Archive for April, 2009

So, my boss, Clark, “volunteered” me to be part of our corporate “spirit” committee.

Call us “Team Spirit.”

I went to my first meeting today.

The name “spirit” is fitting. Most of the committee look like they’ve been dead for a long time.

That’s probably because we were all forced to participate and no one has any interest in it… Or any actual spirit…

There was one exception to this rule: Trudy from HR. She’s chairing the whole thing.

Trudy has lots of energy and lots of ideas. In fact, she is the spirit committee. The rest of us are just mismatched window dressing.

Her first decision was to launch an employee recognition program.

Trudy suggested we call it The First Annual Hamish Awards.

No one objected. Or seemed to care…

Trudy called for nomination categories. Things like best customer service, best team building, innovations, leadership…

All the usual suspects.

She said “Who wants to kick this puppy off with the first nomination?”

There was a collective groan.

Then someone yelled “What? No way! Look, I was told that all I had to do was show up and pretend to be interested.”

Gotta admit, I was pretty surprised it was me.

Guess I’ve got more spirit than I realized.

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Three little things…

Number 1

Mary Margaret and Jack from Payroll are unlikely friends.

They work in adjacent cubes. Despite the fact that they sit within 8 feet of each other, they call each other and talk on the phone.

I hear both of them speaking. I also hear their voices coming through their phone lines. So I hear it all in surround sound.

They must think that because they’re talking on the phone no one else can hear them… But they’re pretty loud. And their chats can get very personal.

I found out today that they think Naline is a slut, that Farook is hording paper, and that I can be “a bit of a knob.”

Number 2

Farook turns on his email “out of office” reply when he goes to lunch, or a meeting, or the bathroom. He turns it on and off about 30 times a day.

Number 3

Otto has a habit of sending me emails and then running to my desk immediately afterward and telling me that he sent me an email. He then tells me what he wrote in his email before I can read it.

I sent him an email today telling him to stop sending me emails and then running over to tell me what is in the emails before I open them.

Then I ran to his desk and told him that I sent him an email asking him to stop sending me emails and running over to my desk to tell me what is in them before I can open them.

…I’m learning.

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9.15am: Mike enters my cube. He sits on my desk. He shows me a picture of his daughter. He calls her “My little angel.”

She looks around 17 and has a cigarette hanging from her mouth.

9.30am: Mike’s still talking about his daughter. Along with being his little angel, she’s also whip smart, funny as hell, a high school dropout and pregnant.

9.41am: Mike leaves. Apparently he has to take an El Grande Dumpo.

9.57am: I hear Mike yelling “Don’t go in the men’s room! I just dropped an El Dumpo Supremo!”

10.15am: Mike asks me if I want to go “power drinking” with him tonight.

I politely decline. We have the following conversation.

Mike: Come on!

Me: No thanks.

Mike: Come on!!

Me: Maybe some other –

Mike: Come on!!!

Me: Not tonight.

Mike: Puss-y!!!!

11.16am: Mike enters my cube. He tells me he used to do well with the ladies. He spares me no details.

11.58am: Mike says he’s going to get his coat and then “we’re having lunch together.”

12.pm – 1pm: I hide behind the bank of photocopiers and eat my lunch. No sign of Mike.

1.42pm: I watch Mike steal a handful of change from the coffee kitty. He sticks the coins in his pocket, scratches his balls and laughs.

2.57pm: Mike says, “There you are. Come on. I’m going for a smoke break.”

3.19pm: I don’t smoke. But now I smell like I do.

4.00pm: Email from Mike. It says we’ll start tonight’s power drinking at a place called Strippy McNudes.

4.43pm: I leave early. As the elevator doors close behind me, I hear Mike shout out “Puss-y!”

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The long awaited email from Clark arrived today asking us to submit our summer vacation requests by the end of the week.

And, of course, every single person wants the same two weeks in July.

You’d think this might be tough for Clark. That it would require some hard decisions and skilful negotiation.

But no.

In a brilliant display of post-modern management, Clark made it clear that he expects us, as a group, to “work out” our vacation requests before they’re submitted so that no more than two people are away at one time.

You have to give Clark credit. He’s yet to meet a management decision he hasn’t been able to avoid.

Our efforts to “work out” our holiday schedule quickly went downhill.

Tears, tyranny, and blackmail.

…We finally agreed on a lottery.

I got two weeks in June.

Most everyone else just got angry.

Typhoid Mildred shouted “Right. I’m speaking to Clark!”

We marched to his office, shades of an angry mob.

But when we got there, Jason, his latest admin assistant told us that Clark couldn’t be disturbed.

I looked in Clark’s office and watched him working on his golf swing.

He’s planning 3 weeks off in July and I guess he needs to get in some early practice.

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My boss, Clark, used to be in sales.

Based on my meeting with him today, you’d never have guessed.

This morning I walked by his office. He was on the phone. He snapped his fingers to get my attention. Then he waved me in.

After he hung up, he told me he needed a favor.

Apparently there’s a corporate “spirit” committee. Their mission? Find ways to boost employee morale.

Turns out it’s mandatory that every division have a rep on the committee.

Clark suggested that I should be our volunteer mandatory spirit rep.

He “sold” it by saying his hands were tied and as far as he was concerned it was all a colossal waste of time. Then he gave me the “hard sell.” I had no choice and at least it would get me out of here a few hours a month.

I believe the term is “voluntold.”

When I asked “Why me?” Clark looked pained.

I realized it was because I was walking by his door as he was getting his spirit committee orders.

But Clark used to be in sales. So he told me that he wanted someone who wouldn’t embarrass him… too much.

At this point, I think he sensed that his pitch was lacking “spirit.”

He tried to rally. He told me that I wouldn’t need to do anything, just show up and pretend to be interested.

Then he said “You can do that. Can’t you?”

…And so I’m now the customer service rep on the spirit committee.

My first suggestion to improve morale? Employees should avoid walking past their manager’s doors.

Go team!

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Today I shared an elevator with Carlita Paonessa.

Just the two of us.

Ironically, that was the Muzak playing as we were going up.

3rd Floor
I say “Hello.” Carlita checks her blackberry.

4th Floor
She looks up and says “It’s Adam, right?”

5th Floor
I say “Alan.”

6th Floor
I scratch my head.

7th Floor
We both cough at the same time.

8th Floor
I say “So, I hear you’re re-branding our website.”

9th Floor
She says “Not any more. Clark canceled the project. Christ!”

10th Floor
I say “Oh. What are you working on now?”

11th Floor
She laughs strangely. “Good Question.”

12th Floor
Carlita shakes her head and says “Idiots.” I nod but have no idea what she is talking about.

14th Floor
I say “Do you think they’ll ever bring back the 13th floor?”

15th Floor – 20th Floor
Uncomfortable silence.

21st Floor.
She says “Look, Adam. Let’s just keep this conversation between us. Okay?”

21st Floor
I say “Alan.”

22nd Floor
She says “Right. Sorry. Whatever. But just between us. Yeah?”

23rd Floor
I say “Okay.”

24th Floor
The doors open. We walk out. I go left. She goes right.

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