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Run out the clock : Real-life office stories
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Feb 21st 2006 edited

For me, part of the appeal of this show is that it so accurately reflects the mundane - and the absurd - things that happen in an office every day, and yet still manages to find humor in them (something that's often difficult to do when you're in the middle of the situation and can't see beyond it). So I thought we could post our own office stories here - the funny, the horrific, the romantic, the infuriating...almost anything fits.

And remember ~ truth is stranger than fiction, so don't hold back!

Feb 21st 2006

One of my own office stories...I worked in an office where my boss frequently CLIPPED HIS NAILS at his desk. It was loud. And disgusting. And he did nothing to try to mask what he was doing. I was especially amazed because he was otherwise so polite and proper and gentlemanly, and yet saw nothing odd about this particular habit.

What's so weird about it was that I left that job to take a different one (in yet another office - a lateral move, at best) and my new "boss" (won't get into semantics now) also CLIPPED HIS NAILS at his desk. It was loud. And disgusting. And we ALL sat in cubicles, so there was no WAY he could hide it (which he didn't even try to, by the way).

I am still baffled by the "clip your nails at your desk" phenomenon that apparently is sweeping the nation. I certainly would not whip out a disposable razor and start shaving my legs over the trash can (even though shaving with a disposable is QUIET, if nothing else). Since when is it OK to practice personal hygiene at your desk? Yuck.

Feb 21st 2006 edited

Good call on firing up this thread, Michelle. I'm going to slap an "Official" on the discussion title if you don't mind, just to keep things consistent.

I don't work in an office now, but I temped in one back in the day, during the summer between high school and college. My boss was incredibly unstable. Like, really, really hard to pin down. Half of the time she was Phyllis, the other half she was Angela. No joke. It made for some really strange conversations, and I'm pretty sure it freaked out the rest of the temps in the office.

Feb 21st 2006 edited

Here's mine...more one about incompetent managing than anything:

The office I worked at one summer - a newspaper to be specific - was desperately in need of new computers and had been promised them for over a year and a half. One day, the publisher (usually in another office) was there, waiting for visitors from the corporate office to come.

Graham: When are we supposed to get new computers?

Publisher: Sometime next year.

Graham: Weren't we supposed to get them at the beginning of THIS year?

Publisher: Yes, but there were budget cuts.

[Enter CORPORATE]

Publisher: Hold on a sec, I have to show them where we need the new carpet.

Graham: Wait, over there? We don't even use that half of the building.

Publisher: Well, we might eventually.

Graham: Okay, but wouldn't that money be enough to get us those new computers now?

Publisher: Yes.

Graham: Um...okay.

So, um, yeah. I'm not ever working there again.

Feb 21st 2006

I work in an office right now that, well, I don't really want to be a part of. My boss runs hot and cold as well, but she's very easy to placate given the right prod. I try to keep my conversations with her down to the minimum amount of syllables possible. For instance, here's a recount of my recent evaluation:

Boss: So, how are you?

Me: Fine.

Boss: Here's your evaluation papers, go ahead and look them over. Is there anything you see there that you would like to discuss?

Me: Nope. How's the cat?

Boss: Oh! Great! Yesterday, you should have seen her, she...(this is where I tune out for 30 minutes)...oh it was hilarious.

Me: Hah.

Boss: Yeah, oh, look at the time, I still need to do everybody else's evaluations. Well, it was really great talking to you, keep up the great work and I'll see you around.

Me: Okay. Bye.

And that's how you succeed in the business world.

Feb 27th 2006

There's always a dog that pees in the office. In my old office, my boss brought her boyfriend's dog in so she could take it to the vet during lunch. She managed to hide the dog from the CEO and CFO all day until she went to leave that evening. The CEO stopped her to chat while she had the dog (he didn't quite get there'd been a dog in the building all day). Then, the dog lifted his leg and peed on a fake plant, right in front of the CEO. It was great.

Feb 27th 2006

OK, I have another one. My old boss banned cell phones from the office, mostly because she didn't have one herself. She sent out this big memo because one employee's cell phone rang constantly. It was annoying, but then after laying down the law about cell phones in the office, the boss got one of her own. She's hide in her office and talk to her sister on her cell all afternoon. Fantastic.

Feb 27th 2006

Okay, first, a little background. I'm a teacher. I teach Pre-K in the morning, and am the office manager in the afternoons. All of the teachers have to send out monthly class newsletters for the parents, etc. But there are two teachers who are completely lacking in computer experience. So they come to the office monthly, and I end up helping them figure out how to type their newsletters. But I kid you not... every single month, I end up logging in for them, explaining what the spacebar, backspace, and enter keys do, and how to use a mouse. (Yes, that basic). I am totally baffled that these people have gotten so far in life, and are this clueless. (Maybe this is because I have grown up using computers...but they are only in their 40s... not too old to do this!!) So, a couple of months ago, I was helping this one teacher, and she was asking me how to change something she had typed. I said, "Oh just point your mouse and click right there"... So, no joke, she literally picked up the mouse and pointed it at the screen - touching it to the spot on the screen where she wanted it to go and started clicking away.... like it was a remote control. I've never seen anyone do that before. I had to explain that you needed to leave your mouse on the mouse pad, and by leaving it there and moving it, you could make the arrow on the screen move. (Technology is amazing!) I've tried to convince my boss that it would save me time to just type their newsletters myself, but no, I end up standing and watching them struggle for an hour, and end up making corrections for them later. I do understand the point in making them learn... but it is painful to watch and experience.

Feb 28th 2006 edited

Someone I'm related to (protecting his identity lest he become an Office fan), age 50, just got promoted to a management position. We were on the phone and he was telling me about employee-of-the-year write-ups he was typing, 2 pages each. I said that's only about 500 to 700 words, so he starts counting over the phone and wouldn't stop. I tried to interrupt, but he kept going. Finally, when he was done, I told him about Word Count. He was like, "Wow, I had no idea ... " He's been counting words by hand for the past 20 years.

Mar 1st 2006

If you're trying to administer a Turing test, I'm on to you.

(Constantly IM'ing coworker who finally got a signal from my one/two word, infrequent responses - just not the signal I was trying to send [I'M BUSY...])

Mar 1st 2006

Sometimes my hair sticks up in the back. Don't laugh. It's like being Oriental - there's nothing funny about that.

An excerpt from the carpool into work from a coworker who had just gotten a haircut. An attempt was made to quickly move on to a less charged topic by comparing/contrasting autism and retardation. Nice...

Mar 2nd 2006

Michelle - I've noticed the clipping nails at the desk phenomenon too. Isn't it disgusting? I hear that distinctive snipping sound and I just cringe.

Mar 10th 2006

I work with a guy name Michael Scarnton. Everytime I have to write his name down or call him or page him, I bust out in laughter.

Mar 10th 2006 edited

Hahaha! Stella, your story made me laugh out loud. It was hilarious.

Mar 11th 2006

Jim's Mom - "I've noticed the clipping nails at the desk phenomenon too. Isn't it disgusting? I hear that distinctive snipping sound and I just cringe."

Yes! Apparently I missed that article in Entrepreneur magazine...the one that told people it was acceptable - nay, mandatory - for people in management positions to clip their nails at their desks. I'll have to sift through my back issues ;-)

Mar 12th 2006 edited

I work in an office where the owner (a woman) spends each winter in the Cayman Islands in her summer home.

She would call me each year and remind me that inventory must be done by Dec, 31st, even if it meant that the employees came in on Christmas day or New Years day.

I questioned her one year as to why waiting 2 more weeks wouldn't hurt and how the holidays were an important time for our employees and their families.

Her reply (from St. Maarten) was that she only asks the employees to put in this extra effort once a year, so why is once a year so much to ask?

"How about because every year it is during Christmas and New Years. Duhhhhh..."

Mar 20th 2006

There are four people in my department at work. On Friday, my boss and one of the other guys, who had worked with my boss at his prior job, took me to the same Irish pub they'd gone to for several years on St. Patrick's Day. Someone from our department had to stay to run out the clock so to speak, so my boss told the fourth guy, who is Hispanic, that he can leave early on Cinco de Mayo.

Soon after saying that he looked at me and said something along the lines of "Wow, that sounded a lot like Michael Scott."

Mar 21st 2006

Oh, horror of horrors, I went to the Dundies on Sunday night. First of all, having a "mandatory" awards dinner should NEVER be on a Sunday night - when the last thing I want to think about is work. Secondly, since when can an awards dinner be written into my contract? This was a catered dinner, where small gold trophies were awarded for things like "Grooviest Moves in the _ Department" and they showed video footage of some guy at work dancing. Oh, it was sad. They hired a comedian, who was not so great, but much better than having someone at work do it themselves.
Part of the evening's entertainment were the "morphs" - pictures of two random employees morhped into one by the magic of photoshop - and while I didn't think it was funny the first time, it wasn't funny the 15th time either. No joke - I think they made a morphed picture of just about everyone they could think of. A new picture was shown after each award, so they spread out that joke throughout the whole evening. Yippee. Agghghhhhh. I think I would rather have been at Chili's listening to Michael Scott sing.

Mar 22nd 2006

Wow! I real-life Dundies ceremony! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall...or at least that I could have gotten Angela to hide in the back with a camcorder.

I spent a great deal of time at my last office job devising ways to get out of attending after-work functions ("team building" exercises, office parties, etc.). I became quite an expert at it, as my boss was one of those people who takes his job very seriously; he was a suck-up who wanted his boss to know that he had his employees under his thumb. We never had a Dundies ceremony (I would have faked my own death to get out of that one), but he did give me an "efficiency" award one time...I think because I was always pointing out how back-assed things were and suggesting better ways to do them. I hung my certificate on my padded cubicle wall (using a bent paper clip as a hook - I was all about the efficiency, of course :-)

So did you get a Dundie at this Sundy-night laugh riot? Or did you just have to suffer the entertainment?

Oct 3rd 2006

My pregnant coworker was being repeated cajoled by our boss into taking fish oil supplements for the baby's developing brain. When she finally told him her doctor said that there was no evidence that helped anything, our boss told her if the kid was born retarded not to come crying to him.

On the other hand, at a different job (where I was a temp, ironically), the boss went home early for Passover and the second in command went out to a liquor store and brought back Coronas and rum so the rest of us could celebrate that holiday or Good Friday (both were that day), depending on our persuasion.

Oct 3rd 2006

this seeme prophetic right now, THE Teapot...

Loaded Teapot
Feb 21st 2006
One of my own office stories...I worked in an office where my boss frequently CLIPPED HIS NAILS at his desk. It was loud. And disgusting. And he did nothing to try to mask what he was doing. I was especially amazed because he was otherwise so polite and proper and gentlemanly, and yet saw nothing odd about this particular habit.

Oct 3rd 2006 edited

Yes! Apparently I missed that article in Entrepreneur magazine...the one that told people it was acceptable - nay, mandatory - for people in management positions to clip their nails at their desks.

That's because it wasn't in Entrepreneur, LT, it was in Small Business Man.

Oct 3rd 2006

I worked for a bipolar boss who loved to call impromptu and unnecessary meetings. Here is an example of one. It was Friday 5:00pm and we had all clocked out and were walking to our cars. Bipolar boss starts calling all of our cell phones to tell us we are having a meeting, now, at his condo, 45 minutes away, in rush hour traffic. I would like to add that I was 9 months pregnant and very irritable and hungry. So, we formed car pools and headed there. He lives in a fancy shmancy Miami Beach high rise and we ended up being denied entry to said high rise. After a half hour Bipolar Boss decides to authorize our entry. They ushered us up to the "corporate conference room" where he was waiting with cocktails, cigars, and nuts. My "considerate" male co workers light up the cigars with no regard to me or my unborn child. I moved all the way to the back of the room ( I wasn't allowed to leave the "meeting"). Everyone was drinking alcohol. Bipolar had to send out for water for me because there was nothing unalcoholic to drink. Bottom line, the man was bored and had no friends. We did not discuss any business. He talked about the FL Marlins, steaks, and being Italian (he was).
After 3 hours or torture, he gave us $200 dollars each and sent us home. Needless to say, I did not go back to work after my maternity leave.

Oct 3rd 2006

After 3 hours or torture, he gave us $200 dollars each and sent us home. Needless to say, I did not go back to work after my maternity leave.

Wow.

Oct 3rd 2006

Brian, read my post at Things we Missed the First Time... It goes along with your last post here.

Oct 3rd 2006

Great minds think alike PG. By the way, I can't think of a way to react to your boss story without swearing.

Oct 3rd 2006

Today I got to attend "Electronic Communications Safety" training. Which is basically a "beware of the dangers of the internet" lecture. I mean, you gotta watch out so that no one steals your password or your identity.
Best quote of the day: "The internet is like the Wild West. You always have to be your guard, because you never know what's out there."

Oct 4th 2006

stella, don't you teach preschool? I wonder if it's really appropriate for them to be using shoot-'em-up metaphors with the Wiggles set.

Oct 4th 2006

LT, I do teach preschool. I also work in the school office after the day is over. Hence the need for my internet safety.
I generally don't teach on the subject of gun violence. :-)

Oct 4th 2006

I generally don't teach on the subject of gun violence. :-)

But if you ever do, I bet you can find a bulletin board set on the topic...somewhere. You know, they exist for almost every topic out there :-)

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