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In Living Commentary

If only every workplace could be as comfortable and professional as those in stock photographs.

Just another day at the office...


I've already written about the bad idea known as interoffice romance/relationships, but what about the situations we deal with every day in companies that have nothing to do with flirting?

I've had what I would consider way more than my fair share of insane/bizarre/embarrassing/prick bosses and coworkers. For some, going to work forty-plus hours a week is a pain in the ass but when you work with inconsiderate, oblivious, stupid, crooked or worthless people, every day is a struggle in sanity. Anyone who has held a job has run into coworkers who are difficult to get along with or who just seem to live in their own world.

When I was in college, my boss was a meth-head. Picture working for someone with severe bipolar disorder who decided to go off their prescribed meds and, on top of it, had a caffeine addiction. Yep, that was him. Every day was a guessing game of "good day" or "bad day." It kept me on my toes but didn't make for a comfortable working environment.

At my next job, my boss would scream profanities at me and it didn't matter if I'd forgotten to refill the paper in the printer or started a small fire in the storage room. (OK, I never did this, but there were days I wanted to.) She made it her mission to openly abuse me in front of coworkers, delivery people and customers. Professionalism was not in her vocabulary, but Valium should've been.

Later on in life, I had a boss who suggested I wear a naughty school girl outfit to get people to pay attention to my marketing tactics. That was one in about a thousand instances of sexual harassment I experienced while working for this company and that aspect was actually minor compared to the other legal tightropes these d-bags were walking. I didn't get paid nearly enough to deal with what I had to at this particular job. Being told my ass would sell more than my ideas was just the tip of the iceberg.

But it's not just bosses that have the power to drive us to want to shove staples under our finger nails. Much of the time, it's our professional equals who make us shake our heads in disbelief.

I cannot stand drama in the workplace. Unless someone was just run over by a car, aliens have just landed or the U.S. Government just declared the entire country will go to a four-day work week, you need to control yourself. I hate trying to work around people that have 'The Sky Is Falling' syndrome.

Yelling, sobbing, tantrums are for those under the age of three so, especially while you're at work; try to act your age. We've all met these people at some point in our careers. If you haven't yet, be prepared. It's going to happen. Speaking from experience, the worst thing you can do is act like you care. As I said, this behavior is reserved for toddlers, and usually, just like with little children, when the behavior isn't rewarded with attention, it passes.

Cutting your fingernails seems like one of those obvious personal hygiene processes to most of us and it wouldn't occur to us to bust out the clippers at our desk. That's disgusting. Well, apparently to some this is a perfectly normal practice for the workplace. Newsflash, it's not the least bit OK, and all of your coworkers think you're repulsive. I don't want to have to cover my coffee for fear that one of your gnarly nails is going to go airborne. Fingernails should be cut in the privacy of your own home bathroom, not while you're sitting less than ten feet away from your coworkers and/or on the phone with clients.

Eating is something most working people are used to doing either on the fly or while sitting at their desk trying to catch up on work or their social life. It's understandable and usually a standard and accepted practice in most companies. However, I was sitting at my desk earlier this week; it was about 9 a.m., so I was barely caffeinated enough to function, when I heard my office mate chewing on what I assumed was a bowl of salt rock. I turned around to find her munching away on a bag of Bugles like the plane was going down.

Each handful created an enormous aluminum crinkling from the bag followed by the loudest chewing and crunching I've ever heard. Honestly, I had to leave the room to use the phone because I was convinced I wouldn't be able to hear the person on the other end of the line. Everybody needs to eat; I have no issue with that. But who goes to work and thinks "I know what I'll have for breakfast at the office today, a bag of crunchy Bugles."

I need space to work and think, but I haven't had the luxury in the most of my jobs to have my own office. I don't like silence, so some background music is a nice white noise. I have very wide musical approval. I will listen to almost anything. Death metal and Christian Rock are about the only two things I literally cannot handle. I would never sit in a room with another person and assume they'd enjoy listening to the Top 40 list for eight hours. But you'd better believe I've had coworkers that took it upon themselves to choose "Jesus music" as the office selection. They like it, so why shouldn't I!? Well, for many reasons, but the top two being, not knowing my religious beliefs it seems very rude to force me to listen to that all day. And, have you ever listened to Christian rock?! It's horrible! I'm not talking abut Gospel music. That, on the other hand, I would have no issue with, but there is no worse oxymoron than Christian rock ... there is nothing rockin' about it.

Point being if you spend at least forty hours a week trapped in an office with the same people, the least each of us can do to make it a less crappy situation is to be conscious of our coworkers. Personal hygiene has no place in the office. NONE. What you eat, whether it's noisy as hell or smelly can bother people around you. And making people share to your horrible music taste isn't going to make you any friends. So stop being so surprised when you never seem to get the invites for happy hour.

Talkbacks

naturekid1 | Dec. 13, 2010 at 8:18 p.m. (report)

glad to see only the last sentence of my reply. now it just sounds mean, instead of witty and clever

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THE_Guru | Dec. 13, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. (report)

Yawwwwwn..........after this I'd fire you just because you've made a few people hostile in your place of work........less than two weeks before Christmas....people are being laid off.....sweetheart Scott Walker got rid of the train....wants to furlough the state works 21-days just for his track record......and you have a nice job complaining again...and again.....sigh...maybe Santa will remember to give you a few happy pills for Christmas.

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brunocarlson | Dec. 12, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. (report)

*sigh* (finger and thumb on nose bridge, slowly shaking head)

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naturekid1 | Dec. 11, 2010 at 11:40 a.m. (report)

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