(Notes on getting fired, and other things to avoid)
This week, I learned something useful. And, of course, by “useful” I mean “lets me stay in bed for another hour.”
I’m a simple man.
Here’s what I discovered: the morning “news” shows, like NBC’s Today, CBS This Morning, and the Fox News Network’s Fox & Friends all serve an important purpose: they are highly accurate Disaster Barometers. Here’s how it works — when you wake up each morning, turn on one of the morning shows. If the normal hosts are on the set, talking, the world’s okay. But if they’ve tossed to a reporter, something got blown up, or Bill Clinton got caught not having sex, which really would be news.
So, when I flipped to Fox & Friends this weekend and their top story was about National Umbrella Day, I knew America was safe, though extremely boring. So I had to find something else to write about. And, as usual, the world wide web delivered.
According to an article on the internet, there are nine things you shouldn’t do at work if you want to be liked. Personally, we think there are lots more, but here are the official nine:
Nine Signs That You’re Probably A Jerk At Work
- You have a closed mind. This is the worst thing you can do, especially in this post-modern age where people think they can simply choose their sex from a menu of options, as if gender was a salad dressing.
- You share way too much, way too early. It’s good to share confidences with coworkers, but it takes time to develop such a relationship. Give it time. Wait a while before sharing that photo collection of your scars.
- Name-dropping :: There are two flavors of this, and they both suck. First, there’s the extremely boring “I was at lunch and Britney Spears walked in!” variety. Shut up. Then there’s the really irritating “I totally need you to work on this like now because [ insert ferret-faced executive name ] wants it before his yacht party at 3.” Shut up.
- Being a gossip. This one’s a bit tricky, because everybody says they hate a gossip, but everybody listens. Our advice is to just stay quiet, and secretly record every water cooler conversation. Remember: “blackmail” is just a tainted way of saying “retirement fund.”
- If you are in the middle of a conversation and you whip out your phone every 30 seconds to check your ego, you suck.
- Emotional hijacking is not attractive, but it’s highly nuanced. Everybody likes a person who is passionate, but throwing office supplies while in a shrieking rage is not “passion”…it’s this evening’s “breaking news.”
- You might be considered a jerk if you don’t ask enough questions. Asking questions not only makes you better informed, it makes the other person feel you’re interested in what they’re saying. On the other hand, asking too many questions might drive the other person towards emotional hijacking.
- You’re way too serious :: Again, the key here is moderation. It’s uncomfortable being around someone who looks like Hillary Clinton at a second Trump inaugural, but you also don’t want to come across as Moe, Larry and Curly on a caffeine binge.
- Humble-braggers. You know you are. Cut it out. “Oh, I look so awful without makeup!” “Why do I always get put on the most important projects? They’re so hard!” “Ugh. Sure wish I could get out of this 3pm party on my yacht. I’m way too busy today.”
Ugh. Stop it.
But let’s face it … there are many other ways to be a workplace putz. A whole bucket of faux pas exist that could cause you to be disliked, dismembered, or downright dis-hired. Witness:
- Never date a coworker. Especially if you’re both named Martin.
- Always use your security badge to enter the building. If your badge doesn’t work, we recommend you just go back home and nap. After all, it’s hard enough to get out of work…problems getting in are an inexcusable hassle.ß
- Never say to a coworker, “Bob, I’m gonna run over to the gym. Could you keep an eye on my catheter?”
- Always email the IT department when your internet connection to porn sites suddenly goes down, because it’s their fault, and they have nothing else to do.
- In most work situations, you should not refer to your boss as Ferret Face. Respect the man’s hard-earned position and authority by using the appropriate title: Mister Ferret Face.
- Conversely, if your boss is a woman, you should never say “Ferret Face.” These days, just saying the word “face” to a female can set you up for a sexual harassment claim.
- Always cover your mouth when you sneeze, especially if you’re one of those delightful people whose expectorations sound like an incoming barge warning other ships in the fog.
- Never stand in the hallway at work and practice your golf swing, unless you’re in sales, in which case swinging imaginary golf clubs is mandatory behavior, like using “ask” as a noun.
- Never murder anyone you work with. The HR paperwork is insane. You can make an exception of the victim is standing in the hallway swinging an imaginary golf club, because no jury would convict.
- Some people have no business wearing skinny jeans. You know who you are.
- Always carry a Band-Aid in your wallet if your phone’s ring tone is the entire Star Wars theme, because eventually somebody’s gonna stab you with a pencil.
- When you schedule a meeting, and then you show up late, you’re not important, you’re a putz. If you make a habit of doing this, carry a Band-Aid.
- It’s America, and you’re perfectly free to have a blog and publish articles like “Here’s how I shave my own back in ten minutes.” Just stop forwarding the link to your coworkers.
- When visiting the office bathroom, don’t bring your phone, your breakfast, or any musical instruments. (see Band-Aid)
- Don’t get on an elevator if you’re wearing more than five gallons of Walgreen’s perfume. Have a heart.
- Always say “thank you.” Even if your Secret Santa gives you Walgreen’s perfume.
- Check your local laws. In many cities, it’s illegal to compare a coworker to that red stapler guy from Office Space more than 400 million times.
So. Enjoy your week out there in the safe country. Who knows — NBC might decide to include some actual Winter Olympics activities in their non-stop coverage of the Winter Olympics…but don’t count on it.
And don’t forget to hug your umbrella!