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Office Adventure: Make A New Year’s Resolution

29 Dec

My New Year’s resolution is: Be less social media-ly retarded. Kind of ironic for a blogger, no?

I like to think I can  hold my own socially out there in the “real world”, but take me online and things go to hell in a hand-basket quickly. I turn into the kid that blurts weird things out at inappropriate times, mixed with that person who stares at you dumbly when you try to start a conversation. This is not a savvy combination.

Of course there are outside forces that compound this issue. For one, though my work is conducive for inspiring blogging, it is non-condusive for actually being a blogger. Crazy right? And thanks to a totalitarian firewall system and an anti-smartphone policy, I can’t even sneak some lunch-break blog perusals and comment replies. Madness. (Although, as Mr. Rubin over at The Mainland has pointed out, work time is a great time to edit blog posts, this doesn’t necessarily further my social media skills).

After I get home from work I’m all cranky, and don’t feel like battling for my stake of the internet connection, and my mouse hand is tired. We’ll stop here for a minute so everyone can inject some comment about first world problems and world’s smallest violin.

So right now my weekday online blogging hours are Monday-Friday 5:45-6:30 am (depending on how long it takes me to microwave my oatmeal). Which doesn’t leave me as much time to comment and peruse WordPress as I’d like.

You want to know worst part though? My mother has a blog, The Yard Art Game (currently on hiatus as she recovers from surgery). It is about bad yard-art and quite hilarious (hilarious-ness runs in our family of course), but I don’t even comment on my own mother’s blog! This moderately gnaws at my conscious.

How am I going to resolve these issues? No idea! But I plan to tackle it in the same unfounded optimism that seems to have served me pretty adequately in life so far.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

As for the sharkable, I couldn’t figure out how to portray a social media-ly awkward shark, so I fell back on the ever-popular fitness resolution. Besides, who doesn’t love a shark on a treadmill? I had a blast drawing it though. I had a whole montage scene playing in my head to “Eye of the Tiger”, with him doing push-ups, and step aerobics, and sweating to the oldies. He get’s super-fit about 1:25 into it.

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Office Survival Tip: Dealing with Embarrassing Moments

28 Nov

Office Survival Tip: Dealing with Embarrassing Moments

We’ve all had awkward moments, and while some of us are more accident prone than others, embarrassing moments are a painful social phenomenon that everyone can relate to.

The absolute worst way to handle any embarrassing moment is to pretend it didn’t happen. While I admire your dedication to your powers of self-persuasion, no one else is fooled into believing you didn’t just eat it on the stairs when you oh so cleverly hop up and keep walking like nothing happened.

No, you need to approach embarrassing moments head on. I know it sounds cheesy, but the best way to take the social sting out of any embarrassing situation is to start it off by laughing yourself.  I think this is a hard one for some people, but if it makes you feel better, if this is an issue for you, you’re probably going to keep getting pounded by traumatically embarrassing events until you learn the lesson. And even then, you’ll still probably continue to be subject to horrifyingly socially awkward situations, you’ll just care less. That probably doesn’t make you feel any better.

The same holds true if you’re an observer of an awkward moment. You may think you’re being polite by pretending not to notice, but in reality it makes the whole situation roughly 10x more awkward. Everyone knows you didn’t just “fail to notice” Tim toppling his office chair during a staff meeting, and shuffling your notes around while you wait for him to get up isn’t a convincing act. Meanwhile Tim, who is now lying on his back on the conference room floor, probably isn’t mollified by everyone’s sympathetic and awkward silence either.

Really, whenever you observe an awkward situation, do everyone a favor and just laugh. Laughing benefits everyone involved: you for getting a kick out of someone being embarrassed, everyone else who now feels like it’s ok to laugh as well, and for the Embarassee for being front and center in a valuable exercise on how to laugh at their own unfortunate situation.

Of course as with anything, practice moderation. Reminding Tim once of the time he bailed out of his chair during a meeting is funny and promotes humility. But don’t be surprised if reminding Tim daily of his embarrassing moment eventually result in bodily injury to yourself.

Tip to Get Ahead at Work: Proper Display of Achievement Awards

11 Nov

Tip to Get Ahead at Work: Proper Display of Achievement Awards

There is a certain office hierarchy that’s determined by the number of achievement awards displayed. At the top is The Star Player. Every available inch of his cube (or office!) is devoted to his achievements. Many of his achievements may not be that spectacular, but in sum they create a magnificent tribute to his knack for being in the right place at the right time.  Next come the High Achievers, who may not have enough Award Certificates to wallpaper their cube like The Star Player, but still make a strong showing. Then you’ve got Almost Everybody Else, who at least have one or two awards placed somewhere, usually either some trophy-like abstract hunk of resin, or a certificate in a plastic $.50 frame. At the very bottom of the totem-pole, with zero awards, are the Non Achievers.

You don’t want to be a Non Achiever.

Non Achievers are not “team players” nor do they promote an “atmosphere of engagement”. This may not particularly bother you if you’re a Non Achiever, but these silly things can impact other, more significant  issues. Like your yearly salary review.

The good news is that an easy way to at least seem like Almost Everybody Else is to hang a few awards. Awards are notoriously easy to come by in the Corporate setting, and can be obtained any number of ways. For instance awards are usually granted to any warm body able to sit through a certain number of PowerPoint presentations in a row, otherwise called “Training”. Or, if you’re forced onto any kind of “stretch” or “process improvement” project and are able to attend at least 33.3% of total meetings, you will usually receive a piece of paper congratulating you on doing something. Also, if you perform your job at least adequately for any significant length of time, you can almost always depend on receiving a “congratulations for doing your job” award.

If all of this seems too difficult for you (and it probably does if you’re a Non Achiever) don’t lose hope. There is always the option of using a Fake Award Certificate. Fake Awards are handy in that they accomplish roughly the same effect as Real Awards, only without the annoying “earning” aspect of it. No one actually reads awards, instead they make a quick mental judgment on your Office Hierarchy by the number displayed. Therefore a Fake Award isn’t particularly difficult to get away with*. Be discrete about it though, if you go overboard with your new found talent for making up talents, suspicion may arise.

*Interesting and Appropriate Author Side Note: I was actually given a very good-looking Fake Excellence Award from a friend after I perpetuated the rumor that I received a $200 bonus for having a great attitude. In fact it looks so nice, I framed it with the $.50 frame from a Training Completion Award I got for suffering through a week of PowerPoint presentations on how to do a job I’m not assigned to do. I really think it adds to the aura of Excellence I like to promote while composing emails. I periodically get positive comments on my Excellence Award, so I know my co-workers must be impressed, although 95% of them fail to notice it was signed “Sincerely, The Man”.

Tip for being an A+ presenter: line graphs

7 Nov

Tip for being an A+ PowerPoint presenter:

Excessive use of line graphs is an excellent way to impress your boss and co-workers with your presenting skills. It shows you are both good at measuring things and at using Excel, both of which are invaluable traits in the business world.

To beef up your slide, throw in some bullet-points that use words like “metrics”  and “progress” so it will seem like whatever your graph is measuring is both successful and improving. The key here is not to be too specific. Keep it “high level”. If someone does raise any questions, re-affirm that this graph is “high level” and that their question will be answered later on in the presentation. Whether or not this is actually true is irrelevant. Your boss will appreciate the fact that you’re not boring him with unnecessary “details”, and the question asker will either forget or assume their question is answered by the subsequent barrage of pithy bullet-points in your slide package.

If your graph doesn’t actually measure anything or, if you can’t figure out how to use Excel, don’t panic. As long as you have multiple colorful lines going in a generally upwards direction, you’ll be fine. No one is going to remember to go back and double-check your information, but they WILL remember how impressive and colorful that chart showing your project status looked.