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Archive for January, 2009

measuring1a
9.01am:
Arrive at work to find Farook from Accounting measuring my cubicle. He looks trapped. Trapped in my cubicle.

I say “Good morning, Farook.”

He says my cube is 3 square inches wider than his. And that I’m late.

I was hoping for “Good morning, Alan.”

10.14am:
Email from Farook. We need to talk about my cubicle. Something about “favoritism” and “standards.”

Oh-kay…

10.15am:
Farook arrives at my cubicle. He asks if I got his email. I say “Yes.” He sighs painfully. I smile politely. He storms off.

10.45am:
I’m in the bathroom. Next thing I know, Farook is standing behind me. He demands to speak about my extra 3 inches. I suggest this might not be the appropriate venue and zip up quickly.

10.57am:
Farook enters my cube and takes some digital photos.

1.01pm:
Back from lunch to discover Farook in my cubicle with Trudy from Human Resources and my boss, Clark. Clark looks tired and annoyed. There is a lot of measuring and debate.

2:09pm:
Email from Farook telling me that none of this is personal. He trusts I understand.

2:45pm:
Memo from Trudy. Customer service cubicles are being reconfigured due to “irregularities.” Workers arrive Monday. We are advised to box files, disconnect computers and be prepared for minor inconveniences next week.

4:21pm
Revised floor plan arrives from Trudy.

4:22pm
Near riot as staff argue about changes to the cubes. Typhoid Mildred calls Farook a “bleeding eedjit.” Nutless Tom laughs. Mary Margaret cries. Otto demands to be moved closer to the washroom. Pandemonium ensues…

Turns out the only two who aren’t affected by the move – me and Farook.

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snow-day
We had two feet of snow yesterday.

In response: An email from our friend in Human Resources, Trudy Cousins.

She advises us that it often snows in the winter.

Thanks, Trudy. Anything else?

We are also told that heavy snow storms can result in challenges for employees getting to work.

Annnd…?

Trudy just wants to remind us that in the event of a severe winter storm, we are still expected to make every reasonable effort to report to work.

She also provides simple tips that will help us get to work while the rest of the free world is following the police advisories to stay off the roads except in the case of medical emergency.

Her tips include:

If you know a storm is coming, give yourself extra time for the morning drive
Purchase quality snow tires
Pack a shovel and blanket in the trunk of your car

I wonder what advice she has for getting to work during a nuclear attack…

If your car is vaporized, give yourself extra time for the morning walk
Purchase a quality radiation suit
Duck, cover and roll to the office

I called Trudy to find out policy on an insurance issue. But apparently she left early.

Guess she wanted to beat the traffic home.

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cats-in-hats_edited-1
I needed to borrow a stapler. I asked Mary Margaret, the woman with braces and the white streak in her hair. She giggled. And then she leant me one.

That was that… Right?

Wrong.

When I got back to my desk there was an email joke from Mary Margaret. The subject line was “Spineless Chiropractors.”

Then, another email from Mary Margaret. Attached was a video. In it, a fat old man was singing that he doesn’t “look good naked anymore.” I had to agree.

Then I got another joke email from her… And then another… And another…

Mary Margaret is a joke forwarder.

I just wanted to borrow a stapler.

She just sent me a JPEG of cats in hats. Not one cat. Not two cats. But ten cats. Ten cats in hats.

Great, now I sound like Dr. Seuss…

She just sent five more!

I keep deleting. They keep arriving.

What circle of Hell do they “write” these things in?

Subject: “FW: What goes tee hee hee and then explodes?”

I hope the answer is “Mary Margaret.”

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blue-triangle450
We had a “team breakaway” this morning.

It wasn’t my boss Clark’s idea. His notion of a breakaway would be to bus us all to another state and never look back.

It came from Trudy in HR. So it’s a corporate thing.

We started off by playing a game called “Mine Field.” Stuff is scattered on the floor and you have to “guide” your blindfolded partner through without blowing them up.

I worked with Farook from Accounting. It didn’t go well.

I told Clark that he’d have to write a letter to Farook’s parents explaining that he died valiantly in battle. Clark didn’t laugh.

Up next, we had someone come in to do our “True Colors.” It’s a very precise psychological test that is premised on the theory that human beings can be broken into one of four colors. Apparently we’re not as complicated a race as we like to think. I’m “Blue.”

After our colors were accessed it was time to find out what kind of “geometric shape” we are. I’m a “triangle.”

Most people are “square.” As a collective, they’re pretty pleased about it.

When I questioned the validity of labelling people as specific colors and shapes, Typhoid Mildred called me a “narrow minded little triangle… And a blue one at that!”

We ended with “Trust Exercises.”

I was partnered with Otto. I don’t trust him and he doesn’t trust anyone. We both agreed we weren’t going to do them. I think it’s the first thing Otto and I have agreed on.

Baby steps…

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give-endlessly-450
My coworkers have tried to sell me chocolate bars, girl-scout cookies and bags of mints. I’ve been asked to sponsor walk-a-thons, dance-a-thons and caber toss-a-thons…

(The last one was Typhoid Mildred. I think she was pulling my leg.)

This puts me in an awkward situation.

If a stranger shows up at my home asking for money to support homeless, unwed, crack addicted, bunny rabbits, I can say “thanks, but no,” shut the door and go back to my TV.

And I can do it relatively guilt free.

But when it’s my boss, Clark, asking me to donate to his daughter’s track team – not the same deal.

It feels like… extortion. Career limiting extortion.

The problem is that if you pay, you’re a mark.

That means parents from cubicles far and wide will swoop down on you with cookies and sponsor forms.

And if you don’t pay, you’re a bastard. A bastard who hates children.

But I have a solution. These kids need cash for school equipment, trips and recreation? Okay. We should all have a small amount of money deducted from our paycheques and put aside for this.

We could call it… I don’t know… Taxes.

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alan-truitt-business-card-4501
When I arrived at work today, I found a box of 500 business cards sitting on my desk.

I’ve arrived.

The cards say Alan E. Truitt, Customer Service Representative. I had asked Trudy in HR for Alan E. Truitt, Super Genius.

I knew there was no way. But still, I was hoping…

To be honest, I’m not sure what to do with the cards. We only get out of the office three or four times a year and that’s for internal training sessions. So at best, I might be able to get rid of six a year.

That means it’ll take me 84 years to finish the box.

That’s depressing.

Frankly, I was hoping to be promoted out of here in the next 2 to 3 years.

Typhoid Mildred told me that she has over 20 boxes in her office. Every time the company restructures, changes ownership, or logo, a new box arrives and she tucks it away. Never had a reason to use one.

That is even more depressing.

I asked Otto if he wanted to trade some. Like baseball cards. He told me he’s already on his third box – and can’t spare any on the likes of me.

He didn’t say what he’s doing with them.

My guess is that he leaves them in phone booths, passes them out at the line-ups in Wendy’s, and stands on street corners handing them out like leaflets. According to Otto, you need to “be out there.”

Otto is undoubtedly “out there.”

I sent one to my mother. She likes that kind of stuff. Only 499 to go.

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