Archive for February, 2009

There’s one common issue in every office I’ve ever worked in…

It’s not the gossip, not the office romances, not the stereotypical boss from Hell.

It’s the endless debate about whether the office is too hot or too cold. And it’s no different here at Hamish Industries.

There are two warring factions: the “it’s too hot” crowd and the “it’s too cold” clan.

The “it’s too hot” crowd sit and fan themselves with file folders. They talk about the sweltering heat. They use the phrase “modern day sweatshop” a lot.

The most radical members of this group are mostly overweight. Or menopausal. Or both.

The “it’s too cold” clan pile on extra sweaters, have blankets draped over their laps and desk-side electric heaters. They talk about Hell having frozen over.

The ultra radicals in this clan tend to be skinny and live alone with their stuffed cats.

It got to the point where there was an ongoing battle between the hots and the nots.

The hots kept cranking up the air conditioning until you could see your breath. The nots would then fire up the heat and turn the office into a tropical rain forest.

Pretty soon, people were standing guard at the thermostat – defending the current temperature. The others would lie in wait and as soon as the guard left their post – BANG – a 40 degree temperature shift.

Ultimately, Clark stepped in and laid down the law. He set the temperature at 70 degrees and locked up the thermostat.

No one’s happy but it stopped the arguments.

In fact, the hots and the nots are getting along better now… Now that they have a common enemy in Clark.

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There are 136 emails in my inbox.

No problem, I can deal with them all in under five minutes:

136 emails.

I instantly delete all “forwarded jokes” sent to me by Mary Margaret. That leaves:

107 emails.

I delete all duplicate emails forwarded by people who don’t know how to read distribution lists. They start with the line, “not sure if you received this…” So now I have:

83 emails.

Next, I quickly delete all emails relating to social events, workplace wellness, lost eyeglasses, found eyeglasses, and complaints about old food found in the fridge. So it’s down to:

64 emails.

From there, I delete all emails from Otto. Just because he drives me around the bend. Okay, I’ve got:

57 emails.

After that, I lose corporate emails that contain information not relevant in any way, shape or form to my actual job but which are sent to everyone in order to be inclusive, transparent and share information. I’m at:

39 emails.

Next, I quickly scan the balance and delete the emails from my colleagues providing sarcastic comments on other emails. I looked for lines like “Can you believe Clark expects us to do this???!!” That takes me to:

7 emails.

Finally, I delete the ones with subject lines such as “My humble request for your loyal assistance” and “Buy the #1 diet pill!” Leaving me with:

1 email.

It’s from my mom. I’ll read it – if I know what’s good for me.

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The Goth Kid from the mailroom walks up to me and says that if I’m interested, his band is playing this Friday at a club called The Turning Point.

I say “Great.”

Hope that’s noncommittal enough.

I think his name is Clarence…

Okay, Goth Kid is known as “Mark.”

The name of his band… Mark and The Stigmatas. That’s a little on the nose, I think. Still, it’s nice to see Goths having fun with words.

Time to Google.

Nothing on Mark and The Stigmatas. Plenty of stuff about “Mystical Stigmata” and lots of “Unexplained Stigmata Discussion Forums.”

(Hmm, I should probably get back to work…)

According to Naline, the club that Mark’s playing, The Turning Point, is a “total hole” where beginner bands gig… Apparently it’s known as The Learning Point.

Nutless Tom says that he once got “suckered” into seeing Mark and The Stigmatas at The Learning Point and that I should avoid the club’s toilet – at all costs.

He also says Mark’s band stinks way worse than the club’s toilet. 

I decide to tell Mark that I’ve got a family thing happening this Friday.

A second visit from Mark. His band just broke up. Apparently it’s all the lead guitarist’s fault. That sounds legitimate.

He looks despondent. But then again, he is a Goth…

Mark sticks a homemade Mark and The Stigmatas CD in my hand. He says, “Let me know what you think, man.”


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So, I Googled Otto…

My guess: He makes up 90% of the web’s content.

He’s LinkedIn, on Facebook, MySpace, etc…

But where he really has a presence is on the comment boards.

He goes by many Otto pun aliases… Otto-bon, Otto-mobile, Otto-maton, Otto-code…

All of them link to Otto@HamishIndustries.com

Otto-cracy, Otto-type, Otto-matic …

There are more, but you get the idea…

He has opinions on astrophysics, video gaming, fly fishing. I’m not sure any of them make any sense… I’m just saying he has lots of opinions.

He has 12 Blogs.

My favourite entry was from his business blog: “Otto’s Top 5 Successful Office Networking Tips.”

1.   Treat All Events as Networking – From borrowing money from relatives to getting a haircut. It’s all networking!!!
2.   Be Positive – Remember, you’re the best. Now get out there and meatwork.*
3.   Small Talk, Small Talk, Small Talk – Learn stock phrases like, “Sounds good.” And “Let’s do this on the move.” Watch the sales roll in!
4.   Business Cards are KEY – Leave them in phone booths, pass them out at the line-ups in Wendy’s, stand on street corners handing them out like leaflets. You need to “be out there.”
5.   Nestwork** – Talk to 200 new clients a day. No excuses. Do it!

This is pretty rich. Especially when you consider that everyone here pretends to be on the phone when Otto walks by.

*I think this is a typo.
**Again, likely a typo…I think.

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Farook from Accounting doesn’t subscribe to the whole notion of small talk. Or, it would appear, hard work.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him working. He seems to be one of those people that put all of their effort into looking busy rather than actually working.

To me, that always seems like more effort that just doing your job.

Farook is good at acting busy. And as of today, I understand why.

Because today I “Googled” Farook.

And today I discovered that Farook from Accounting is active in community theatre.

And when I say “active” in community theatre, I mean “really” active.

I’ll admit it. I was surprised.

I watched a YouTube clip of him as Willy Loman and Biff in a no budget production of Death of a Salesman.

Farook has an unusual acting style. He mostly screams. And his hands never stop moving. He did a lot of mini karate chops.

It was very entertaining.

Farook also wrote, produced, directed, and starred in his one man musical show Pirates Of The Office Pen.

The video of him singing “I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major Accountant” has to be seen to be believed.

The most amazing thing is that he’s got to be the world’s only writer, actor, singer, producer and director who doesn’t talk about himself at the office.

And that’s a talent.

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I admit it. Curiosity got the best of me. I couldn’t help myself.

I had to find out if any of the people I work with have any kind of “web presence.”

I wanted to find out more about them without actually having to talk to them.

The results were… Interesting.

Typhoid Mildred.

Not surprisingly, Mildred isn’t heavily into the whole social networking aspect of the World Wide Web.

She’s not LinkedIn, there’s no Facebook or MySpace page for Mildred.

And if I said “Hey Mildred, can I Twitter you?” she’d probably kick me in the nuts.

I doubt she even has a computer at home. Mildred calls the one she has here a “typewriter.” I take that as a pretty good indication she’s not all that “tech savvy.”

But her name does come up as a member of the local Robbie Burns Appreciation Society. The other members are Maggie and Molly.

It’s a small group.

Curious bit of trivia: All three members of the local Robbie Burns Appreciation Society are women whose first names start with the letter “M.”

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