Tag Archives: office

Office Survival Tip: Fire Drills

9 Jan

Office Survival Tip: Fire Drills

For starters, just to clarify, this is not figurative fire drill I’m talking about. Not the “fire drill” where some idea floats through your bosses head that a particular project/deadline/favor to the VP is of Utmost Importance and everyone must drop everything to assist in getting it done?

No, I’m talking about the real fire drills here. The ones where you’re sitting quietly at your desk widgeting, when your reality is suddenly shattered by the repeated eardrum implosion that is the office fire alarm. I’m not sure why fire alarms are about 50 decibels above the appropriate alarm sound level for an office, but they are. For the amount of noise that fire alarm puts out, you’d think cubical patches were spaced intermittently around heavy machinery and factory shop floors.

Regardless,though your animal instinct may interpret the meteoric screeching of the fire alarm as a sign to panic, its important to keep your head and don’t panic. If you happen to work in or near a factory (thereby quashing my previous dig at alarm decibels, thanks), now is an appropriate time for your earplugs. If you don’t, wadded up bits of paper or kleenex are passable substitutions. I only say this because If you’re not situated immeidiately beside an emergency exit, chances are you’re going to be in that building for a minute.

I believe this is due to people putting a little too much emphasis on the word “calmly” in the instructions  “don’t panic and proceed calmly to your nearest emergency exit”.

I would like to make a point here, that “calmly” does not necessarily equate to “walking as slowly as possible” . In fact, in case of a real fire this would probably be incredibly un-beneficial. No, “calmly” merely means don’t go screaming and flailing down the hallway, knocking people down to escape the flames and/or eardrum implosion. I promise its not an oxymoron.  You can still walk quickly and be calm.

Of course this is compounded by the issue that despite the “emergency” part of “emergency exit” there’s only one or two in a building, regardless of how many floors or how spread out it might be. I believe my expert grasp of Supply Chain terminology would describe this as an “emergency bottleneck”.

And if your office happens to have a turnstile, I’m sorry. There’s not much you can now do but grit your teeth and try not to let the death siren drive you to rash actions like driving your pen into the deltoid of the man waiting in line ahead of you.

Aside

Office Survival Tip: Dealing with the Thermostat

3 Jan

Office Survival Tip: Dealing with the Thermostat

That title may be a tad deceiving. When reading it, you should regard the word “Dealing” as more like “enduring the almost unbearable conditions brought on by the thermostat regulator” than “dealing with the responsibility of handling the office thermostat”. Unless you ARE the person who regulates the thermostat, then lucky you! I doubt it though. I always imagined the thermostat being overseen by some BigWig at the very top of the building, where all the heat rises so he always feels the need to make it colder. The VP of Climate Control probably.

Anyways, office seasons aren’t like outdoorsy seasons, in that instead of natural cycles of progressing warmth and cold as we move from winter to summer and back again, office temperatures remain at a steady, uncomfortable state marked by brief, biannual periods of intense discomfort when changing of the seasons require a switch between A/C and heat.

Therefore to survive in this strange, homeostatic environment we must first take note of the specifics of its temperature. It’s important to not be deceived into believing the outside weather bears any real influence on the indoor climate. Just because you have to start wearing sweaters outside in November doesn’t mean they’re any help whatsoever inside in November. Therefore, surviving the office thermostat really just involves coming to terms with whatever temperature zone the VP of Climate Control has designated shall reign for eternity, and then preparing for it daily.

This can be done in many ways. If your office is too cold, stash an outer layer at your desk . Feel free to swap it out an any time though. This will ensure that your clothing gets washed and you don’t become “that guy who always wears the Outdoor World jacket”.

If your office is too hot…I don’t know, I’ve never encountered this one. Maybe drink lots of iced tea. Emphasis on the iced. Or get one of those cheap-o spritzy fans. You know, the ones they sell at Disney World on excruciatingly hot days for $20 because you’re desperate and it has a picture of Tinkerbelle on it.

Also, layers can be helpful in both instances, either for putting on or removing. Try not to go too far in either case though.

Happy (Office?) Holidays

23 Dec

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

For those of you off work, enjoy the time spent with loved ones and family members. This includes furry family as well I suppose.*

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I can’t bring myself to be too much of a smartass for Christmas, which really kind of limits my writing.

So here’s to the Holidays! Especially those of awkwardly blended religions or cultures. There’s something charming about a Christmakkuh tree or, in our case Brötchen and Glühwein mixed with stockings and Alvin and the Chipmunks – The Christmas Song.

I hope Santa brings you many neon-colored post-its and highlights with which to decorate your desk and memos! What? Really? Not what you asked for?

*I naively wrapped a bone and placed it under the tree, thinking in the spirit of Christmas the dog would leave it alone until the 25th. At least he had the decency to rip it to shreds while we were sleeping and didn’t touch any of the other presents. It’s ok though, I already have payback planned for ruining his ill-planned Christmas surprise. Little does he know there’s a sweater under there as well with his name on it… 

Office Adventure: Getting A New Work Computer

21 Dec

Office Adventure: Getting  A New Work Computer

Getting a new work computer is a confusing experience

On one hand its seems like it should be a fun thing. Who doesn’t like new computers? They’re all shiny, and fast, and all those other things that make getting a new personal computer exciting. You may even get a new monitor, flat screen or widescreen if you’re lucky, and it’ll arrive at your desk in boxes. Getting something in a box is fun. It means it’s cool and new and you’re the lucky person who gets the opportunity to start slowly deteriorating its pristine condition.

However, despite all these semi-cool factors, in reality getting a new work computer is less than thrilling. For one, you don’t actually get to do anything cool with your work computer. Turns out when you get a computer at work, you’re expected to do work on it. Also, the only thing really affected by that fresh new speediness is the load times of your various Excel spreadsheets and Access databases. And now you  no longer get to throw out the excuse that it’ll take you longer to do something because you have a slow, old computer.

So, getting the optimum happiness out of a new work computer depends on finding a balance between the good and bad, and finding small joys in the overall lameness of the situation.

For one, if you get updated to a new version of MS Office, that opens you up to a whole smorgasbord of new fonts and animations to use on PowerPoint slides. Ooooh!

Also, new computer usually means new keyboard, which means you finally get to rid yourself of that damn, sticky “N” key that came about when your gummi-snack got wedged between the “N” and the spacebar.

In addition, you may be able to finagle a new mouse or keyboard pad out of the situation. Maybe even one with an ergonomic lump on it. Fancy!

So next time you’re due for an upgrade, embrace it with lukewarm excitement, bask in the small things, and be amazed as your mood marginally improves!

Office Survival Tip: Window Gazing

19 Dec

Office Survival Tip: Window Gazing

Never do something stupid outside an office building.

You know that eerie feeling you get sometimes that someone’s watching you? In my opinion, you get that feeling because someone IS watching you. Next time you get all creeped out, look around and see if there are any office buildings nearby. If so, you’re spidey sense is probably spot-on. Depending on the size of the office building, you could have multiple someone’s on multiple floors scoping you out. And if you’re tangled up in any kind of embarrassing moment, you could even have clusters of someone’s congregating and commenting on your situation. Feel self-conscious yet?

On the flip side of the coin, a good window gazing can be a great way to beat the office doldrums. It’s kind of like bird watching, only instead of searching for birds, you look for anything even remotely interesting. Also like bird watching, it get’s dull fast if you don’t have goals (I assume here. I can’t say I’ve ever even a remote inclination to bird-watch.)

Here’s three fairly universal goals to help you get started. You can add more appropriate or entertaining window gazing goals according to your specific window’s characteristics.

Check one off whenever you see:

-Anyone engaged in any kind of heated dispute on their cell phone. This can be especially entertaining if they’re a dramatic gesture-er.

-During storms, any brave, desperate soul who bursts from the lobby in a mad, awkward, umbrella-less dash to his car. (Bonus if they get to their car and realize they didn’t pull their keys out first, and then bumble around in their briefcase in the pouring rain searching for them.)

-Anyone with unusual/extreme car trouble. For instance, we saw someone this week rip the front bumper half-way off their car by pulling out of their parking spot. (Bonus if they make things worse due to their own ineptness. For instance, after ripping the bumper half-way off their car, they attempted to save face and drive away, thereby fully ripping the bumper off their car)

Because window gazing can be such effective boredom relief, any office or cube with a window vantage point is prime real estate. My first cube was a single with a view of the window. It ruined me forever.