My Sunday errand: Mountain lavender

Sunday morning, we ran out of detergent, so I ran out to get some. Good miser that I am, I bought the cheapest bottle I could find. It came in a purple bottle, and it was a brand I’d never heard of.

That night, my wife informed me that I’d bought fabric softener rather than detergent. It’s at least the second time I’ve done that. You’d think I’d learn. Well, maybe someday. Not that day. Read more

My coworker’s car got stolen. His 10-year-old found it.

“I started my car this morning to let it warm up,” my coworker, Jon, told me on Tuesday. “And when I went back out to my car two minutes later, it was gone.”

It took a few seconds for that to register. “Stolen?” I asked, finally.

“Stolen.”

That’s not a story you hear every day. Not even in the crazy world he and I live in. Read more

Things my sons say to me as I leave for work

Every morning I say goodbye to everyone as I walk out the front door to leave for work. Including the dog. I always tell her not to let any cats or squirrels in the house. Last week I added mooses to the list too. Mooses in the house would be really bad. (Yes, I am aware that “Moose” is plural, but my dog isn’t.)

I always tell my sons to have a good day at school. My oldest usually says, “Have a better day at work!” He’s nice. Read more

Tips for completing your employee self-evaluation

Check all of the boxes marked “Exceptional Performance.” In the blank labeled Employee’s Comments under Overall assessment, write “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” Print it out, sign and date it, and hand to your supervisor.

Don’t forget to let me know how it goes. Extra points if your supervisor recognizes the above as a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mine didn’t. He also seemed confused when I wrote “I am awesome sauce!” in one of the other employee comment blanks.

But, tellingly, he did not disagree that I am awesome sauce.

Our call is very important to us

A coworker got a phone call today, from something resembling a reverse answering machine. He answered the phone and got a recorded message apologizing that there aren’t enough agents available to speak with him, and please leave a name and number and the first available agent will call back.

We discussed the irony, and the evil, of such a thing. Then my coworker said something brilliant.
Read more

Dumb office quote of the day

Every once in a while at work I hear something that should have been a line out of Office Space.

The line? "You’re not supposed to work at your desks."

What, pray tell, are we supposed to do there, then? Drink beer and play cards?Some context: My group is being moved. Someone other than our supervisor is designing the new layout. Our supervisor is trying to nix the current proposal.

The line with immortality written all over it was a response to his complaint that the layout didn’t have enough desk space for everyone. There was enough room for a monitor and a keyboard, and not much else.

Working with idiots can kill you

My mom sent me a newspaper article today to make me feel better. Maybe I should say she sent what looks like a newspaper article. I don’t think it’s genuine, for a number of reasons: no byline, feature style in what’s presented as a hard news story, grammatical errors you wouldn’t expect to see in a newspaper, only one source, more than half the story is long quotes from the single source, and most convincingly, I couldn’t find any mention of it online.

Still, it at least makes an entertaining read. I present it verbatim.IDIOTS in the office are just as hazardous to your health as cigarettes, caffeine, or greasy food, an eye-opening new study reveals.

In fact, those dopes can kill you! Stress is one of the top causes of heart attacks–and working with stupid people on a daily basis is one of the deadliest forms of stress, according to researchers at Sweeden’s Lindbergh University MedicalCentre.

The author of the study, Dr Dagmar Andersson, says her team studied 500 heart attack patients, and were puzzled to find 62 percent had relatively few of the physical risk factors commonly blamed for heart attacks.

"Then we questioned them about lifestyle habits, and almost all of these low-risk patients told us they worked with people so stupid they can barely find their way from the parking lot to their office. And their heart attack came less than 12 hours after having a major confrontation with one of these oafs.

"One woman had to be rushed to the hospital after her assistant shredded important company tax documents instead of copying them. A man told us he collapsed right at his desk because the woman at the next cubicle kept asking him for correction fluid–for her computer monitor.

"You can cut back on smoking or improve your diet," Dr. Andersson says, "but most people have very poor coping skills when it comes to stupidity–they feel there’s nothing they can do about it, so they just internalise their frustration until they finally explode."

Stupid co-workers can also double or triple someone’s work load, she explains. "Many of our subjects feel sorry for the drooling idiots they work with, so they try to dover for them by fixing their mistakes. One poor woman spent a week rebuilding client records because a clerk put them all in the ‘recycle bin’ of her computer and then emptied it–she thought it means the records would be recycled and used again."

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