a network engineer nor should I pretend to be one.
  102. The program manager was not “recently released from an asylum.”  Well, not that I could prove. Evidence is still pending.
  103. I do not, nor will I ever have, “Evil Minions to do my bidding.”  This includes flying monkeys.   I also may not include them in my resource requests or on my staffing plans.
  104. I do not score points for creativity when filling out my Global People Survey.
  105. Pointing out that I was right a year ago on the topic at hand does not advance the conversation.
  106. I will stop ending my calls with, “A Lannister Always Pays His Debts.”
  107. My answer to a proposed solution (regardless of the level of stupidity) should not start with, “Yeah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt…”
  108. I cannot call everyone on the conference call, “Dude.”  Nor am I to use that when calling American Express Travel Services.
  109. I may not call in an airstrike on my position as a way of deflecting discussion.
  110. My intimate knowledge of the internal workings and yields of nuclear warheads is not appropriate office conversation.  It makes folks a wee bit edgy.
  111. I am not allowed to use a time machine to solve the problems with the current project/program.   I am also requested to not tell people I have a time machine, it makes them nervous.
  112. The purpose of the Mercury program has nothing to do with opening the gates of hell.
  113. I cannot base my plans on the Mayan calendar.
  114. I am not an Admiral, General or Field Marshal.  I am not to ask people to address me with those titles at work.
  115. I will not eat my own dog food.  Nor am I to serve it to others during team lunches.
  116. Putting a sport coat on over my Captain America T-Shirt does not dress me up enough for a video conference.
  117. The networking lab is not a cover for a Meth lab.  Note:  The New Jersey State Police requested I add this one to my list.  PS.  That raid was awesome.
  118. “Opening a can of whoop ass,” is not a deliverable on my change plan.
  119. Not ALL contractors are “blood sucking ticks.”   (I am keeping a list, however, of those that are.)
  120. Taping signs to the NJ office windows facing outward that say, “I’m being held hostage!  Contact police!” is not acceptable behavior on my part.
  121. I may not reserve a conference room for one year (Did this while in Tax – brilliant!  It took them four months to figure out what I had done. )
  122. The OSS staff do not like to be referred to as “Uncle Ernie’s Geek Squad.”
  123. I need to stop referring to EY as “Uncle Ernie.” I took that one as a strong suggestion.
  124. I will not swap out the free breath freshener (mouth wash) in the McLean men’s room with tequila and green food coloring.  Putting up the video of people using this on YouTube is also highly discouraged.
  125. I may not requisition office supplies and use the Justification field to read:  “For the Zombie Apocalypse.”
  126. EY Connect Day is not an employee dating service.  Telling the new hires that’s what the day is for is prohibited.
  127. I will not impersonate an authorized elevator repairperson.
  128. I am not to have more than three axis to any graphical representation in PowerPoint.  (This limits trans-dimensional concepts and most of the Methodology teams’ materials)
  129. My plan cannot assume that in another multi-verse there is someone smarter who will be brought in to clean up the mess in this universe.   “The assumptions in your plan are not a playground for your imagination…”
  130. My definition of “End User Experience” is incorrect (according to everyone in IT Services).
  131. I will not refer to a change network as a “coven.”
  132. I will not preface a question to my new leader with, “Now that your honeymoon period is over…”  True story.
  133. I should stop referring to my writing career as “The career I actually care about.”
  134. Referring to my colleagues as, “people who are marginally competent,” is not the compliment I intended it to be (hey, I used the word competent!)
  135. I will not test Andy Walsh’s theory that you can fire off a cannon in the hall and not hit anyone before 8am in the Secaucus office.  Personally, I think it’s a matter of aim…
  136. “Bazinga!” is not an acceptable response to questions about my change strategy.
  137. I should stop quoting Machiavelli on conference calls.  Apparently no one takes these references as positive suggestions.
  138. My happy dance does not translate well on a conference call.
  139. Wearing the cowboy hat to “liven up” a video conference call is inappropriate attire.
  140. So is wearing coveralls with no shirt. (I swear I can’t seem to please anyone some days!)
  141. The employee assistance program cannot answer philosophical questions.
  142. The employee assistance program cannot answer complex math questions.
  143. The employee assistance program is not my personal valet (Hey, it says “assist” – doesn’t that make you my assistant?)
  144. The employee assistance program is not a suicide prevention hotline and do not appreciate such prank calls (this includes asking them for escort services in the area, attempting to rent a tank, or asking how to purchase blimp rides.)
  145. Answering in the form of a riddle is not funny.
  146. I will not attempt to upload my own select videos to the elevators in Five Times Square.
  147. There is no contest to come up with things that include the CIO’s name.  Examples;   MOron, MOrtified, MOved, MOrbid, MOllified, MOrale, EMOtional, etc..  (This all started with an email from the Comms team – so technically, THEY started it.)
  148. My conference calls do not require my own customized soundtrack playing in the background. Corollary:  It is not funny to have someone sing ‘All by Myself’ in the background while hosting the ‘Working Virtually in IT’ discussion call.
  1. Referencing my “Evil Plan” makes some people jittery and I am to cease this immediately.
  2. My self-evaluation is not a platform for me to present how I would reorganize IT Services.  It is also not a political platform, nor is it a place for me to float up sample chapters of books I am writing.
  3. Starting a conference call with an evil laugh, “Muahh-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh!” is forbidden.
  4. Calling someone out as a “liar!” does not smooth things over.
  5. Playing the Dr. Who theme music to introduce the UK conference call attendees is insensitive (and totally awesome!)
  6. The Eureka! Contest is not a platform for me to make fun of others.  (Those nap pod suggestions provided many minutes of entertainment.)
  7. The department should not be referred to as “Our little Game of Thrones.”
  8. I will not test the Emergency Response phone number every day to make sure it’s working.
  9. I will not provide internal auditors with my “Chart of Leadership Inadequacies” and the supporting 42 page appendix.
  10. I will not threaten or follow-through on forming an employee union. Further, I do not have the authority to call for a strike.  Despite the cool sounding name “International Brotherhood of IT Professionals” it is considered to be in poor taste to suggest such a formation.
  11. During an evacuation of the building I will not bring food or beverages into the stairwell out.  (We actually have this as a rule!)
  12. It is not in my prevue to dramatically alter strategic programs – even when I am right – which is often.
  13. I have limited authority to delegate upward – but it is not due to lack of trying.
  14. I need to stop saying ‘What can they do to me, give me a 3 rating’ when discussing an approach to work.
  15. I am not authorized to submit lists of departments to be outsourced.
  16. While it may be fun, I should not play ‘Save the Firm Money’ by making a list of those whose work I question
  17. The cafeteria is not my private science lab.  Corollary:  Diet Coke, Menthos, and the cafeteria are not a permissible combination.
  18. My job title is not:  “Semi-Professional Astronaut,” “Castration Specialist,” “Career Assassin,” or “Mercenary Thug.”
  19. I am to stop questioning our new strategy by pointing out its obvious flaws.
  20. The education budget is not designed for me to test its limitations and exceptions.
  21. I will stop suggesting that I am on performance enhancing drugs at work.  Corollary:  Caffeine is not an IT-used performance enhancing drug.
  22. My midyear review is not a platform for advocating “the violent overthrow of the Corporate Overlords.”
  23. The universe is not my plaything.  Nor is the staff meeting.
  24. I will not make everyone recite the Oath of the Night Watch (from Game of Thrones) to kick off my status calls.
  25. Taking time composing drinking songs about technology deployments is not billable hours to the project.
  26. I am not allowed to announce deployment dates until we are 100% sure we can hit those dates…which means after the fact.
  27. I do not have the authority to set up my own performance management system.  And it cannot include “Acts of Personal Bravery,” “Self-Sacrifice,” or personal ratings using my own “Stupid-o-meter.”  I cannot set up ratings based on the terrorist alert color index.  “You are currently an elevated threat Karen…”
  28. I will not suggest that there is a project hymnal when someone says we need to be on the same hymn sheet.  I will also not say that song #390 is Amazing Disgrace.  (This actually came up on a call.)
  29. I do not have the authority to form a jury – nor am I a judge.  I cannot pass sentence on my colleagues.
  30. I will not use sock puppets to describe deployments.  Especially not flaming sock puppets.
  31. My holistic view of the universe does not necessarily have me placed in the center of it.
  32. I may not start referring to myself with a “Double Oh” number, ie. 007.  I do not have a license to kill, maim, lead revolutions, or set up peer-to-peer networks.
  33. I may not send out a “bouquet of turds,” to the communications manager who makes such stupid mistakes.
  34. The phrase “Techtard” is insensitive in describing some of our managers who can’t use technology.
  35. I do not have the authority to grant or deny diplomatic recognition to any country’s IT team.
  36. When someone tells me how they are going to measure their deployment, laughing at them is not the best response I should be able to muster.
  37. I will not scream, “Power to the people,” during a call about potential layoffs.
  38. “I wouldn’t do that shit if I were you,” is not a proactive comment on my behalf.
  39. The career-framework does not allow you access to the “career shit-tank.”  Also, I will stop making things to add onto the career framework.
  40. The company location strategy is not “that annoying little thing you can just ignore.”
  41. When I say “I trust him as far as I could throw him,” I shouldn’t attempt to demonstrate that principle.
  42. I will not craft my own criteria for layoffs.
  43. Spreading rumors about new technology hub locations (i.e. Pigsknuckle Arkansas) is funny only to me.
  44. I will not build a still on firm time.  I am not a bootlegger or rum-runner.  I will not sample my output under the auspices that it is ‘quality control.’  I will not label my moonshine as “Uncle Ernie’s Fire Water,” and use the beam logo on the label.
  45. Suggesting that, “the team in _______ has their heads shoved up their asses,” does not get them to fall into line behind my plan (though for the record, no one offered a rebuttal.)
  46. I am not to accept money for Linkedin endorsements.
  47. I will stop holding betting pools to determine when people will quit the _____ program.  Nor will I advertise these pools on social media sites.
  48. I will not commit acts of genocide or planetary destruction just because the opportunity presents itself.
  49. I will not impersonate Mel Gibson – from any of his movies.  When my manager asked “what do you want?” I will not yell, ‘Freedom!”   Sidebar: My manager is quick to point out that she is not authorized to grant freedom.
  50. Referring to a plan as “delusional” doesn’t cheer anyone up on the call.
  51. I will not attempt to find gaps in plans that I don’t have access to (Example:  location strategy)
  52. The OTJ Coaching Inquiry – Have you received on-the-job coaching? survey is not  a plaything for me to voice my opinions on leadership, strategy, or technologies.
  53. There is no prize for being named Top Innovator.
  54. I will not conduct informal polls, surveys, or focus groups without informal (imaginary) authorization.
  55. I do not have the authorization to call a meeting of all of the counselors.
  56. I will stop implying that I know “who’s on the list” when it comes to location strategy.
  57. I am not to point out the stupidity of renaming a project after we’ve already started deployment and communications. Note:  It doesn’t change the fact that it is IS stupid – I’m just not to point it out.
  58. I will at least pretend that the communications team leader has some degree of authority or commands respect.  Stress “pretend.”
  59. I will not play the theme to the Benny Hill Show in the background during conference calls.
  60. I will stop creating acronyms to deliberately confuse my colleagues.
  61. I will stop referencing teams or departments that don’t exist.  Example:  The Networking infrastructure Ad-Hoc Design Committee or The Global Operating Model Advisory Council.   (Frankly, these fictitious names only added to my credibility in meetings.)
  62. There is a three-time limit on telling people on conference calls who dial in with mobile phones or Lync that their connection sucks.  If they don’t get it after three times, they won’t get it on the fourth.  Also mimicking them with fake static every other third word is also considered socially unacceptable.  I think this is a good strategy.
  63. I will not establish change networks without some authorization from someone.  Note:  Apparently silence is not an authorization – go figure…
  64. I do not have a license to keep the IT leaders up to speed with everything I’m doing.  They apparently don’t care.
  65. I am not allowed to create my own bank holidays.
  66. I am to cease reporting how many days since the last management change on the status report.
  67. I do not have my own Target Operating Model.  Charting it doesn’t make it real.
  68. I will not give Marketing 101 lessons on Branding to the Communications Team – even if they need it.
  69. I will not review the new directors list, compare with others and say ‘Are you freaking kidding me?’
  70. I will not publish my own version of the new directors list with people that SHOULD have been made director in the last year.
  71. I do not have permission to let things fail just for the fun of it.
  72. Suggesting that some leaders are “Alzheimer’s patients,” however accurate, is inappropriate.
  73. I will not bring up Archiving of email – ever.
  74. I will not explain the phrase “On-Prem” as “On Premises” because we all know it isn’t.
  75. Other team mates do not like being reminded that their choices of Germany and South Africa for pilot countries was not recommended.
  76. I will stop attempting to determine the “as-is” state of anything because no one can seem to define it.
  77. I will not “seize control” of our team’s SharePoint site.  I will not put up my own counter SharePoint site as a rebuttal.
  78. I will not Google “EY” images to laugh at the naked men.  (really this happened!)
  79. I acknowledge that I am not the right person to fulfill the role of career counselor.
  80. I will not suggest that the M&C program stands for “Mismanaged and Cluster-Fucked.”
  81. Budgetary questions are not to be answered with limericks, dirges, or riddles.
  82. Questioning reorganizations is never fully appreciated, especially when the question is, “But how does this reorg actually solve this problem?”
  83. It’s not about me being smarter – it’s about me pointing it out, that’s an issue.
  84. I will stop agreeing with people simply to confuse them.
  85. I am not a “Sexy Boy” and dancing does not make it so.
  86. I am not on the college recruitment team.
  87. I will not rewrite the firm’s Respect at Work course.
  88. People don’t respond positively when I use a phrase like “The obvious flaws of your plan are as follows…”
  89. Hysterical laughter is apparently an inappropriate response when a screwed up project or program tanks or is put on indefinite hold.  (Good to know I guess).
  90. When I say “…with due respect…” does not allow me to say whatever is rattling around in my mind at that moment.
  91. I will not point out that just because someone has no track record of success with our firm that it is probable they will fail going forward – even when they prove me correct.
  92. I will stop using the word “retard” in regards to my co-workers.  Apparently it’s offensive…to retarded people. I get that.
  93. My job description does not provide me with “phenomenal cosmic powers!”
  94. I will not use the word “Omnipotent” in my job description.
  95. I will not use the phrase “Slave to The Man” in my job description.
  96. One of my skills in my job description is NOT “the ability to manipulate time and space.”
  97. I will not requisition a TARDIS as office supplies.  The Business Support Center doesn’t watch Dr. Who and will actually attempt to order one.
  98. I will not post pictures of the Death Star under construction and use the tag line “Building Better Working Worlds.”
  99. I will not list as references the number of friends I have on Facebook.
  100. I am not to apply for jobs that are at least three levels above my current level.
  101. I will stop displaying enjoyment because the entire network is down.  Also “I told you so,” is not supportive in this instance.
  102. The purpose of focus groups is not for me to give ulcers to the HR facilitator.  Duly Noted.
  103. I am not authorized to create a pilot test of anything.
  104. I will not over-communicate to IT about any technology deployment.
  105. When booted off a project, I will not pout for a week about it (three days – tops)
  106. It is inappropriate to moon someone on a conference call even if they are not using video.
  107. I will keep my feedback to less than eight pages.
  108. It’s not a drive-by-shooting if it’s true. I’m to stop doing it anyway.
  109. Writing a book on a subject does not make you the expert on that topic except in the real world.
  110. I will not travel to a snow-state in February.  Amended:  I will not travel in February.
  111. I will not pretend to be on mute.
  112. I will not pretend to be off mute.
  113. I will not tell the new person that the prefix 999 on my conference calling ID delineates me as a Partner in the firm.
  114. I will not make up mock secret projects and claim info security is working on them.  Example:  The Tachyon Firewall Inhibitor Program or the Subatomic Data Packaging Devices Project (the SDPDP).
  115. People don’t want to hear how Span of Control is an artificial and unscientific concept with no basis in reality.  They just want the magic number of people that should be reporting to them.
  116. The magic number is not 42.
  117. Or 3
  118. The change network calls are not my personal plaything.
  119. No one is interested in how I would approach outsourcing.
  120. I will not reorganize the Operations Group because “they had it coming.”
  121. I will not refer to our internal accounting system as “Satannic.”
  122. The CTO is not out to get me, despite the growing body of evidence.  (Note: This investigation remains open.)
  123. It is not part of my job to prove which IT leaders are incompetent.  It is also not my job to track that information or produce graphs about them.
  124. I will not refer to projects or programs as “Doomed” when they are first announced.  According to one person, “No one wants to hear that shit.”  Corollary:  There is no waiting period before I can use the word “doomed” either.  I have to wait until it actually fails, which doesn’t seem fair.
  125. I will stop pretending to not hear stupid things simply to make an idiot repeat it out loud.  “I missed that, could you say it again?”  It has been pointed out that it is mean.
  126. I will not refer to targeting errors during deployments as “we’re simply over-delivering to the wrong audience.”
  127. Some things are not product promotions and it’s not up to me to determine which is which.
  128. I do not have psychic abilities.  I am not to demonstrate them during team calls.
  129. SMU’s have nothing to do with Southern Methodist University.
  130. During reorganizations I will not map people to “The Black Hole” or “Special Projects”
  131. I will not tease the kids assigned to Special Projects.  They aren’t smart enough to understand.
  132. I don’t agree to disagree.  I’m right.  Deal with it.
  133. Not all short people have a Napoleon Complex…just short male directors in the IT Department.
  134. Rating comb-overs during a meeting is a sign I need to leave the room.
  135. I will not refer to the budgeting process as “witchcraft.”
  136. Being asked for feedback is not a license for me to be creative and obnoxious.
  137. The Location Strategy is not my personal plaything.
  138. I am not authorized to create new roles in the organization such as:  “Nuthouse Operations Director”  “Weapons Specialist”  “Douche-Bag Delivery” “Platform Terraformer”
  139. Just because I draw dotted lines on org charts doesn’t mean that those people actually report to me.
  140. I will stop asking for real-life examples of Big Data.  I get it – there are none.
  141. I do not have the authority to brand things.
  142. I do not know the winning lottery numbers.
  143. I cannot make my books required reading for the IT staff.  (though they SHOULD be).
  144. Yammer is not a toy.
  145. Over-delivering and Under-delivering are not the same thing and are not interchangeable.
  146. I do not own the keys to “the Special Projects short bus.”
  147. I do not have the authority to draft my own criteria for the Chairman’s Value Award.
  148. They do not hand out Chairman’s Value Awards in boxes of cereal and implying that is inappropriate – especially to the winners.
  149. Laughing out-loud during a conference call when someone is covering their ass may not be the best response.
  150. When working on a town hall presentation I will not turn it into a comedy routine.
  151. Deliberately picking teaming events that might injure one of my managers (then telling him I’m doing it) is not being considerate.
  152. Summoning Cthulu will not “streamline processes.”
  153. “Breaking Bad” is not our business model.
  154. I will not play the Game of Thrones theme music in the background when meeting with the L1’s. Addendum:  I am not to play any theme music in the background of calls.
  155. Ouija boards do not play a part in the annual review process.  Nor do they factor in on the budgeting process.
  156. I will not give my status report in Shakespearian prose – such as the St. Crispin’s Day speech.
  157. “Supreme Overlord” is not part of my job title and I should stop adding it.
  158. The email signature block is not a toy for my personal amusement.
  159. Creating skill categories that don’t exist (i.e., Warp Field Engineer, Temporal Agent, etc.) in my Sharepoint People Profile is misleading and damages my credibility with others…not that I care.
  160. I will not imply I have a terminal disease to avoid work assignments.
  161. I will not rename the Mercury environments after sci fi planets no matter how funny and appropriate it is.
  162. I will not refer to job assignments as “Snipe Hunts.”
  163. I will stop introducing the new accounting system with the tag line:  “From the team that brought you M&C two-and-a-half years late…”
  164. The Campus Hire Program is not to be referred to as “The Fresh Meat for the Grinder Program.”
  165. I will not sue clients of the firm unless they owe me a LOT of money.  (He he he)
  166. I will moderate my use of British understatement.
  167. I will not co-teach a session with anyone when we tells me he’s started to review the material 15 minutes prior to the class. (Thanks Douchebag)
  168. I will not offer unsolicited executive coaching to superior even though they clearly need it.
  169. There is no charge code for playing Risk on my iPad during an IT strategy webcast.
  170. The status bar in Skype is not a forum for political discourse or workplace unrest. Nor am I allowed to put that my new books is out because someone complained to the Talent Team about it. Grr…
  171. I will not start international incidents just to see what the impact on my career is.
  172. My midyear self-evaluation is not the same thing as my workplace manifesto.
  173. It is not part of my job to root out screwed up projects and initiatives.  (The fact that I attract so many of these should be cause for concern however).
  174. Laughing at the consultants is bad form.  (Good to know)
  175. It is not part of my job description to “incite rebellion.” I am to stop writing annual goals around this topic.
  176. I will not deliberately insert an error on a pointless spreadsheet just to drive my manager nuts, despite the fun that presents.
  177. No one cares that I’m a New York Times Bestselling Author …at work.  Especially the communications team (who all believe they are budding New York times Bestselling Authors).
  178. There are no fashion police in the office.   The dress code does not carry the full weight of law.
  179. My use of MS Project will not, “Open one of the seals to the gates of hell.”  For the record, I did experiment with this, which tells you something of my personality – that I would be willing to open the gates of hell to make a point.
  180. I will not point out the irony of managers telling me that I have to use MS Project to track and project, then telling me to send them the file in PDF format because they don’t want Project installed on their PC’s.
  181. I will not send someone a MS Project file in PDF format where I have deliberately set it up to be 96 pages long, most of which are blank.  True story – not only did I do this but when I asked the manager if he got it, his response was, “Yes, that looked good to me…”
  182. I will not respond to an idiot to clarify that the reason their email list is messed up is that they messed it up.  (’cause idiots don’t care)
  183. RACI’s are not created by Racists
  184. There is no, “new sheriff in town.” It isn’t me even if I wear a cowboy hat.
  185. I am not in charge of new workplace trends nor will I make up new ones just to be funny.
  186. I am not in charge of replacing the office’s evacuation plans with ones I’ve drawn in crayon.
  187. I will not question what “budget bubbles” consist of – nor will I offer my unsolicited opinion.  Example:  “They are farts of desperation with a sprinkle of delusions on a wind of indecision.”
  188. I cannot reconcile stupid. (Technically I can, but it involves gunfire.)
  189. I will not manipulate those that outrank me unless it provides me with some entertainment.
  190. I am not permitted to laugh out-loud when two managers become deadlocked in a pointless discussion. You do it once and you get reprimanded. I wasn’t the one acting like a child.
  191. I will not point out that the mandatory learning does not apply to me even though everyone knows it doesn’t.
  192. I will stop recommending learning courses just because I am adept at spotting people’s flaws and weaknesses.
  193. I will not produce a movie about work.  A TV series – yes.  Movie – no.
  194. I will not publicly ridicule the review committee process on my blog.  (Technically I never mentioned the firm).
  195. It has been suggested that I not question how managers have the spare time to build extensive training programs on top of doing their jobs where they complain they are at full-capacity.
  196. It isn’t all about bringing in your cronies from other jobs – it just looks that way.
  197. I will not openly mock the new directors by pointing out how quickly we will crush their souls.  (Except in the case of Faisal.  I will totally do it to him.)
  198. “WTF?” Is not a professional response to a meeting request at 9pm EDT.  The correct response is, “I’m sorry, I have a personal commitment.”
  199. JPM does not stand for “Dipshit” and I should stop insinuating it does.  (It does stand for “Dumbfuck”)
  200. I will stop asking, “If JPM is so great, why did you leave it to come here, asshat?”
  201. Project Manager + Team in Another Country x lack of managerial courage  = Disaster (I call it the Buck Formula); is not an equation I’m allowed to post this formula at work – despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary.
  202. I will stop pointing out when leaders say one thing and do another (i.e. Location Strategy).
  203. “I just want someone to delegate this body of shit to,” is not an acceptable justification for requesting headcount.
  204. I will not tell my manager he’s wasting his time when he insists on turning in feedback AFTER the Review Committees have met.   I shouldn’t have to tell him that.  (Come on Jay!)
  205. I will stop making gunshot noises when managers shoot the messenger.  (Back and to the left…back and to the left…)
  206. “You’ve got to be shitting me?  WTF?” is not a congratulatory message for someone being promoted to PPD level.
  207. I will not point out the name of my firm sounds eerily similar to KY (Jelly) – nor will I continue my comparisons from there.
  208. Making fun of employees names, in front of them, could be misinterpreted.  (Or understood, your choice)
  209. I will stop asking for a definition of “non-discretionary budget items.”  It only highlights that no one knows what they are.
  210. I will continue to point out violations of the firm’s values proposition, especially to that guy in Compute Services.
  211. I will stop playing my own theme music and soundtracks in the background of calls to make them more entertaining.  Example:  Playing the Law and Order rapping of the gavel each time I make a point.
  212. Despite my attire, I am not Batman.  Corollary:  Stop dressing like Batman at work.
  213. I will stop demanding applause when I join conference calls (though I deserve them).
  214. I will not ask permission to do something that is covert, regardless of its productivity.
  215. I will not mock the Talent Team’s name.
  216. I will resist the urge to point out to leadership that if I am abused in a relationship that it might be best to not keep me in that relationship.
  217. I will not openly suggest “Unionization!” as the solution to low employee morale surveys.
  218. It is recommended that I limit my systematic undermining of authority to one incident a week.  I will take that under advisement.
  219. I will curtail my listening the lamentation of my enemies women (if you saw Conan, you got it)
  220. I am to stop mentioning serial killers I know at work.
  221. My nickname is not “Grim” (as in Reaper)
  222. I will not plan large scale workplace layoffs on the same day as Suicide Prevention Day in the office.  (This is a true story, we let people go on this date!)
  223. Apparently it is not appropriate to laugh when the Talent Team says we can’t tell a person he’s being laid off until he comes off his pain medications for having his knees replaced.  (True damn story. Can you imagine waking up to this?)
  224. My barometer for measuring the speed of a rumor should not be when I get a call from Paul.
  225. My boss is not to be referred to as “the new chick.”  He hates that.
  226. My role on any project is not, “The only voice of reason and sanity on the team.”
  227. Actually, I DO like being proven correct…even if the results are painful to me.
  228. The budget was not the product of human sacrifice, witchcraft, or a druidic ceremony.
  229. I am not a pharmacist nor can I suggest medications for the staff. Nor am I to run a pool guessing what drugs leaders are on.
  230. Per request, I do not need to prove I can win a pissing contest.
  231. I will not deliberately catch an illness too gross to describe to others on a conference call.
  232. I will not describe my colon CAT scan on conference calls. Totally did this.
  233. I will not burst into uncontrolled laughter when a manager suggests hiring an outside law firm to prove the firm’s legal counsel is incorrect (Tim, you slay me!)
  234. My painkillers are to be used to kill pain, not make leadership calls more tolerable.
  235. I will stop pointing out that Lunch and Learn training sessions are really designed to ruin a lunch and avoid us missing any work. Note: I believe they are only confirming my conspiracy theory by telling me to stop staying this.
  236. I will not contemplate going off my meds just for the entertainment value.
  237. I am not to mock the Skype support team when they cannot join a Skype call because it is not working correctly.
  238. My coaching advice is not to include, “would you like me to kill them?”  Honestly, accidents happen.
  239. I will not Google “Harvey’s Balls” to enhance my graphics.  Apparently these are a real thing, not something for me to mock.  True story.
  240. When offered the chance to provide feedback I will not include the words/phases:  “magical, mythical, delusional, escaped-mental-patient, clear-and-present-danger to coworkers, schizophrenic,, dangerous paranoia, psychotic, candidate-for-drug-testing, “the reason we can’t have nice things,” narcissistic, vampire, or Hitleresque.
  241. It is not my role on the project to stage the coup de tat against the project manager. You take over one meeting and they make a rule about you.
  242. ESP does not stand for Every Sucky Project manager
  243. Douchebag is not a formal job title.
  244. Neither is Dipstick
  245. Or Asshat – for that matter.
  246. We don’t settle disagreements, “The old fashioned way – in a battle to the death.”  (For the record, I would have won.)
  247. I will next experiment with makeup on Thursdays (which is video conference call day).
  248. I will not answer phone calls, “Buddy the Elf…what’s your favorite color?”
  249. It is not a standing agenda item on an IT Town Hall to sacrifice a virgin.  I doubt one could be found (one), and telling that to the campus hires is not seen as appropriate (two).
  250. I will stop putting “Anus McButtface” on my stakeholder plans.  (Which, by the way, is a great name for a porn star.)
  251. I will stop calling Skype “Hype.”
  252. I will stop relying on a pension plan SINCE THEY SCREWED US OVER.
  253. I will at least fake appreciation for a good rating on my performance review.
  254. I do not have Tourette’s Syndrome…and no, I’m not allowed to practice having it.
  255. I will stop holding classes on how to draft your own promotion forms.
  256. I will not handle disagreements with, “I demand a Trial by Combat!”
  257. I will not start Skype calls by saying, “Valar morghulis,’ and refuse to continue them until someone says, “Valar dohaeris.” I really did this.  It was fun.
  258. I will not threaten people by telling others they are “Friends of Moe.”
  259. The communications team is not “The Voice of the Beast…”
  260. NITRO does not stand for Nitwits Influencing Technology Redundancy & Obsolescence.
  261. Setting up a contest to see who can steal the most office supplies is not Gamification.
  262. I will stop pointing out the Mercury is the god of speed.  The Mercury project team really hates that.
  263. I will stop saying, “Sharepoint is evil.”  In reality people who like Sharepoint are evil.
  264. I will stop making up new words to describe project managers I loathe (Example:  Bumblefucker)
  265. I will not encourage Russian hackers to attempt to steal our emails.  Nor will I tell people that I know a bunch of Russian hackers (Sorry Ivan!)
  266. I will not draft humorous operations manuals for projects I am not associated with.
  267. “Putting lipstick on a pig” is not the way to sell your idea for a learning plan.
  268. I will not put on war-paint for a video conference call.
  269. I will stop pretending to be Jamaican on 7am conference calls…even if my accent is perfect.
  270. I am not in charge of Armageddon and will quit “saying this shit” on conference calls.
  271. Telling a project manager they are “only a mere contractor” apparently does not inspire them to be better.
  272. Apparently I’m the only person that thinks a 65% on the annual people satisfaction survey is a failing grade.
  273. My boss is not “slightly wigging out.”
  274. The mainstream media is not conspiring against me.
  275. I am not allowed to provide my estimates of project manager’s IQ’s on open conference calls – even if rounding up.  You claim one person is a 42 and the whole world overreacts…
  276. I will not point out that the list of what the Communications team doesn’tdo is longer than the list of things that they do do.
  277. Just because I own a shield I am not Captain America.  I will stop insisting people call me “Cap” on conference calls.
  278. I will not script learning videos that have an “R” rating…nor did I clear that with the Motion Picture Association in advance.
  279. I will not put hidden messages and meanings in my change plans.
  280. Use Cases are not to be referred to as “Useless Cases.”
  281. Steering groups dislike humor, reality, and common sense.  Write it down Buck…
  282. Leaders do not like slide decks detailing their inadequacies – no matter how cool and accurate the graphics are.
  283. Uncontrollable laughter followed by: “Oh my God, you were serious?” is not the appropriate response when shown a project timeline.
  284. “Clusterfuck” is not one of the approved codenames for a project or program (regardless of how appropriate)
  285. I will not organize a union on company time.  What I do at home is nobody’s damn business.
  286. I will stop abusing the R U Ok Program.
  287. I am not qualified to diagnose mental problems despite what the firm says.
  288. Nor am I allowed to dispense mediation for mental health problems I shouldn’t be diagnosing.
  289. Nor am I allowed to order people be committed to mental health hospitals.  Filling out their paperwork is bad.
  290. I am not to suggest FAQ topics since I apparently “don’t understand technology support.” This is despite the fact I have been proven correct.
  291. I will stop saying, “I’m sorry, you’re breaking up, can you repeat that?” just to hear someone say something stupid twice out loud.
  292. I will not add credits or a post-credits scene to technical training videos.  “Based on the novel by NY Times Bestselling Author Blaine Pardoe.  Starring – Blaine Pardoe…”
  293. I will not objectify my co-workers with locker room talk.
  294. I will stop referring to myself as “One of the Deplorables.”
  295. I will not ask, “Why am I here?” It is a question that apparently upsets people running a meeting WHO CAN’T ANSWER IT.  IMG_1007 (1)
  296. I will not put “I don’t care about your silly problem, I’m off!” in my out of office message.
  297. I will not mock the message warning people to not drink to excess at holiday functions – despite the fact that it is, well, common sense and I doubt an email will fix that issue.  (Freaking Millennials!)
  298. I will not compare employees to food products (Helen is like Melba Toast.   It exists.  It’s crunchy.  It has no flavor or taste and leave you dry.)
  299. I will stop mocking the holiday moratorium. Example: If you give everyone an exception, it’s not a moratorium.
  300. I am to stop making the Millennials cry.  (It is SO easy)
  301. I will stop reminding the service desk that they can be replaced.  For the record, I never said with what they could be replaced with.  I have a list…
  302. I will not qualify what I mean by “With all due respect…” by pointing out I don’t really respect that person.
  303. I am not the designated driver for the holiday party.  If I am, I’m drinking.
  304. I will not use the word, “clunky,” when describing a team’s process without fully citing examples (and there are a’plenty…)
  305. The Chairman does not want me to offer a rebuttal to the annual holiday message.
  306. “If you need me, fuck off!” is not appropriate in my out of office agent.
  307. Connecting all of the paperclips in the box is not as funny as I think it is.
  308. I am not authorized to draw up my own career framework map.  If I was, I wouldn’t start with the play-mat from iHOP using crayons. Corollary:  I am not to use crayons at work.  They said nothing about paste however.
  309. I am not authorized to be the wisest person in the room, that comes naturally….no authorization required.
  310. No part of my job requires a case of AAA batteries.
  311. Exotic hats are not part of my wardrobe for video conference calls.
  312. I am not responsible for the hacking attack on the DNC in the 2016 elections and will stop alluding to that in conversations.
  313. I will not sneak into the Job Description database and making humorous additions to people’s JD’s such as “Responsible for all security failings in the firm,” or “Asshat in Charge of Hosting Debacles.”
  314. “Mental midgets” is apparently a derogatory term that I shouldn’t use to describe my alleged peers.
  315. I should not rejoice that the negative reorg impacts are at the top tier of leadership.  (But I AM…)
  316. Setting up a betting pool about the forced retirement dates of senior leaders is not billable to any charge code.
  317. I may not impose sanctions.
  318. I will not tie the interns to a chair and make them pull me like sled dogs through the halls yelling “Mush you huskies!”
  319. I do not have diplomatic immunity within the company.
  320. I will not change my clothes in the glass atrium elevators.
  321. The break area is not my private dojo for practicing martial arts.  In fact, practicing martial arts at work is also a no-no.
  322. I am not authorized to do face painting in the office.
  323. Hiring a possum is not the same as hiring a Cloud Engineer.  (Good to know…)
  324. I will stop prefacing my remarks by saying that “I received this information from an alternate reality where things actually work…”
  325. I am not to organize any farting, belching, or body odor contests in the office.
  326. I will not erect idols of “The IT gods” Nor am I an IT god. (I beg to differ on this but for the sake of argument, I’ll let it go.
  327. Biting Sarcasm is not one of my core leadership strengths nor can it be found on our personal development site.
  328. “Continue screwing up pivot tables,” is not an acceptable annual career goal, however realistic.
  329. I will cease using the phrase “I told you so, moron,” when I did just that.
  330. I will stop using the word “Stupidshitfuckface,” in my stakeholder plans.
  331. I will not create my own standard PowerPoint templates for a project.  I will not use the Wingdings or Greek fonts in those non-standard templates.  Fuck you!
  332. I will not chant “Shame” and ring a tolling bell when a senior leader has her farewell gathering.
  333. I will halt pointing out how right I really am when leaders are totally wrong.
  334. I will not post to my private blog during work hours.  After work, everything is game…mutherfuckers.
  335. I am not authorized to test our internet security nor is it part of my job.
  336. I will stop bringing up embarrassing news reports about our vendors WITH our vendors.  Apparently they don’t like reality or something.
  337. Leaving notes on shared workspaces like, “Strategy – Listen to the voices in my head.”  or “I know where she hid his body!” is considered disruptive (and entertaining).
  338. “Fuck no!” is apparently not one of the accepted responses when asked, “Can you do this?”
  339. Reminding managers of things I’m waiting on from them by being snarky is not permissible.
  340. One does not tinkle in the workstream.
  341. Bringing up that the task could only be accomplished via time travel or a time machine doth not please leadership.
  342. I may not use a change network to perform menial tasks around my house.
  343. I am not authorized to call in artillery or an airstrike on one of our offices (or an employee’s home).
  344. Writing “Do Not Erase!” on every whiteboard in the office with something left on them is considered bad form.
  345. There is no “Party Planning Authority,” or “Party Planning Committee.”  I am to stop sending people to meet with them.
  346. I do not have authority to create and publish my own newsletter.  Especially one with my own cartoons of co-workers.
  347. Responding “Thanks for caring,” when a douchebag says a demeaning comment comes across as snarky to some people.  (It was intended to, I just didn’t know they were smart enough to identify sarcasm.)
  348. I will stop writing cryptic messages in the Men’s room stalls.
  349. I am to stop cutting out wildlife images out of National Geographic and hanging them in front of the security cameras just to fuck with Building Security.
  350. I do not have my own personal values statement or code of connection.
  351. I am not to quote Yoda in response to questions about my plans.  Nor am I to speak in a Yoda voice or use his sentence structure.  “Banned from doing that I am.”
  352. Song and dance routines are prohibited.  “Thanks for sharing.”
  353. “I told you this would happen,” apparently does not bring the matter to a close.  So noted.
  354. I cannot solve my problems by declaring my candidacy for any public office.
  355. I am not authorized to film my own documentary at work…especially during meetings.
  356. Laughing out loud during reorganization discussions does not garner the support I expected.
  357. I will not take control of my new boss’s boss’s slide deck during his team kick off meeting.  (Krista actually did this – quite funny)
  358. I am not a “Special Conductor” in charge of the Amtrak coach car when traveling to or from NYC.
  359. I am not to ask the United Airlines Customer Service staff, “Do you own a fucking map?” when they rebook me to get home from New York to Washington DC via Cleveland.  (Did it, loved it)
  360. “That old battleaxe” is not a box on the org chart.
  361. Sycophant is not a business competency and I am to cease referring to it as such.
  362. “Fuck it – I don’t know,” is not an appropriate response to the query, “What is your plan?”
  363. I am to stop using the word, “Geostrategic” simply to confuse my peers.
  364. I am to stop muttering “Dracarus” on calls, when I hear something I don’t agree with.  (Though the mental picture of the person burning is oddly satisfying.)
  365. I am to be super-dooper thankful that I got a whopping 18 minute interview with such an important and clearly focused person.  Eighteen minutes?  Owning my own career.
  366. Turning down a job you didn’t interview for and didn’t want is apparently considered “bad form” by the “leadership.”  So noted.  Again – owning my own career.  (It was the same idiot that gave me an 18 minute interview.)
  367. Apparently there is a fine line between being blunt and being crude.  I am unaware of where that line is and I am to stop spending time seeking it out.
  368. Apparently no one likes my colorful metaphors during meetings.
  369. Demoification (the removal of anything related to Mo, our former CIO) is not a word I am to use in status reports.
  370. Being unqualified to do my job does not get me out of the work.  That’s odd.
  371. I will stop referring to one of my project managers as Cersei Lannister despite the fact that she actually kinda looks like her.
  372. I will stop suggesting, “Pull your head out of your ass,” as a solution.
  373. Calling, “Dibs on all his stuff,” is not the appropriate response when your boss’s boss announces he has been let go.
  374. My French and Spanish accents needs some work.  Until perfected, I am not to practice it on conference calls – according to HR.
  375. I do not possess the means to travel to another dimension “where someone gives an ass about your stupid idea.”
  376. I will stop using the phrase, “A job title does not imply or impart any degree of intelligence,” at the start of any of my rebuttals.  It upsets (or confuses) the Director-level folks apparently.
  377. No one cares that I was in Fast Company magazine because they weren’t. I was, in fact interviewed by Fast Company, complete with pictures.

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    Yeah – I’m that guy…
  378. Saying, “She’s not that big of a bitch,” or “He’s not a super-asshole,” is not the compliment I intended it to be.
  379. The voices inside my head are usually wrong, per my manager.  Am not!
  380. “You’re brighter than you look,” is not really a compliment.
  381. Halloween is not an invitation for me to dress in my Star Trek uniform for video calls.  Also, I am to have the decency to lie when asked, “That’s a cute costume…do you have young kids?”  Saying “no” creeps out everyone on the call.
  382. “Monkeys throwing their feces at each other is more organized than this place,” is not a valid or accepted critique of the new organization structure.  Nor is, “This place is as fucked up like a soup sandwich,” or the ever popular, “This place is as fucked up a football bat.”
  383. It has been recommended that I find out whose “dumb ass idea” it was to begin with, before I begin mocking it.  (I honestly don’t care, but it was suggested…)
  384. Documenting management’s use of buzzwords and consultancy phrases upsets some of them (while entertaining the rest of us.)
  385. Replacing the word “retard” with the phrase “fu*king stupid,” in my workplace vocabulary apparently is not an upgrade nor does it add a level of clarity.
  386. Loading my phone with “entertaining” ringtones and setting them off in the background of conference calls is not as funny as I like to believe.
  387. I am not to drop hints that the vendor is conspiring to make certain managers look bad.
  388. Being the oldest person in the room does not grant me special powers or any authority.
  389. I will stop impersonating a director just because of my gray hair.
  390. I am to stop calling my theft of office supplies as a “restocking exercise.”  I am also not allowed to turn it into a teaming event.
  391. “Oh yeah, well I have 346,000 references to me according to Google!” is not considered a valid argument as to why I am right.
  392. “No offense, but we’ve tried this same thing before and failed because you didn’t implement it correctly,” is not what leadership wants to hear.
  393. Deliberately using a teamwork event as a source for blog posts is bad…according to my co-workers.
  394. I do not know what will trigger the end of the world and I should stop implying that it is one of leadership’s bad ideas that starts it all.
  395. I will not refer to our leadership as pale, male, and stale. It is true, but they hate hearing it.
  396. I will not imply that the “long poles in the tent,” refers to parts of the male anatomy. I am also to stop mocking the moron that used that phrase.
  397. I am not “an avenging force” in the office despite my Skype status.
  398. I will not alter the scripts used for layoffs to “make them more hilarious.”
  399. Why yes, I DO have a hell of a lot of nerve. Thank you for asking.
  400. No one cares about the serial killers I know.  They should though.
  401. I will stop acting utterly surprised when someone comes up with a good idea.  Offering them a treat as a reward is also in bad form.
  402. I am to stop creating monsters in my D&D campaign named or based on department leaders.  Thus ends the terror of the Osbornonsaurus and the Poly-hacker.
  403. I will cease using words like Transmorphable or any other that I have made up, regardless of how funny they are.
  404. I am to stop pointing out that if someone has screwed something up seven times, that they are an abysmal failure or director-level material.
  405. When a leader says “How dare you?” they are not looking for a detailed response or answer (which I had prepared).  They are looking for a me to take a big sip out of a cup of Shut-the-Fuck-Up.  Good to know.
  406. There is no CIO Throne.  Nor is there an IT Dungeon under the data center in Secaucus.
  407. I do not have the authority to create my own mentorship program.
  408. No one want to hear their team “defines a new level of uselessness.”
  409. Making people cry is not a competency.
  410. I am to stop pointing out ridiculous wastes such as having me travel for 9 hours round trip for a 1.25 hour meeting in NYC (true story)
  411. “Sausage making” has nothing to do with making real sausage.  So showing up in a butcher’s apron with a meat cleaver is a definite no-no.
  412. I will no longer refer to senior leaders as “executive-level hiring mistakes.”
  413. I am to stop referring to the “middle management permafrost” as if it was a real thing.
  414. The phrase, “The only good reorganization is a dead reorganization,” is not respected by my leadership.
  415. When a leader says they are taking a few days off, it is inappropriate for me to cheer.  It makes them feel bad and I’m supposed to feel bad about that.
  416. I should only apply to jobs based on what is in the dark recesses head of the hiring manager, not on the job description or posting.
  417. There is no sanctioned “firm prayer” and I should stop trying to convince the new hires one exists.
  418. I am not allowed to yell, “Liar, liar pants on fire,” during vendor presentations. (I didn’t do it when they were in the room, what’s the big deal?)
  419. I am not allowed to play (experiment) with the thermostat during firm meetings. This includes removing the cover (Marked “Do not remove”) and manually adjusting it.
  420. I am not an authorized technician for any hardware issues.  Corollary, I am not allowed to use a hammer during the work day.  It’s not one of my tools – not even for change management.
  421. I am not to adjust the lighting or room temperature to set the mood for vendor presentations.
  422. Chuckling during a two-hour vendor presentation, especially at the serious parts, is apparently not permissible.
  423. The answer to the question, “Why are you putting this out to bid to us?” is not “Because our leadership is mentally unbalanced and makes us waste our time on pointless exercises.”
  424. I am to stop referring to team dinners as “Firm-Mandated Fun.”  Nor are they to be called, “Pointless required socialization with my inferiors.”
  425. I am to stop humming funeral dirges when Margaret is talking.
  426. I am to stop ordering parts to build my own robot.  Apparently it is not considered team building to try and create your own team members from scratch is not allowed.
  427. I will stop deliberately sending out the list of open job requisitions to the most paranoid members of the department. It was quite funny though.
  428. When sent to India, I am not to ignore the teaming events because of the monsoons.
  429. I am to stop pointing out that the firm sends me to the hot places in the summer, the cold places in the winter.
  430. I am not to contact the US Embassy in India when travelling there, just to, “Hear an American voice or something I can understand.”  This request comes from the US Embassy staff I might add. Apparently their post on the web site about Americans checking in was not serious.
  431. “Wow you folks have a lot of call centers here,’ is not a good start to a live meeting in India.
  432. The Ethics Hotline is not a plaything.
  433. When asked by a leader, “What do you mean my product is shit?” the appropriate response is not, “You seriously don’t know what shit is?
  434. I am not to try and purchase a pet monkey named “Apu” while visiting India.  Nor am I to purchase him a cowboy outfit.  Nor will customs allow him into the US.
  435. My solution cannot consist of: “I will get all Game of Thrones/Ramsey Bolton on his ass.”
  436. I am to stop thanking people when they are abusive to me in meetings (actually, this was sarcasm and was totally wasted on the audience in question.)
  437. I am to stop requesting my annual raise verification email.  Apparently they don’t send them out when you make so pathetically little.
  438. The Mentoring Program is not a form of slave labor – per HR’s discussion with me.
  439. I am not to assume I have authority to do whatever I want just because I chair the peer network.  This was actually expressed as, “you have no authority – period!”
  440. Calling a decision a “Dick-move,” apparently offends some people more than once – sexually and authority-wise.  Given I have referred to the offending party before as “Dickless” it does seem a bit inappropriate to me.
  441. Discussing your recent medical procedure, in detail, prior to the start of a call, is off-putting to some attendees.  Discussing it during the call is not permissible.
  442. I am not allowed to organize online parties where the attendees drink and fill out the firm’s culture survey.
  443. I may not form my own religion then demand off “Holy Days” such as Saint Patton’s Day or Trumptoberfest!
  444. My advice as a mentor is not to include firearms, explosives, or use the words, “Going postal…”
  445. Accusing someone as being a witch is not as funny as I like to think it is.  Nor is offering to go fetch their broom a help in such discussions.
  446. There is no charge code for “Feeling Melancholy” nor should I put in a request for one to be generated.
  447. I am not “empowered.”  In fact, it would be best if I did not use that word.
  448. Creating a class on “Working with Douchebag Leaders” is not in my job description, nor is sending out an invite to the class to all of the team allowed.  Sidebar:  It should scare everyone that I got a 92% acceptance on the invitation.
  449. I am not to refer to the CTO as “Princess.”  He really hates that.
  450. I am not to refer to Project Mercury as Project Sloth, despite the fact it is three years overdue.  The Mercury team has no sense of humor and claims they delivered, “On Time.”  I will also not point out that by changing your delivery dates is not the same as actually meeting them.
  451. Wearing a Burger King crown during video conference calls is verboten.
  452. I am not allowed to create or suggest affinity groups.
  453. I am not permitted to point out that the people empowered by leadership to make decisions really don’t have that power.
  454. I do not get an approved holiday for elections in the US…especially not in April.
  455. I am not to ask senior leadership for feedback…every quarter…two or more times.  They are far too important to give a peon like me feedback.
  456. I will stop telling upper management that I need software in order to be creative just to be funny.  Clearly they don’t get it.
  457. I am not permitted to host my awards show for the department…nor may I broadcast it.
  458. The personal branding class does not involve branding irons.
  459. Uncontrolled laughter is often not what the leaders want to hear when they pitch their brilliant idea.  I am to make better use of the mute button.
  460. I am to stop pointing out the irony of people being promoted past me, who ask ME for advice.  Most don’t get it.
  461. I am not permitted to rewrite our department (or company’s) mission statement – ever.  Apparently the use of the word “fuck” in a mission statement is a no-no.  Who knew?
  462. I should not request a new charge code be created so I can binge watch the Kardashians or the Bachelorette.
  463. I am not allowed to create my own recycling bins.
  464. I am to stop saying, “Chronodiversity.”  It makes leaders nervous – they thought they had laid off all of the older employees already.
  465. The comment, “Ponytail’s are for jackasses,” is considered, by some, as insensitive. I’m sorry, but someone has to say it out loud – otherwise you are contributing to hair and style abuse in the workplace.
  466. Pointing out security flaws just to get another leader in trouble is not “professionally considerate.”  It is, however, a blast. Zoom!
  467. I do not have the authority to mount a sting operation for Dateline.
  468. It is not my job function to write rebuttals to new personnel announcements – regardless of accuracy or humor-level.
  469. My Italian accent is not fully appreciated or enticed.
  470. When asked to teach a diversity and inclusiveness class, I should not respond with, “You do know I’m an old white guy, right?” Totally did this.
  471. When a colleague asks an icebreaker question, “What would James Bond do?” Responding, “Have a plan to kill everyone in the room as quickly and effectively as possible” does not, apparently, break the ice.

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Like this, you’ll enjoy my snarky book Business Rules

Office Humor: Actual Workplace Quotations

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Over the last few decades I have made a point of capturing some wonderful quotes at work and documenting them.  Some are mine, others are from brilliant coworkers who shall remain nameless.  As I approach my early retirement (28 days, 4 hours, 48 minutes – but who’s counting?) I thought I would share some of these gems, if only for the humor-factor. Many of the guilty parties associated with these have moved on, though some still remain.

  • “We’re looking up the ass of the dead dog with fleas.”  We got this one from The Apprentice and it became the basis for this list.
  • “This must be the KY part of the discussion.” Blaine
  • “I’m not being critical, I’m being elitist.”
  • During a review of a promotion candidate:  “If he saw the ball on the middle of the field, he would pick it up and run with it.” “Okay, but what if we were playing golf?” Blaine.
  • This is a case of, “Lift and present.” What Blaine was told to do during a testicular ultrasound, incorporating the phrase at work. “Interesting slide deck, please, lift and present.”
  • “Any jackass can burn down a barn.”
  • “Why buy a dog and then bark yourself?”
  • “I do not wish to lie to you.”
  • “Words are important.”  “Some words are apparently more important than others.”
  • “She couldn’t find his ass with a flashlight and both hands.”
  • “Who be ‘we’?”
  • “We could line up 12 dead guys with him and he still wouldn’t be a rated a 5.”
  • “That was you…you moron?!”
  • “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.”
  • “Would you like syrup on that waffle?”
  • “It just seems a little evil…”
  • “We’ll decide that once we find someone to fart in Jay’s chair…”  I can only assume Jay had a gas issue.

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  • “Congratulations; so now what are you going to do?” In other words, you were successful, but that was in the past…like five minutes ago.
  • “One of our values is watching our backs.”
  • “That is one of the keys to our excess…”   He meant to say, “Success”
  • “JayFest 05” – The week of events leading up to Jay’s moving to a new role, including lunches, two cakes, and a self-planned party.
  • “Look, you could invent penicillin but if you are not on the list to get a 4 rating this year, you’re not going to get it.”
  • “It could be worse…no, wait, I was wrong.” Blaine
  • “Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.”
  • “I lost my sanity — my curiosity is all that’s left.”  Blaine
  • “Few things in life are solved with the application of another layer of management.” Blaine
  • “I honestly didn’t know that he was there for me.”
  • “What do you have to do to get fired around here?”
  • “May I say something?” “That depends, is it good?”  Blaine
  • “At the end of this you’ll be thanking us for solving this issue for you.”
  • “We have security through obscurity…” (I personally think this is a great T-shirt logo)
  • “We need to communicate the value of the bell curve in personnel ratings.” Here’s a hint, there is no value to the bell curve in ratings for the employee.  Duh.
  • “Add that to our ugly list.”
  • “What is that sound?”  “That’s the mower, I’m mowing right now.”  “I thought you were working today.”  “I am.”  “Look, if it involves grass at all, it’s not work.”
  • “It’s okay to play the role of devil’s advocate.  But if you don’t tell anyone you’re doing it, you’re just being an asshole.”
  • “We’re good at telling people what they should do not necessarily providing them with what they need to do.”
  • “He had a heart attack.”  “Gee, that’s hard to believe, given his lifestyle of, well, rich food.”  “Not to mention, sloth.” “Oh yeah, can’t forget that.”
  • “Whatever solution you use, think globally.”  “How, exactly, do I do that?  I mean we aren’t anywhere near done yet”  “You know, picture a globe…”
  • “Blaine, sometimes you are just evil.  90% of the time you’re good and productive, but 10% of the time you are evil-Blaine – you are disruptive, morale lowering, and corruptive.”  This was a manager wrongly accusing me of giving him anonymous negative feedback.  He was specifically told to not try and indentify the person that gave him the feedback, so he did the exact opposite of that.  PS.  Nothing inspires me more to write incredible negative feedback than to be wrongly accused of writing negative feedback.  More on this in another blog post.
  • “Good morning everyone.”  “I’m not so sure that I can commit to it being a ‘good morning’ just yet.  It’s still too early in the day.”
  • “Assigned to ‘Special Projects’?  Well I guess that entitles her to a small seat on the little yellow bus.”

Work2

  • “You’d think people would respond to a threat of fire a little more than ignoring it.” This was when Dell computer batteries were igniting.
  • “I have knowledge now — next month I should have more knowledge.”
  • “From my accountant’s mind—”  “You’re kidding right?  ‘Accountant’s mind?’ I mean, this is the sixth time I’ve explained Standard Deviation to you.” Blaine
  • “Guys, are we morons — or are we intelligent morons?”
  • “I think Blaine should do it all,” Bob.  “I think Bob is full of shit,” Blaine replied.
  • “Is “mis-remembering” even a word?”
  • “I will endeavor to find new ways to suck in order to be successful.” Blaine
  • “The list isn’t sorting.”  “Are you sure?  When I click on it it sorts.  It just doesn’t display the numbers in ascending or descending order.”  “Uh, that’s the definition of sorting.”  “Right–I can fix that.”
  • “I appreciate everyone responding vocally about the plan, that’s what this project is all about.”  “So this project is about being vocal???” Blaine
  • “I’ll send your name to the project manager to coordinate….  oh wait…  I don’t have one of those…”
  • “When the system goes down there seems to be some functionality that is lost.”  “Isn’t that what happens when the system goes down?”  Blaine
  • “If it involves grass in any way, it’s not work.”  Blaine to a manager about the annual golf outing.
  • “Do you golf?”  “I used to…then I wised up.”  Blaine
  • “It’s a Cannon and a Canyon.  They’ve fired a cannonball across the canyon and decided that is the best way to get across — regardless of the fact everyone is telling them that they need to build a bridge.”
  • “Technically we did deliver on time.”  “Sounds like the customer feels differently.”  Blaine
  • “If you’re calling to chew my ass, I want you to know that the line in front of you was long, distinguished, and they didn’t leave much.”  Blaine
  • Follow-on – “You’re currently suffering from noassatall.”
  • “Does anyone here think that a four minute response time is going to be a show stopper?”  “You are kidding, right?” Blaine
  • Blaine on Status Reporting:  “How can the development team be reporting everything Green and Yellow?  For God’s sake, they spent millions of dollars on an application that was rejected by the customer and the Americas CIO and is five months behind schedule.  I don’t think that’s all green and yellow.  There might be at least a hint of freaking orange in there!”
  • “You need to define ‘slow.'”  “My definition of slow is someone that has to ask the definition of the word, ‘slow’.”  Blaine
  • “He’ll build you the space shuttle when what you ask for is a toaster.”
  • “The way Mexico is acting lately, we call them, ‘South Canada.'”
  • “Is the global mail template really global?”  “That’s what the “global” part stands for.”  Blaine
  • “Blaine the recurring meeting you invited me to has sessions in the past.  Please univite me to the sessions that have already occurred.”  Blaine:  “Please disregard the sessions in the past.  You do not have attend them.”  Especially since that would involve time travel!!!
  • “Rubbing your forehead against a cheese grater would be less painful than dealing with them.”
  • “I’m thinking we’ll have (support) do a reach out to our 4000 users.”  “I think that call is above your pay grade,” Blaine
  • “When are they going to get this meeting started?” “When the other Mensa members show up.”  Blaine
  • “She needs to put down the crack pipe.”
  • “I’m confused – no, wait, I don’t care.”  Blaine
  • “Never before have so many, worked so hard, for so few, for so little.”  Blaine
  • “We are changing our staffing model…” Manager A – introducing a new way to say “layoffs”
  • “Today was a total waste of makeup,”
  • “I feel uncomfortable when things are normal.”
  • “There’s no accounting for psychotic…”
  • “…they’re not being laid off, they’re being co-sourced…”
  • “It’s all about the group grope…everyone has to have their say on everything.”
  • “They don’t need Quickr…they need Smarter.” Blaine
  • “Okay, who put the crazy juice in the NJ water supply this morning?”
  • “I’m sorry I’m late, I had a different idea in my head,”
  • “I would have been on the call but we’ve had a lot of rain lately.”
  • “It’s hard to picture her being happy without a bloody body at her feet.”  Blaine
  • “That will make the monkey jump…” “We’re making monkey’s jump?”
  • “Sixty-seven-percent of New Yorkers are depressed because the light at the end of the tunnel is Jersey”.
  • “She didn’t fall from grace – she jumped from grace.”  Blaine
  • “Let me check, you may be on the failure list.”  “We have a failure list?  It must be long.”  Blaine
  • “There’s busy, then there’s Don Busy.”  Don’s opinion of how much he’s working
  • “He’s a random force of nature. Like a fart in the wind.”
  • “We need one throat to choke.”  One of our illustrious leaders giving us another inspiring one-liner.
  • “It’s a horse in the back and a cow in the front.”
  • “What can you tell us that isn’t public knowledge?”
  • “We don’t have People First, we have People Strange.”  Blaine
  • “Apparently outside of work, I’m some sort of genius.”  Blaine
  • “A kick under the table can be an effective management tool.”
  • “We need to have a big pow wow in the wigwam.”  “That seems like it is insulting to some folks.”
  • “I feel like a kid that’s been thrown into the deep end without any floaters”
  • “Looks like they may have to dust off her coffin…”
  • “He’s not lying, he’s being economical with the truth…”
  • “I could pull of the Miracle on the Hudson and still not get a promotion.”
  • “Why is he on the call?”  “I told him this project was a shit-show.”
  • “Ideation?  Oh please…it’s more like flatulation!”
  • “Don’t let the angry thoughts in my head come out of my mouth as words.”

Please feel free to share this with your friends – or enemies/coworkers.

Wastes of Corporate Time and Money

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Over the holiday break, I started to think about work.  It happens to all of us.  I started to think about all of the things we do in the world of the Corporate Overlords that are wasteful – both in terms of time and money.  We do many of these, “because we always have.” We often don’t think about or even question the usefulness of the process.

So here is my list of things that are utter wastes of time and effort:

Year-End Department Reviews and Recaps.  Every company does this.  “What did we accomplish over the last year?” Hours are wasted putting together a reminder that management is claiming credit for all of the hard work that you do.  We all know what we accomplished and it is embarrassing that we have to document it for our leadership.  Way to motivate!

Defining What Services Your Team Delivers.  “We need to catalog all of the services we provide.”  If your team has to invest time detailing what services you deliver, then your team is not really needed.  Talk about an exercise in navel gazing.

Company Mandated Fun. Company picnics, happy hours, team bowling, etc.  It is bad enough that I have to go to work every day for 9-10+ hours, but for the company to expect me to show up after work…well, that is douchebaggery.

Regular Status Reports or Meetings.  Preparing status reports is useful if you need decisions to be made or if there are issues that need to be addressed.  Otherwise these are pointless cost wasting efforts. I include in this RAID meetings where the status of the risks never changes.

Annual Reviews Where the Manager/Counselor Cannot Influence Raises or Promotions.  Organizations love to keep salary information secret, because if we knew what people were getting paid it would cause rioting in the streets.  If you can’t tell me how I am compared against my peers and how that impacts my career and money; why do we need to talk?

Town Hall Meetings Just For the Sake of Having Them.  “We didn’t have a lot to tell you, but it’s been a while since we shoved PowerPoint slides down your throat.” Some managers mistake having these meetings as “leading.” Let me help you, it is not.

Rebranding (anything).  Rebranding rarely solves problems. Calling something by a new name does not fix any underlying problems that exist.  In fact, most things tagged with the word, “branding” are mislabeled and misunderstood. If anything, it adds to the confusion.

Communications Reviews. Nothing defines time-wasting like someone who sends around a message or email for review and input.  By the time you get eight people to contribute to anything, it is diluted and usually much longer than necessary.  No one has ever been fired because of a lack of proper sentence structure…just send the damn message.

Enforcing Company PowerPoint Standards. This screams “Hi, we’re here to stifle creativity!”  Companies like to box in innovation by saying, “Your PowerPoint decks have to adhere to our dull, boring, bland, and emotionless standards.  PowerPoint standards are pointless monotony in digital form. Yes, I understand that it is all about the company brand.  But you are also telling your customers that you don’t flex enough to demonstrate creativity.

Webcasts or Meetings With Live Audiences and Clearly Staged Questions.  We have all been there, when someone gets up and is clearly reading a prepared question. Save me some time – write that stuff down and email it to me.  Or better yet, don’t!

Timesheets for Internal Functions/Teams.  Timesheets are the bane of business.  I actually worked in one place that had a charge code for the time used to fill out timesheets.  Back office operations don’t need this.  We are not billable.  Our utilization is irrelevant for billing purposes. Having administrative activities fill out time sheets is an utter waste of time and effort.

Eighty-Percent of Live Meetings.  There are times, rarely, when a face-to-face meeting is needed.  Usually it is not.  More often than not these meetings are held so that people can rack up their frequent flyer/hotel points.

Creating Mission Statements.  I dedicated an entire blog post on this one.  Humorous Mission Statements ‘Nuff said.

Learning With Required Pass/Fail Tests. This does NOT prove that you understand the content.  It only proves that you have passed the test.  It doesn’t drive a bit of behavior.  And who was the moron that thought that 80% was a passing level?

Employee Satisfaction Surveys.  I am all in favor of doing surveys, if you intend to take the data and do something with it.  I took one for years where the results clearly pointed to issues with leadership. The actions that were taken were to educate us, the staff, because clearly we didn’t realize how awesome our leadership was.  The action that should have been taken was to fire some of those managers (or break their kneecaps, I’m pretty flexible here.) When they saw the results, most leaders spent their time either trying to track down who gave the negative feedback or to argue why the data was invalid.  “We were in the middle of reorganizing…so you can disregard the negative stuff.”  Morons.

Company Dress Codes.  I remember when the firm I work for allowed blue jeans on Fridays (only in the summer).  They called them dungarees.  Seriously.  Wow, talk about dating yourself!  Most offices, in a vain attempt to appear more hip to the millennials, have pretty much ignored dress codes…but for some reason keep them up to date.  It’s a pointless exercise at best – a wasteful one at worst.

Meaningless Compliance Exercises.  Annually you must read the code of conduct, then click on five buttons to acknowledge that you will follow it.  Nothing says trust like a forced reading assignment.  It also does not assure compliance, only that you acknowledged you read the material.  It’s akin to clicking on a software licensing agreement.  We all do it, but do any of us sit and read that stuff word-for-word?

Videos About Senior Leaders.  Look, if your ego is so big that you have to order videos created about how great you are, well, you’re a douchebag.

Providing Feedback For The Sake of Providing Feedback. Most feedback we get in the world of the Corporate Overlords is fluff…meaningless praise. People don’t want to give critical feedback because it upsets people and requires uncomfortable follow-up discussions and usually a dab of retribution.  Forced feedback accomplishes little.

Dashboards For The Sake of Having a Dashboard. If it doesn’t drive decisions, actions, or raise concerns…it is a waste of effort and time. The more graphic intensive it is, usually the more wasteful.  Can we only produce these monstrosities when there is a problem looming?

Meetings That Could Have Been Emails Instead. I traveled an hour and a half to attend a meeting that lasted 20 minutes.  That could have been covered in a two sentence email.  A lot of meetings are utter wastes of time.

Every Self-Help Diagnostic Tool or Bot Ever Written.  Memories of Microsoft’s talking paperback haunt my dreams.  Does this feel familar?  “Did this answer your question?”  “No”  “Why didn’t it? (Provide response in this box).  “Because it didn’t have the answer.”  “How would you rate this response?  “Do you have something below one star?”  I get it, robotics – automation.  It’s a cost cutting move. Write a bot, lay someone off.  I have yet to encounter a self-help tool that actually helped or provided a meaningful answer.

People Presenting Information in a Meeting by Reading to You The Slide They Are Showing.  “It may shock you Veronica, but I can actually read on my own.  I have been for years!”  If all you are doing is reading, you should not have been allowed to schedule a meeting.

Working Through Lunch. “I’ve ordered in food so we can work through lunch.”  “All that proves is that you are an asshat.  Oh, and how did you know what I wanted to eat?  Jackass.”  Most people can barely do one thing at a time well.  Eating and working – generally is non-productive. Why not let everyone step out for a half-an-hour to eat?  Is your productivity gain really worth that rubber-chicken-salad-sandwich-wrap’s cost? Also, I don’t want to watch other people eat – especially coworkers.

Any Trophy, Plaque, or Award and The Cost to Present/Ship Them.  The time for me to get awards was back in high school.  I have a box in my basement filled with hunks of plastic thanking and congratulating me on stuff that I have done or accomplished at work.  They mean so much to me I stuff them in a box. I swear, I will burn them one day.

Exit Interviews.  Seriously, has HR ever taken tangible action based on exit interviews?  These are designed for one thing – to ferret out possible lawsuits as an employee leaves – period.  Think about it, at that stage, it’s a bit late for action, isn’t it?

So what have I missed?  Please add in the comments.  Oh, and check out my funny book on work – Business Rules.

Office Humor – Corporate Training Classes That Should Exist

Training

I was recently looking for a learning course at work and was overwhelmed by all of the options.  As I scrolled through the titles, I realized that no one was writing courses designed for the real world.  Learning content seemed to me to be written for a perfect organization rather than the highly chaotic and disruptive places where many people work (not me of course, my company is perfect…wink wink.)

So I took at stab at putting together some titles that I think could and should be created for those of us slaving under the oppression of the Corporate Overlords.  Enjoy!

How to Not Be a Douchebag.  Includes techniques for not betraying the confidence of those working for you.  Purging your inherent douchebaggery is possible in three easy lessons.

Advanced Asskissing and Bootlicking.  Sure, everyone knows the basics.  This class will help you kick things up to the next level in terms of burying your nose in the ass-crack of upper leadership.

The Art of Stealing Credit For Others Work.  Work happens all around you.  How can you take advantage of that?  This class helps you tactfully imply that the successes others are doing are because of your divine influence.

Using Voodoo On Your Coworkers. There’s more to it than sticking pins in dolls, it is a lifestyle  choice.

Intermediate Stealing of Office Supplies. Anyone can take a stapler or a stack of sticky notes.  It takes real skill to dismantle an office chair and smuggle it out without anyone noticing.  Welcome to the world of Intermediate theft!

Training 2

Waffling for Mid-Level Managers.  Flip-flopping on decisions and direction is less of a managerial style and more of an artform.  This class will give you hands-on experience in not committing.

Teams – Crushing Them Isn’t Always The Answer.  Sure, stomping on the soul of your team seems like a source of entertainment – but it isn’t necessary.

Time Mismanagement.  Anyone can triple book their calendar, this class takes this to the next level.  Learn how to completely ignore the space time continuum in your managerial direction and decisions.

Meetings – You Too Can Start On Time! Starting a meeting on-time is respectful of those who show up and demonstrates good organizational skills.  In six easy lessons, you will learn how to read a clock, connect to a meeting (or just show up), start the meeting, read an agenda, and even end on time!

Reorganizations – You Can’t Be Reorganized if You Were Never Organized In the First Place.  When you reorganize, you are telling the team that the problems they faced were because of how they were restructured.  When you reorganize 5-12 times, you are telling them that the problem is you

Resisting the Urge to Micromanage…You Aren’t as Good as You Think You Are.  I get it, you have an urge to tell people how to do their jobs…but in reality, you should be telling them what you want them to do, not how to do it.

Micromanagement

Success! It DOES exist and you can measure it.   It may be hard to believe, but you CAN actually do things right.  I know, it surprised me too.  This course will help you know success when you see it, and track it.

Microsoft Outlook – How to Use the Scheduling Assistance Function.  As shocking as it seems, it is possible to schedule meetings that don’t conflict with others.  You will amaze other managers with this skill!

How to Not Use Reply All – Not Everyone Gives a Shit What You Think.  As shocking as it seems, using Reply All is not mandatory nor is anyone fooled into thinking that you are actually contributing when you click on it.

Using Your Town Hall Meeting To Hypnotize Your Teams.  You’re already droning on and on, this allows you to leverage this to get them to do more work, cluck like a chicken, whatever…

Doing What Your Commit To.  Saying it and doing it are, brace yourself, two different things.  This course exposes leaders to a new trend in business, actually delivering.  Learn how to avoid pointless and mind-numbing delays.

Creatively Abusing The Company’s Sick Time Policy.  Here’s 80 hours of time you should be taking full advantage of.  Learn that with Millennials in the workplace, you can claim “Mental Health Days” as sick time, and other tricks to buy yourself two weeks of rest.

Making Someone Else Accountable For Your Deliverables.  Why should you bear the burden of all that work?  This course will help you dump your workload onto others while still being able to claim credit for it.

How to Not Schedule Meetings During Employee Vacations of Outside of Normal Working Hours.  You do know we don’t work at 8pm at night, right?  This leadership-level course is designed to help managers understand what a typical working day is and how to tell if one of your invitees is on paid holiday!

Legally Threatening Your Staff.  Sometimes they just need a boot to the ass, don’t ya think? If you do that, you find yourself with HR.  There are a myriad of ways to threaten your staff that are legal though…let us teach you.

Believe it or Not It is Legal to  Present Without PowerPoint. You too can do a presentation without reading what you put on a slide.  This “innovative” approach to presentations focuses on the story you want to tell and the facts, rather than your insipid attempts at graphics.

Creating the Illusion of Busyness.  You don’t always have to be busy to look busy.  These simple techniques will make you look overloaded with minimal effort.

Shutting Off Your Phone – It’s Not Just For Vacations Anymore.  We get it, you want to create the illusion you are busy by coming to the meeting and being on your phone sending texts.  No one is buying it.  This class will show you where the off-switch is and how to use it.

Proving You Are Smarter Than Your Colleague.  It’s not enough to be smart, sometimes you need to rub their noses in it and prove it.  This class includes the effective, “Surround yourself with idiots,” or SYWI technique to ensure you can be the smartest one on the call or in the room.  These time-tested approaches will guarantee that no one will call you a dumb-ass – you’ll always be a smart one!

If you like these, check out my book, Business Rules, A Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords.

Office Humor – A Typical Day At Work

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I am always looking at ways to explore the culture of work and stretch my writing skills.  As such, I give you a typical day at work.  Now, this isn’t necessarily about me or the company I work for, but written to apply to anyone in any corp.  So plow on, share, and enjoy…

6:15am – Wake up and get ready for work.  Looking in the mirror, I ask, “Where did all of that gray hair come from?”  Oh, wait, that’s right…MY JOB!

6:45am – I work at home, so with no commute, I feel guilted into starting early.  People that work at home know exactly what I mean, that ever-present fear that someone will think you are goofing off if you are not online and available 9-10 hours a day.  I go downstairs to my desk and power up my PC.  It begins an update that I had not anticipated.  Sigh.

6:55am – Update finishes with a reboot.  Of course it does.  I go and get a life-affirming glass of Diet Mountain Dew (I don’t drink coffee)

6:59am – I fire up email.  Holy shitballs…where did all of these messages come from?  My favorite comes from a colleague in the UK.  The sent a message four hours earlier – now he is demanding for an update.  Apparently, ‘Well, I was asleep when you sent it, Dillweed…” is not the appropriate response.  Duly noted for future reference.

7:26am – Successfully finish deleting completely irrelevant emails that were sent to me by vendors who have the delusion that I make purchasing decisions in our company.  Silly vendors.

7:35am – Start reviewing and replying to those emails that are not part of some mind-numbing string of messages.

8:59am – Join first meeting of the day.  I notice I’m the only one on the call at the designated start time.  I check my calendar.  Where in the hell are the other 13 people? Has the call been cancelled? Immediately I think I’ve made a mistake.  Then I remember the people I work with.

9:12am – The meeting actually starts with eight people in attendance. The key decision maker is not on the call.  So why are we here?

9:13am – Bob pings me in Skype.  ‘I can’t join the call, can you pull me in?”  Suddenly I am tech support for this call.  Fucking Skype!  I suck Bob into the call.  Why am I being punished?

skype

9:18am – We pause the meeting to bring the key decision maker that just joined the call up to that point.  What an asshat.

9:50am – I ask “So what have we decided?  What are our action items?”  Someone in the meeting suggests we have another meeting to discuss these.  A tiny bit of my soul dies.  Sadly, three others on the call agree.

9:59am – I join my second meeting of the day.

9:10am – The meeting starts because a handful of people apparently can’t tell time. You see the trend here, right?

9:14am – Someone’s dog is barking in the background on the call.  So far the dog makes the most brilliant contribution to the call thus far.

9:18am – The PowerPoint being presented in the meeting is unreadable and confusing.  I secretly wonder if the presenter has gone off their medication. Her choice of graphics causes questions like, “Why is that box blue?”  Soon we are no longer talking about the subject, but how it is presented.  We are all dumber for having viewed her slides.  I mentally note that she is a candidate for promotion.

10:58am – Impromptu call from someone who cannot cut to the chase as to what they want.  Facepalm.  “For God’s sake get the point please…” My Diet Mountain Dew, which I desperately need, is just out of my reach.

11:15am – The moron finally gets to the point.  “I hate to tell you Bob, that isn’t my team’s responsibility.”  Bob hears my recommendation as to who to call, but tells me he is opting to ignore it.  It is akin to someone saying, “I’m going to ignore gravity today.”  “Bob – you gotta be you.”  That is 16 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

11:32am – My bladder is about to explode when someone pings me and calls.  They missed the call at 9am and want me to repeat everything we didn’t accomplish on the call.

11:44am – I have three minutes in the bathroom.  I need five minutes, but we all know by now that isn’t going to happen.  My computer is beeping in the other room. I try to ignore it, I really do.

12:08pm – I throw together “lunch” (a Pop-Tart and an apple) and sit at my PC, responding to emails that are trickling in.

12:22pm – My manager calls.  She has an “opportunity” for me.  It is work assigned to her that she feels should be assigned to me.  Oh, it was due two days ago.  “Is that a problem?”  Apparently that was a rhetorical question, she really didn’t want my response (which was both snarky and biting.)

12:39pm – I check Amazon – they do not sell time machines or fulfilling careers. Sigh.

12:40pm – I check a news website and there has been a workplace shooting in Ohio. I silently wonder if that is a viable option to the hell I find myself in.

12:44pm – I get an email response from a co-worker which confirms that he cannot read.  It takes a lot of restraint to not write back:  “I appreciate your response and answer – but I would prefer that you actually answer the question I asked you (below).”  I don’t type it because, well, we already established he can’t read.

12:59pm – I join my meeting.  After a late start – again, we spend five minutes trying to remember why we set this meeting up in the first place.  We eventually make something up.  Oddly enough, this is fulfilling.

1:20pm – Skype fails and we are all bounced from the call just as we are about to arrive at a solution. Fuck Skype.

1:28pm – We manage to rejoin the call in time to end it.

1:38pm – A friend rings me and we commiserate about our career choices.  Three new rumors!  At least two of these are pure bullshit.  The third one would have been frightening to me five years ago…now I am just numb.

1:40pm – A message about a reorganization in our department.  This is reorg number 387. “We might be able to get some work done if they didn’t keep changing who was responsible for it.” I read it carefully, looking for subtext, giving my leadership far more credit than they deserve.  Then I delete the last org chart, which I had already presumed was out of date when they published it.  They consistently believe that the problem is not their leadership, but how we are structured.  I guess number 387 is “the charm.”

1:43pm – My manager calls.  “That thing you have been working on…management has had a slight change of direction.”  All of the work I have done up to this point is worthless because of the ballless.  My manager attempts to convince me that this is a good thing.  I tear my stress ball in half, then calm myself with the knowledge that I get paid the same whether I’m doing something brilliant or idiotic.  Apparently they chose to pay me to waste my time.  Cool.

2:12pm – My second Diet Mountain Dew of the day. That ice cold can is my binky at this stage of the day.  It gives me hope, strength, and just enough motivation to stay logged on.  God bless the Pepsi Corporation!

2:18pm – Call from my manager.  “Have you started that project yet?  Well don’t.  We’ve had a strategic change of direction…”  I note her misuse of the word “strategic.”

2:20pm – I check Linkedin to see if there is someone hiring.  I find jobs but convince myself that those companies are as screwed up as ours is.  That, and I’m over 50 years old, and we know that companies don’t want to hire older employees.  Age discrimination is totally real, trust me.  I start thinking about a whole new career where I produce something tangible, something physical, rather than PowerPoint decks. It would be so nice to do something with my hands, if I had any skill other than writing (which, as you know by now, is questionable at best.)  Thinking about it makes me feel good for five whole minutes.

2:25pm – I actually start working on, well, work. The Europeans are heading home so the email slows to a minor torrent.  For we Americans, this is OUR time.

2:39pm – Notice from Information Security. They warn me to not open emails from sources I don’t trust. That should make work easy to do since I technically don’t trust anyone at the company – especially Information Security. Their very email causes a rift in the space time continuum.

3:00pm – A company webcast that is mandatory.  I have no idea why I am on the call.  I hot-key over and respond to emails that I received that were “Reply All” I’m so bitter at this point, I do the same. It is evil of me, and I embrace that.

4:00pm – Webcast ends. I receive a message from a friend, “Did I miss anything on that session?”  “No.  Honestly, it was more like a podcast for me – noise in the background.”

4:26pm – The torrent of emails subsides enough for me to go to the bathroom again.

4:40pm – Final sweep of the inbox occurs.  The two emails I didn’t respond to – they resolved themselves.  Winning!

4:48pm – I receive an invitation to a meeting at 5:00pm on Friday. “I’m sorry but it looks like it’s the only time open on everyone’s calendar.”  Duh.  There’s a reason for that, because we all want to go home. That “Winning!” feeling lasted exactly eight minutes.  Being a dick, I click “Tentative.”  Let her wonder if I’m going to show up or not.

Meeting

5:00pm – I check my schedule for tomorrow.  It eerily looks like todays.  I have a lot of emails to respond to and I think about working for an extra half hour or so to get through them.  Then I remember last year’s raise that I received and say, “Fuck it.” I’ve already had a ten hour day – there’s no way that another half hour is going to change things.

5:02pm – I go upstairs and see my wife.  “How was your day?”  “Same as yesterday.”  She hugs me and says, ‘I’m sorry.”

 

Did I miss anything?

Stages of Your Alleged Career – Entering The Triangle of Apathy

Career
That triangle above Disillusionment – that’s the Triangle of Apathy (trademark pending) 

Anyone who has read my book, Business Rules – a Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords, knows I am not a fan of the use of the word “career.”  While it applies in some specialty fields, in others it is a self-perpetuating myth.  People have jobs.  They desperately try and string jobs together to tell a story, but often it is a hot mess more than something that is cohesive.  Many people want careers, but in the real world, they have a job.

I have not mapped years to this because it varies for people.  Some people might burn through all of the stages in a matter of five years – some twenty.  Your results may vary.

So what are the stages of this mythical beast called a career?  Here’s my summary, for your reading entertainment.

Idealistic Stage.  You are young(er) with a twinkle in your eye and a bounce in your step. You believe that your long hours of hard work will be recognized and rewarded.  You go above and beyond to kick ass and takes names later.  Initially, it seems to work, encouraging more of this behavior.  Your first promotion or two creates the illusion that you are doing the right things to get ahead.  You confuse management with leadership at this stage.  Hell, it doesn’t matter, you are just happy to do your job.  There are a few older bitter employees, and you mock them openly because you see yourself smarter and more energetic than them.  Your “career” is not just about the paycheck, it’s about the challenge and the thrill you get as your learn new things.  The money is just as way for you to measure how well you are doing, like a ranking in a video game.

You find a specialty at work that intrigues you, and you become an expert in it.  It excites you to become the master of something.

When you go on business travel, it’s a party paid for by the company.  Your interests outside of work are limited because work seems awesome.  In fact, the things that make you happy and the relationships that seem to matter are all tied to your job and you don’t care. You identify mentors who you respect and they give you useful advice.  It is hard to imagine working anywhere else because the values of your organization seem to align with yours personally.

You are building your network in the organization…meaning you engage with many peers and form relationships that may help you in the future.  It is easy to do since many of you are just starting out.

Life is good because you can manage it.  Work and life get blurred, but that’s okay. You have a lifetime to sort that out.

Questioning State.  As you move higher in the organization, you notice that the behaviors that got you rewarded are taken for granted.  Upper management simply expects you to work long hours, they expect it from everyone.  You notice that some people that are promoted don’t share your work ethics or values.  Some advance because they are talented brown-nosers who kiss ass more than work.  You see people who advance based on technical skill rather than leadership capabilities.  Adding to this, the pace of promotions begins to slow down.

The company makes changes to your benefits and compensation and for the first time you question those changes. You notice that some people you respect either move on to other companies, or lose their jobs in one of the many reorganizations you start to experience/feel.  You see entire teams gutted, seemingly for no reason.  Still, you want to believe that the organization you work for cares about you – so you overlook most of these indiscretions, but a nagging voice in your head makes you wonder if you are a valuable member of a team, or merely a commodity.  You begin to ponder what your value is from the company’s perspective.

That thing you became an expert in…you realize you need more.  So you reinvent yourself, becoming an expert in another field.  For a short time that fulfills your joy, but it seems to fade fairly quickly.

The corporate rules becomes blurry and confusing as to what is expected of you as ambiguity becomes a competency.  You are confused by what you see, but cannot fully articulate what is happening.  You begin to question how the organization is run and who is leading it.

Money means a lot more at this stage of your career because you are more settled, have more responsibilities, and want/need more stuff.  You begin to notice that some people are treated better financially those others with bonuses and other incentives, and it bothers you because they are not distributed equitably.  It was probably always this way, but now you start to notice it more and ask, “Why?”  It’s not an overriding concern…yet.

You get to go to training, but much less often than earlier in your career.  It’s not for lack of desire, but there are always budget and timing questions that seem to block you.  You are hit with counters to your request like, “If you think you can afford to take three days to go to training in the middle of this critical stage of the project, go ahead.”  You become the bad person for even suggesting to take time off.

You still are working just as hard as you did, cranking up the long hours, but you are beginning to question if it is worth it.  Work-life balance starts to creep in as an issue.  You still travel without questioning whether it is needed or not.  You begin to question the bureaucracy and rules that you ignored earlier in your career.  Your pool of friends at work is starting to drain and it is harder to bring new people into that dwindling circle.

Disillusionment Stage. You feel as if you are a marked man or woman.  Your manager cannot tell you how to advance or grow in the organization because they are fighting to save their own phony-baloney jobs.  You see long-time friends and colleagues lose their jobs to downsizing, rightsizing, outsourcing, etc. When the promotion list comes out, it is something that infuriates and frustrates you.  “How could that imbecile get promoted and I can’t?”  There doesn’t seem to be any rules to follow or path to walk that can get you promoted.

You want to change jobs but the tentacles of your life and organization hold you tightly.  You have debt in life, you need to keep your medical plan, you don’t want to sacrifice your retirement plan by starting over at a new company, or you are so much older that other organizations won’t bother to interview you. (If anyone out there believes that age discrimination isn’t real, you’re a fool.)  Where you used to be comfortable with work and life blending together, now you want them separated.  You hate going on business trips at this stage of your corporate life because you have started to develop a life outside of work as a means of mental escape from the depressing grind that work has morphed into.

Training you want to take is expensive and the company refuses to send you…after all, why train someone who may only use those skills for the few years remaining in your careers?  At the same time, they ding you for not having the right skills.

The publication of the annual promotions list is a source of frustration and anger.  “How could they promote her?  He couldn’t find his ass with a flashlight and both hands!” are typical comments.  You are no longer sure what to do to progress or grow in your role because the rules are constantly in flux.  Despite this, people come to you to ask career advice and you do your best to help them.

Money plays a role here at this stage too.  You begin to compare notes with others and can see how you are not earning what you feel you deserve.  It makes you angry, but leadership brushes it off when you raise it with them.  “I can’t talk to you about what another person is making.” At this stage, money has become less of a necessity (you make enough) but more of a way to gauge yourself against others.

That network you built back when you were idealistic…it is dwindling.  RIF’s, layoffs, and outsourcing have cost some of your work-friends their jobs.  Some make sense, others seem random, almost arbitrary.  This has you wondering what leadership in your organization is thinking, if anything.

Your days are filled with PowerPoint slide decks and meetings to plan other meetings.  You think and speak in bullet points, even at home.  Vacation and holidays are often rushed, squeezed in between work deliverables, but deeply cherished.  You still check email while off, doing it in secret from your significant other.

In this stage you start to question business travel.  “Do I really have to be there live for two hours of meetings?”  You have a ton of points for hotels and airlines, but don’t seem to have the time to use them.  Your personal life seems suddenly to be more important than, “working for the man.” The things that make you happy are outside the office.

You are in an emotional prison, unable to move up in the organization, living in fear of layoffs, watching incompetent and unskilled people pass you by.  Your last mentor is contemplating suicide and blaming the company in the farewell note. As your company plays with your benefits, you feel powerless and impotent.  You won’t work an hour of overtime at this point; why bother?  Distrust in the organization is your default setting, and with good reason.

Your use of Linkedin supersedes your use of other social media.

Office 3

Survival Mode or “Shawshank Redemption” Stage. Less-than-subtle comments to you like: “We could hire three kids of out college for what we pay you,” or “I can move your job to India for a quarter of the cost,” are your “inspiration” at this stage.  You feel as if you have given the organization so much that you merely want to see this ride through to the bitter end.  That and you still cling to some of the values you had when you first started there.  You want to be back at the early stages of your career when you understood the rules of the game and it was fun to play.  You keep hoping that the leaders will go back to those ideals you cling to.

It helps to know where the skeletons are buried, mostly because you dug a lot of the holes over the years.

Your decisions are always weighed against, “Can they use this as an excuse to let me go?”  You have become that older prick you used to joke about in the organization.  Everything becomes clinging to the thing you have grown to hate, simply because it is a paycheck.  Your moments of inspiration and glimmers of hope are quickly squashed by others in leadership.

Vacations and holidays are seen as sacred time where you completely disconnect from work.  Money means less at this stage of your “career.”  This is more about survival.  You have been complaining of your pay for so long your expectations are appropriately low.

The publication of the promotions list has you seeing people there that you have never heard of.  Your personal network can be counted on one hand.  Many show signs of PTSD, having barely survived countless layoffs and reorganizations.  They are, for the most part, institutionalized – apparently trapped in their roles.

Your mentors have been all laid off, fired, or escaped.  Your circle of friends at work has shriveled to a handful. You actively work to avoid business travel because you have come to hate airports, hotels and people.  Work is a prison where parole consists of reductions in force. Each time the axe is swung you secretly hope you are on the list.  You know the layoff packages in your organization as well as your pension plan.

When there’s a workplace shooting on TV and people say, “I don’t know how that could happen,” you find you possess the answers.

If you look at the chart above, mapping your disengagement increase, your engagement at work decrease, and your salary, you can see that the optimum period comes during the disillusionment period in the small triangle you see on the chart.  I name this little spot the Triangle of Apathy…where you still care about work, but realize the futility of that caring.

Office Humor – Things to never put on your resume’, CV, or cover letter

resume

Thinking these things is okay.  Putting them in writing…not so much.  Enjoy!

  • Meet with me and prepare to be dazzled.
  • If you have read my resume’ to this point, clearly you recognize the talent I can bring to you and your team.
  • I am loyal to a fault.  Please feel free to contact me at my current work email or phone number.
  • I am available for interviews after 10:30am.
  • While my availability could be interpreted as having been fired or laid off; I want to assure you, my departure was completely voluntary and even if it wasn’t, I was not the only one affected.
  • When I leave my current position I am sure productivity and morale will drop dramatically, but I am willing to take that risk to join your organization.
  • On Resume’:  Career Goals – Work for a company not as screwed up as the one I currently work for.
  • I am willing to relocate, but only if you pay for it.
  • My current company promised rapid advancement, but never delivered, despite my protests on the subject.
  • I am in high demand so you may want to extend an offer based on my resume’ alone.
  • I feel bad about looking for a new role since the place will fall apart without my leadership.
  • My attorney and I look forward to your offer letter.
  • You may reach out to my current manager as a reference.  She is the one that encouraged me to pursue other opportunities.
  • My reason for desiring a new position is that my current employer refuses to recognize the brilliance I bring to the table.
  • I am content in my current role, but they refuse to promote me, despite my acts of personal heroism in the office.
  • I don’t come cheap.
  • I take teamwork seriously, even after hours.  I have played a pivotal role (cleric) in a Dungeons and Dragons party for the last six years of our current campaign.  If that isn’t teamwork, I don’t know what is.
  • On Resume’:  Accomplishments:  Earned over 450,000 Marriott points in the last year alone.
  • My reason for leaving my current role is that my employer is asking me to work unreasonable hours, such as starting at 8am.
  • This is your lucky day because today you have discovered me!
  • While I may lack all of the skills and experience you are looking for, I make it up with a can-do attitude!
  • The following are sample comments from my last performance review…
  • I am not bragging, but I could probably do your job more effectively than you do.
  • I am pursuing other career options at the time because my current company undervalues my contributions and have restricted our expense policy.
  • You are so fortunate to be reading this resume’.  I am sure you will be promoted based on the offer you are about to tender me!
  • I am pursuing a new company because I was not promoted when others, who were clearly inferior, were.  (Note:  If this was a good excuse I would be changing jobs annually.)
  • I am the kind of person that is always growing.  Last year I took over 195 hours of learning alone!
  • According to Google, your company would be a perfect fit for my personality and work style.
  • The hours I work are not nearly as important as what I bring to the table…something my current employer simply doesn’t understand.
  • After reading my attached resume’, you will realize that I have made your decision to fill this role easy and quick.  When should I start?
  • I am willing to travel as part of this position, but I won’t go to the following countries…
  • Once your meet me face-to-face, I’m sure you will wonder, “How did we get along before she got here?”
  • On Resume’:  Career Goals:  Work for an organization that compensates me for the brilliance I bring to the team, rather than silly things like profitability, billable hours, or delivering tangible work product.
  • I feel sad in looking for another job because my current employer is bound to go out of business without me.
  • I look forward to your call.  I have several questions about your company’s mission statement.
  • If this position doesn’t pay at least (insert dollar amount) then you do not need to read further.
  • I assume your company is pet-friendly.
  • On Resume’:  Career Goals – A salary consummate with the lifestyle I so richly deserve.
  • My involvement on a recent engagement persuaded the client to add three more staff to our team, just to assist on my deliverable!  Imagine what I could do for your firm.
  • Because of the demand for me, I will need a written commitment in advance regarding promotion
  • Before we proceed with your inevitable offer, I need to know the details on your medical benefits.
  • I see my applying for this position as a chance for you to live up to your company’s value statement.
  • My division lost less money last year than the other divisions because of my leadership.
  • Please use this phone number, not the one on the resume’.  That line has been disconnected.
  • On Resume’:  Hobbies include political protests that are against key social issues, macramé, visiting serial killer murder locations.
  • I am moving on in my career because my mother feels my current employer undervalues my contributions.
  • The gaps in my resume’ are no reflection on my work performance, a lot of people were laid off during those periods.
  • My staff often referred to me as “The Head Honcho” which tells you how influential I am.
  • I am pursuing a position with your organization because my mentor suggested that I am a solid fit for your company.
  • One of my strengths is I won’t compromise my values, unless you pay me enough.
  • On a Resume’:  Words used to describe me – “Dynamic, Innovative, Challenges Authority, and Undervalued by Leadership.”
  • Your days of searching for a perfect candidate are over!
  • Just to clarify, any images you find of my on the internet were NOT put there with my expressed permission.  I am seeking legal action against those who posted those photos and please do not hold those images against me during the hiring process.
  • My mother asked me to ask you the following question…
  • On a Resume’:  My low GPA reflects instructors that were sub-par and unreasonably early class start times.
  • If you don’t hire me, I encourage you to contribute to my favorite charity _______________.
  • You don’t want to look back five years from now and say to yourself, “I had a chance to hire that guy and didn’t.”
  • I don’t want to say I walk on water, but I can cross a lake without getting wet.
  • I am excited to see what your signing bonuses are and how they compare to the rest of the industry.
  • Because of legal reasons I cannot travel out of state or be available on weekends…but other than that, I’m your new go-to-guy.
  • While my title seems rather ordinary, I have been called, “the glue that holds this place together.”  So consider that in your decision making.
  • If you were to Google me you would see the phrase, “Anti-Authoritative Risk Taker,” which just about sums up what I can bring to your company.
  • In search of perfection?  I’d say you’d found it with this attached resume’.
  • I suggest you keep this introduction letter, because my autograph is bound to be worth a lot in years to come.
  • I am unavailable on weekends for work due to court-required community service.
  • I can save your company a lot of money in terms of recruitment – simply hire me right now based on the attached resume’!
  • Before we get too far, what is your company’s expense and travel spending limits?
  • Frankly I should be much further in my career, but my manager leaves a great deal to be desired.
  • It should be noted that several of my references are leaders in our industry.
  • My anger management instructor said I am the most improved in her class, which should count for something.
  • I am seeking a new career trajectory because I was falsely accused of telling the truth about the incompetence of my manager to her supervisor.
  • My ratings have been a three for the last few years, but in fairness, a three at our company is a five at other companies (per what we have been told by our leadership.)  So I’m basically a five…
  • I feel it is time for a move, and your company was the least objectionable option.
  • Resume’ Personal Information:  Weight, 197lbs, Height, 6 ft.  Able to bench press 230lbs, highest ranking team member of the Red Cobras Squad on Call of Duty 4.
  • I am currently pursuing a degree, so I will need to know your tuition reimbursement plan in advance of accepting an offer with your company.
  • Think of it this way, you are hiring someone who is likely going to be your boss someday.
  • I hope you can be flexible with interviewing schedules, my father wants to take part in those discussions and he is quite busy.

Like these?  Check out my book:  Business Rules: The Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords

What Everyone is Thinking (but not saying) About Your PowerPoint Presentation…

PowerPoint
And we all know how things turned out for Ned Stark…

I make no small qualms that I loathe PowerPoint almost as much as I hate attending mindless meetings.  PowerPoint has reprogrammed generations of people in business to think in poorly written, vague bullet points.  While some might argue that it makes us be concise, it reality it is a crutch for people that perform crappy presentations.  Some teams actually use PowerPoint decks as reading material…I guess Word was too complex for them.  Morons.  PowerPoint is to documentation what an abacus is to a computer.

I had a manager once, (She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named) who was so obsessed over PowerPoint, she was concerned about people reading them.  “What if this gets forwarded to the wrong person and they read it?”  So we had to create slide decks for this harpy-from-hell that could be understood if you knew nothing about the subject of the deck.  Seriously.  It wasn’t as if we had plans for making an atomic bomb in your basement in the decks we produced.  I have long suspected that she stupidly fretted over someone reading her material without her being in the room to bask in their praise over what she had produced.

I spend a lot of my corporate life in mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations under the guise of being productive meetings.  The majority of PowerPoint decks are mediocre at best, and at worst, they blow chucks.  I have actually started to shift to doing meetings without PowerPoint.  What I have found is that people are so conditioned to seeing the tool in a meeting that it confuses them when you don’t put up slides.  They get nervous and visibly uncomfortable – which I love.  “Aren’t you going to put your slides up?”  “Fu*k no.”  People have actually frowned at me when I tell them that I don’t want to use slides to make my point.  Presentation is an art form that has been corrupted by the evil programming elves at Microsoft.  This PowerPoint/mind-control is so sinister it could be a plot in a James Bond film.

Having vested much of my day-job in meetings under the dull glow of PowerPoint, it is time for me to impart some knowledge.  Let me share with you what people are likely to be thinking, but not saying, during your next sucky PowerPoint presentation:

  • Really?  Forty-six slides to make your point?   That many slides makes me wonder what you are really up to.   What are you hiding?  I’ll bet I can find it.  Game on!
  • Clearly what you define as important has no bearing in reality, as evidenced by your presentation.
  • You can stop reading me your slides.  If you were going to read them to me you should have just sent them to me in an email.  This may shock you but I learned to read years ago.
  • You said, “I’ll keep this short…”  and that was an hour ago. We all want to kill you and some are taking notes on how to do it.
  • We should make prisoners at GITMO sit through your presentation.
  • Pointing out that your slide is hard to read tells me you don’t care.
  • Based on your slides, you clearly worship Satan given that the devil is in the details — which is where you are taking us.
  • Your bullet points read like a drunken teenager’s text messages.  You seem to be a vowel or two short here.
  • A six-point font?  What is this, an eye exam?  Can’t you see we are all squinting?
  • If you are going to use clip art, at least don’t use 1992 quality clip art.
  • No, your graphic does NOT make your point clearer.  In fact, it achieves quite the opposite.
  • Making something bold and red insults me a little.  I know what is important.
  • When I read that slide I keep asking myself, “What is he/she trying to say?”  Even re-reading it leaves me confused.  A bit of my soul is dying inside me as a result.  I hate you.
  • I am not paying attention to what you are saying because your font choice is distracting me.
  • All of your arguments are invalid because of your spelling and grammatical mistakes on one slide.
  • Your use of graphics is making me cry on the inside.
  • Incorporating meaningless buzzwords and phrases does not help your presentation.  You’re not fooling anyone.
  • This all sounds peachy-keen – what does it cost?
  • Don’t blame the projector for your failure to organize your thoughts.
  • If I had wanted to read a book, I would have brought my Kindle.
  • It is hard to believe that we paid you to produce such a hideous slide deck.
  • This presentation is so dull, I am imagining innovative and creative excuses to leave the room.
  • I have done the math.  It is impossible to cover the number of slides you have left in the time we have allotted.
  • My four year old could have produced a better graph, and she’s limited to crayons.
  • Presentations like this is why I am on anti-depressants.
  • I wonder how much it cost us in your time and effort to put together this travesty of a slide deck?
  • Rarely has so much effort gone into presenting such a lie.  You should be congratulated – or shot.
  • I am waiting for the right moment to destroy your entire premise so that the audience will see me as the genius I believe myself to be.
  • It’s probably a bad time to let you know your fly is open.
  • If your graphic can’t fit on a slide, it’s not worth us looking at.
  • I love your material but your abuse of transitions between slides qualifies as a war crime.
  • We’re about due for someone to raise a meaningless point or analogy in an attempt to ruin the hard work you put in on this presentation.
  • If they had told me in business school that I would be doing this for a living (watching your PowerPoint) I would have pursued a liberal arts degree instead.
  • We are all silently curious…are you going to make a point sometime in the next hour or so?  Seriously, any point will do.  Just pick one…please!
  • Oh, I see you Bob – checking your watch.  We both want this to end.  Who in the hell still owns a watch? More importantly, what time is it?
  • If I could take a nap right now, I would. The fact that I am not asleep is worthy of a spot-bonus.
  • There are at least three people watching this presentation that will tear it apart just to be assholes.
  • Your illegal and unethical use of several copywrittten images only makes us hate you a little bit more.
  • Oh joy, you’re using an acronym that no one in the room knows.  You should know, it doesn’t make you any smarter.
  • Because you didn’t follow the company standard template for PowerPoint, I am ignoring everything you are presenting on.
  • It is only a matter of moments before someone questions the validity of your data.
  • My only concern with your presentation is that I wonder if I can muffle my fart – and if I do, can I muffle its smell?
  • Out of your 26 slides, there is only one that matters.  Why didn’t we just start there?
  • Do you realize that you have the wrong audience in the room (on the call) for the material you are presenting?  Do you care?
  • This presentation is all that is between me and a much-needed trip to the bathroom.  Please hurry…
  • As I watch you flip through these slides I cannot help but think that we need to improve our recruitment and hiring standards.
  • I should have had a friend send me a text so I had an excuse to leave this meeting.  Lesson learned…
  • This is an hour of my life I will never get back and will completely forget by the end of the day.
  • I can, and will, derail your entire presentation with a single question – just to prove I can.
  • My phone is vibrating in my pocket and that is much more exciting than this slide show.
  • It would be nice if you told us at some point what the purpose of this meeting is.
  • Please God, don’t let someone say that we need to have another meeting on this subject.
  • Nothing makes me more nauseous than someone saying, “I’ve run out of time, let me go through the last eight slides in two minutes.”
  • You didn’t build in time for questions?  You really thought your material would answer every stupid thing we could come up with?  Really?
  • Why are the boring presentations always scheduled for late in the day on a Friday?  Why are you always the one presenting them?
  • The colors you have chosen are making my eyes bleed on the inside.
  • It’s bad enough your slides are dull, but your droning makes me want to start cutting myself again.
  • The person you rehearsed this with lied to you…it sucks.
  • I am smiling at you only because it makes you think I care.
  • An appendix to your horrible presentation?  And it’s longer than the presentation?  This just became a homework assignment you douchebag.
  • If you’re going to deflect questions to the end – you’d better leave time to answer them.
  • Stop saying things like, “As you clearly can see…” or “This slide points out…”  Let me be the judge of what your slides say or don’t say.  Otherwise, why have me here in the first place?
  • Having our graphics team make a pretty graphic of your material is akin to polishing a turd.

 

Work De-Motivators – Things That Sap Morale in the Workplace

Dwight5

I have learned over the years more about de-motivation than actual motivation.  Usually I obtain this knowledge while fulfilling the role of “whipping boy” for less-than-able managers (not at my current employer of course!)  What I have discovered is that when you look at what kills motivation you often can gain the important knowledge – what DOES help spur motivation.  Bear in mind I’m work in Information Technology, so my perspective can be slightly skewed – sometimes more than others.

So, in an effort to expand our knowledge, here are my big de-motivators list – in no particular order:

Seemingly random decisions by leadership.  The word “seemingly” is important here.  It’s actually pretty rare when a leader makes a totally random decision.  There’s almost always some reasoning behind it – some context for the decision.  Often times though, I’ve found, that the decision is communicated and not the reasoning or context of why the decision was made.  Without understanding “why” something is being done, the only conclusion I’m sometimes left with is that the decision was made by pulling it out of their collective asses.

Cutting back training. I worked in the auto industry – so I understand what tough economic times are.  Yes, you do have to cut expenses from time to time – and training is the proverbial victim of this.  Training is one area I am sensitive too.  Training is a pact between the organization and the individual. Training individuals says, “We see you being around here for a while and want to optimize you.”  When training is constricted to the point where it isn’t happening – the effects on many people is that they don’t believe that the organization cares about them as individuals.

Leap before you look leadership.  “Any jackass can burn down a barn,” or so the old saying goes.  Making a decision without all of the pertinent information can sap a team’s motivation.  I have seen current management buzzwords about “fail forward,” where people are willing to make mistakes to learn from them.  This kind of thinking creates the illusion of innovation, when in reality it is frustrating to the staff.

Analysis paralysis.  The opposite of leap before you look – this de-motivator is a lack of decisions making.  Sometimes the decisions are easy to make – but analysis paralysis is a major drain on the energy of an organization.  The quest for absolute perfect knowledge and buy-in is often the same as not taking a stand at all. Managers who constantly look for more data are often fearful of making the right decision.

Promotions that seem…well, crazy.  We’ve all been there when the promotion list comes out and we say, “What the hell?”  When promotions are given out to, well, morons of individuals whose only competency is killing senior leadership’s butt…it can be highly demotivating.

No apparent roadmap of where we are going.  I am most effective when I know what I am working towards.  I don’t need all of the details, but I like knowing a little bit of the end-state vision.  When I understand how my work gets us all further towards a goal – I get a sense of satisfaction.  Pretty simple really.  When I have no idea what the goal is I have no idea whether I am part of the problem or part of the solution.  Managers who say it is not about the destination, but the journey, are just deflecting that they don’t know where they are going.  Have you ever taken a family driving vacation, with the kids, in the summer, with no destination in mind?  In fact, a lack of vision can lead people to not take any steps at all out of fear they might be doing the wrong thing.

The Teflon Factor with leaders.  When presented with an issue or problem, a good leader will take an active role in resolving it.  A de-motivating leader will look to his or her team and say, “You people all have a problem.”  Accountability is a critical element of motivation of teams.   People look to managers/leaders to be in the same boat they are.  Managers that deflect issues down to their team erodes motivation of those teams.

Rewards and recognition applied unequally.  A messed up rewards and recognition system has the exact opposite of its intended purpose.

Conflict avoidance.  Some managers harbor the illusion that all conflict is bad.  That’s not true at all.  Conflict can often be protective.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but sometimes it forces people to deal with organizational or people issues that have to be resolved for the team(s) to grow.  Dodging conflict, ignoring conflict – these things drain organizational energy.

An attitude of, “You should be thankful you have a job…”  That’s odd, I thought I had a career?  When under pressure, some managers resort to the attitude of, “you’re lucky we keep you around.”  First off, let me tell you if I feel lucky.  Secondly, nine-times-out-of-ten when someone has told me I’m lucky I have a job – I feel quite the opposite.

Micromanagement.  There are times we all need a little direction…well, all of you…frankly I’m good.  Seriously though, some “leaders” think that leading means telling everyone how to do their job.  Most employees don’t need that.  They need a manager to run interference for them, remove obstacles, not tell them what color to make a Times Roman font in PowerPoint so that it stands out.

My purpose was not the come across negative…snarky, yes, negative, no.  If you look at this list you can see some gems on what provide motivation – the exact opposite of these:

  • Provide teams with concrete decisions and why they were made.
  • Invest in your people (train them).
  • Make informed decisions.
  • Make timely decisions to respond to the business.
  • Lay out a convincing and compelling vision of where the organization is going
  • Leaders need to hold themselves accountable to their teams.
  • Apply rewards and recognition fairly and proportionally to the value of the work being rewarded.
  • Employ constructive conflict techniques to resolve issues.
  • Let employees tell you (and the rest of the organization) that they are glad to be part of the team.
  • Tell your people the results you want and let them amaze you as to how they do it.

Thoughts?  Rebuttals?  Recriminations? Did you like this?  Go read my book, Business Rules, The Cynic’s Guidebook to the Corporate Overlords.  (Catchy title eh?)