Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pre-Thanksgiving Rants

I can’t decide which of the rants I have going in my head today I actually want to write about, but I’ll just get them all out there. I figure clearing my mind before Thanksgiving will be good for me.

1. Office Food- For some reason people in offices just love (and I mean really love) free food. Something about having food, eating all you want, and not having to pay a penny makes some people go wild. Well the problem with this is that sometimes food comes with strings attached.

This week an invitation was extended to the office to attend a presentation about how business in our industry was done in another country, led by a person in the industry from that country. In order to offer an incentive for people to come to the presentation they had catered breakfast for those attending the meeting. Well I went to the meeting, and it was actually pretty interesting and the breakfast was good. Mainly, I was interested in the lecture (the women who led it is an excellent speaker), I wanted to blow off 2 hours of my work day, and I don’t mind being fed breakfast (it was delicious). However, several employees walked into the room before the meeting started, loaded up their plates with food and….took them back to their desks.

Excuse me, but the food is for the people in the meeting. If there is food left over after the meeting its also put in the lunch room and anyone can have whatever they want. However, to go in before the meeting, in front of all of your bosses, take the food meant for other people before they could have any, and then to leave the room and not even listen to the lecture the bosses wanted people to go to…, just wow. You really looked greedy and just tacky. Don’t do that. You folks are probably the same people who sneak into the conference rooms when there is a catered lunch and steal sandwiches, making someone in the meeting go without, and forcing us to order 20% more food then we need to because you’re so free-food hungry.

Point: Taking free food not meant for you before the people it was meant for and in front of the big wigs makes you look stupid. Don’t do it.

2. Thinking for Yourself- Working, living life, and generally being an adult require some level of independent decision making, value judgments, and preferences. So, why is it so tough for some people to do anything by themselves without having to ask a million questions? Let me demonstrate this in a scenario form:

Say I start a new job and one of my duties includes putting away office supplies. There I am, standing with a huge box of office supplies with me, I know where both the copy room and the supply room are. Is the right things to do…..

Scenario A: Pick up each object and call some other employee and ask where it goes. Do this for everything. Call for pens, call for pencils, call for the ball point pens and gel pens separate.


Scenario B: Look in the supply/copy room and see where similar (or even more of the same) supplies are kept and put away as much as possible. Then, at the end, if there are things I truly cannot figure out a place for I can ask about them all at one time.

The answer should be obvious. Nothing slows down my day more and makes my blood boil faster then a person who doesn’t even try to find the answer to their own question before asking someone else. If I need some file on the company shared drive I don’t randomly call the boss over my direct boss and ask him, that would be completely stupid. I look for the damn file myself and most likely I will find it. If I cannot find it then I ask an employee around me, I don’t bother the boss with inane and stupid questions.

Point: If you have a question, try to answer it yourself first. If you can’t, ask a co-worker. If they don’t know then ask your immediate supervisor. Do not just call a person several steps up the ladder from you and ask them something you could easily find out yourself with 10 seconds of investigation.

3. Leave People Alone- With the travel season here to stay for another month or so I would like to remind people to leave others alone when those people clearly don’t want to chat with you. This applies to trains, buses and planes (especially planes since this is how I will be traveling and I don’t want you to bug me). A few hints that someone does NOT want to chat with you:

- They are reading a book
- They are listening to music
- They are writing
- They are working on their laptop
- They are already engaged in a conversation with their travel companion
- They are on the phone
- They are staring out of the window and enjoying the view
- They are watching a movie
- They are playing a game

And now, a few hints for when a person MIGHT be up for a little chat:

- When you sit down next to them they give you a big great smile and start talking to you
- They respond in a chatty way to pleasantries
- They aren’t distracted by the above mentioned things

Really…this shouldn’t be needed. It should be automatic and obvious when another person is busy and does not want to engage in banter with you and when the person is receptive to chatting to pass the time. Please see the difference, and please leave the people who don’t you near them alone.

Well that felt good. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone :)

First Year-


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The transportation issue should be a regular thing. I don't know how many times people have sat next to me on the bus or train trying to talk to me about the weather...when I am staring out the window trying to avoid that mess!

And about the free food...I loved the sandwiches that were left over after meetings (as long as they weren't left over too long). And we'd always wait until AFTER the meeting was over. It's tacky to interrupt an important meeting, regardless of whether or not food was offered.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude you are SO on target with the free food thing at offices. I don't know what is WITH that!! It's totally rude and totally tacky and just makes these weirdos look hungry and desperate - and there's nothing worse than looking like you're so hungry you need to take all this free food. UGH!! Great, great post!!


9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Aren't there just so many amazingly stupid things people do in offices, yet they are still employed? Even in my new job, I see stuff like that.

5:25 AM  

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