Friday, October 31, 2008

OCT 31 – Not just another day in the office

Not everyone is a fan of Halloween. Just look around my office and you will see a smattering of people who either just plain don’t like the holiday or think they are above dressing up in an inflatable Dutch Girl costume and skipping to the copier.

But there are enough of us here that appreciate the holiday to make this a semi-special day. Actually, it has been a pretty interesting week full of favorite moments for me which I will now share with you.

Favorite comment – A co-worker of mine who thought about dressing up as a pimp but kept making a crack about she has no money for her hos. Apparently she does know much about the pimp/ho dynamic because the money usually travels the other way.

Favorite Costume – The co-worker who came dressed as another co-worker. It was very Jim/Dwight and totally worked.

Favorite Irony – HR gave everyone a carmel apple. You know, the department that runs our dental coverage.

Favorite Pumpkin – Each year we have a pumpkin carving contest. I am not going to lie, I like mine this year. I did a puking pumpkin. Sure, it is not the most original but it made people laugh. I came in second last year. We’ll see how I do this year.

Favorite Diabetic Moment – When before noon I realized I had eaten a cupcake, donut and a slice of Ice Cream Cake. Wilfred Brimley take me away…

Favorite Randomness – A coworker dropped a bag of organic produce from his farming co-op off at my desk. (he does this every once in a while) But it made those who sit around me wonder what the hell was going on.

So to everyone who reads this, have a Happy Halloween and remember, dressing up like Sarah Palin or the Joker is not cool. But dressing up as Sarah Palin as the Joker has potential.

~The Office Scribe

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Interns – aka – Acceptable Child Labor

We received an e-mail this week about how my company is being affected by this horrific economy (which I, personally think is a myth since I ran out to the mall to buy some 69 cent crepe paper last night and couldn’t find a parking space). It basically said how we are off our revenue goals so to ultimately protect ourselves they have enacted a hiring freeze and none of us are getting raises or bonuses until March of next year.

At first I was pissed off because I don’t make a lot of money to start with, but then I came to the conclusion that my current salary would still be a hell of a lot more than I would get if I was cut loose.

But this got me to thinking of other ways we could cut costs around here and I realized that what will save our company and ultimately, my job, is to get us some interns. I was never one of these myself (because my time is valuable and I want to get money, not dumb school credit, for my work) but I have seen them on TV and in movies so of course I know how it works.

Basically, we could take all the menial people who are getting paid, lay them off, and then “hire” interns to do these menial tasks. It would save the company a fortune and hopefully make some fresh-faced 19 year old realize that working in the corporate world isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

I just might have to swing by HR and pitch my idea, as long as I make it understood that I am not one of these menial employees, because then that would backfire and I would be stuck begging for change outside Union Station while pushing my 6 kids* in a rusty shopping cart.

~The Office Scribe

* And buy six kids I mean a 6-pack of Keystone Light. I think people seeing me drink cheap beer would get me more sympathy than if they saw me with some whiny brats…

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What just happened?

You know how sometimes you are driving home from work, on the route you always take, and you suddenly realize that you don’t remember the last ten minutes of your commute. This happens to me every once in a while and I am always a little freaked out until I realize that I was probably driving safely because if I had hit something chances are it would have zapped me from my Zombie-like state.

But today is the first time I ever had this happen to me while at work.

The last thing I remember was coming back from Party City with crepe paper streamers for Halloween decorating. The next thing I remember is looking up at a co-worker who was next to my desk looking in my candy dish. No a big issues, except that almost an hour had gone by and I had no idea what I did for those 60 minutes.

I assume I didn’t fall asleep because people are always by my desk and someone wouldn’t have passed up the chance to kick me out of my slumber. And I also assume I was at least looking at my computer because, again, one of my co-workers would have questioned me about what I was doing.

Why did this happen? Because things are really slow at work and things that would normally have kept me alert (phone calls, e-mails, file folders being chucked in my general direction) just aren’t happening. So I will be really excited when the economy picks up and hence business picks back up for us. Because I don’t like not knowing where chunks of time went during my day. (Did you ever see Primal Fear? Let’s hope it’s not that…)

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What Your Cubicle Says About You

I have always been a bit of a quirky individual. Never content with just a plain backpack in high school I felt the need to adorn mine with patches, buttons, and so many key chains that a perpetual jingling sound was heard wherever I went.

When I entered the corporate world I realized that this love for self expression could be carried out in a new medium, my cubicle. From day one I carefully sought out items that would help me declare to my new co-workers who I was. While many hung informative maps and lists, I hung pics of White Sox DH Jim Thome. Where people put binders and books I placed a Dundie Award and Darth Vader toy from Burger King. Who needs a regular old bottle of water when they could have a Penguin Water Dispenser?

But don’t think I am the only one that decorates the pale cushy beige walls that are hopefully the closest thing I will ever come to a padded room. A lot of people in the office have pics of their kids and grandkids up. Some people prefer to treat their cubicle as if it were some sort of greenhouse. (Perhaps they think the boss can’t see them behind the plants.) Others have items they obtained from their worldly travels, such as papyrus prints from Egypt, colorful prayer flags from Bhutan, and, well, a Kangaroo scrotum bottle opener from Australia.

The ones that throw me for a loop are those that have nothing in the cubicles except for work designated items. The guy who has his cubicle next to me has nothing that would let you know anything about the person he is. Actually, he is out of the office for the next two weeks and another co-worker and I threatened to decorate his space with pictures of boy band members while he was away. Were we kidding? Who knows?

I guess the point I am trying to make is that some decoration in your cubicle is a nice little insight into the person you are. It lets your co-workers know that you are more than just “that chick from accounting who does payroll”.

~The Office Scribe

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reply vs. Reply To All – When it’s okay to let everyone know your feelings

My office, like many other offices around the United States, uses the program Microsoft Outlook to organize all of our e-mails. It is actually a pretty decent program that has become more familiar to me than most of my cousins.

Anywho…I have one major issues with Microsoft Office and I guess it has more to do with the people who use it. See, when a group e-mail goes out asking for your opinion on something, the logical idea is to reply to the sender and tell them. But the people in my office seem to be addicted to the “Reply To All” option and use it way too freely.

There is nothing more irritating than a companywide e-mail going out and then having 20 follow-up e-mails by coworkers.

And while this happens on almost a daily basis my favorite example came about a year ago. As part of the Fun Committee we decided to send out an e-mail to the 100 employees that are under the umbrella of the Fun Committee to see if anyone had any ideas for fun events.

And instead of just replying to the Fun Committee, about 30 people hit “Reply To All” and let the entire group know their not-so-fun ideas. It then got worse when people replied to these ideas by hitting “Reply To All” and we were then overwhelmed with a bunch of e-mail conversations that no one wanted to be a part of. (I even remember that an argument started between two co-workers about who came up with the idea of going to Great America first. That was fun…)

So about 99% of the time you get an e-mail “Reply” is the valid option, and if you’re not sure, just ask yourself “Will the people in the office benefit from my input?”

If the answer is no, then maybe you shouldn’t reply at all.

~The Office Scribe

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unless it’s Mickey calling, hang up

So I spent the last week with my mom hanging out in Disney World aka the Happiest Place on Earth. And though I am severely sarcastic and not really a happy-go-lucky kinda gal, I really enjoyed myself. Plus there was an international food and wine fest going down at Epcot, which made me giggle every time I realized I was drinking at Disney.

But there were a few things that bothered me, and though they don’t really have anything to do with my normal topic of “working in an office” I need to vent so I am sharing them with you.

1) Cell phones – We all have them. Heck, I feel like I am missing a limb if I don’t have mine on me. But just having the cell phone in my pocket the whole time I was in Disney was enough for me, but apparently not enough for many people who felt the need to gab away while waiting in line for the Rock N’ Roll Roller Coaster or It’s A Small World. Nothing ruins the festive nature of the parks like the lady in front of you in line loudly exclaiming that “whatever I ate at the character breakfast this morning game me a case of the runs”.

2) Bed Time – Just being on vacation means that you are off your normal routine. That is what is so great about it. But that doesn’t mean that you should keep your 4 year old up until midnight just because the Magic Kingdom has extended late night hours. I think my mom was right when she said she was sure it was a form of child abuse.

3) 24/7 eating habits + stroller = fat children – I hate strollers. Sure, they are great for babies but not for crowded theme parks. If the kid isn’t old enough to walk around for a few hours then the kid is too young to bring to Disney. That being said, I also don’t understand why kids have to eat constantly while being pushed in a stroller. No wonder we have a childhood obesity epidemic in the country.

4) Public clothing options – Fashonista I am not. But at least I know that short shorts and a jogging bra on a 65 year old woman in the middle of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not a good look.

5) The Obsessed – While standing in line you can’t help but look at those around you and sometimes listen in on conversations. Some were funny, some were sad, but the worst were the adults (usually over the age of 45) whom I am pretty sure thought that Mickey Mouse was a real person. These would be the same people with a Goofy Tattoo and who were buying Mickey Mouse butter dishes to complete their kitchens decorating scheme.

6) Toothpick Holders – I went to buy some co-workers of mine (see, I managed to work office stuff into this post) some shot glasses. So at The Magic Kingdom I went to buy three. Guess what they rang up as? That’s right, toothpick holders. What the hell is that about? As it turns out, the Magic Kingdom is a dry park, which means not alcohol or alcohol related items. Which is why I really threw the saleswoman for a loop when I asked her what they called the Mickey Martini glasses that were on the shelf below the “toothpick holders”. I thought her head was going to explode like a Fem Bot.

But again, I had a wonderful time with my mom and will be going back in another 7 years. (I only go every 7 years.) I would recommend a trip to anyone, especially during that food and wine festival!

~The Office Scribe

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I think we're going to need a bigger boat...Or why my mouse reminds me of a scene from Jaws

Jaws has to be one of my all time favorite movies. I mean, how can you not love a movie about a giant shark that eats people? (Okay, strike that. I saw "Deep Blue Sea" and did not love that movie.)

So I was sitting in my cubicle today when I hear this slow clicking noise.

click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click

And then it goes a little faster.

click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click ( pause ) click

And then it whirs to life

click click click click clickclickclickCLICKCLICKCLICK

It's then that I realize it's my co-workers mouse. That funny little wheel in the middle that we all use to scroll around webpages.

And it sounds just like the fishing line going out when Quint first hooks the shark in Jaws. And now I can't get the visual of my co-worker snagging a Great White in their cubicle out of my head.

~The Office Scribe

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Office Might Be Haunted

Lately I have been working a lot of overtime.  A LOT of overtime.  The department I used to belong to is really behind and asked if we would help out.  And since I am poor and anything after 40 hours is time and a half, I said sure.

So last Saturday I came in to work for a few hour.  Now normally there are about 200 employees in my office at any given time.  When I came in, there were four.  And they sat all the way on the other side of my wing, so I couldn't see or hear them.  But that didn't bother me.  I was there to get some serious work done and it would be nice to not have someone constantly at my desk, asking me questions, when I am trying to work.

But my Saturday was plagued with problems.  

First off, I couldn't find the light switch for the lights in my section of the office.  There were three switches on the wall about 10 feet from my desk.  Logic would dictate that those should work the lights near them.  No dice.  All three switches turned on lights approximately 40 feet away.  After looking for about 10 minutes I decided that my desk light would be enough and set to work.

That is when I heard it.  A soft rustling noise coming from the cubicle behind me.  At first I didn't think much of it, until it slowly sank in that I hadn't seen anyone else come in.  So I stood up and peered over the wall.  No one was there.  I assumed the vents for the heating system were blowing on something.  No dice.  I don't even think the system was turned on.

For the who four hours I was there I kept hearing things move in the cubicle behind me.  And I wasn't crazy.  Another co-worker who came in heard the noise too.  We discussed what it might be and came to the only logical conclusion.  The office is haunted.

So from now own when I work late or come in on the weekends, I am brining my Pope Snowglobe* with me, just in case.  The printers give me enough problems.  I don't need a pissed off spirit ruining my day.

The Office Scribe

*You can find the greatest things for sale outside the Vatican.  Maybe I'll tell you the story about the golfballs sometime...