Monday, March 28, 2011

Work Place Etiquette

I’m writing today’s column to help people properly understand everyday work etiquette. For example, on the rare occasion that somebody asks you a question you actually know the answer for, please don’t respond with, “I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you.” That joke was not funny the first time it was used, and unlike wine or memories of high school glory, it has not improved with age. Additionally, let’s face it, we read about workplace murders in the newspaper or online everyday, and when was the last time you read something funny online?

If the only noise coming from your cube is, “click, click, click” everybody knows you are playing Solitaire. (To confuse your co-workers, randomly type something once in a while or pick up the phone and have a conversation with yourself – just don’t ask yourself any difficult questions, you may blow your own cover).

If you pass somebody in the hall for the fourth time in an hour, please don’t ask, “Didn’t I just see you?” followed by a forced chuckle, “ha ha.” Instead, ask for their manager’s name and immediately report that person for not working. If the person is YOUR manager, smile and pretend you knew that already.

When returning from maternity leave, no matter how cute you think your child’s first bath was, showing the pictures to male co-workers named Mark Palenske can cross the line. That goes the same for first diaper changes, spit ups, and basically any photo the child is not cleanly dressed and sleeping. Remember this line, “If they’re dressed all cute and their shirt has no puke, show the photo and I’ll smile…show the child naked, and I’ll run a 4 minute mile.”

One of the worst work place etiquette infractions deals with poor conversation topics. No matter how big a fan you are of (please insert the proper noun): Star Trek, Survivor, your recent kidney stone operation, Paris Hilton, or University of Utah sports, it is safe to assume the rest of the planet cannot stand that topic.

If you are the only person speaking to a room full of slack-faced and drooling people, you are (there is no gentle way to say this) boring. Remember, it is not considered a conversation if you are only person speaking. Or if the topic involves Star Trek. Or if the topic involves naked photo’s of your newborn baby.

Clipping fingernails in the workplace can only be done in one situation: you work at a beauty salon and you are giving a manicure. Otherwise, wait until you are in the privacy of your own home, preferably during dinner when your spouse isn’t looking. Although it is impolite to clip fingernails at the office, etiquette does allow you to chew these same nails, or borrowed pens, to your hearts content.

If you notice somebody leaving a bathroom stall and exiting the restroom without first washing his or her hands, duty demands that you immediately go gossip with the entire office about it, to warn everybody of the disgusting situation. Of course, washing YOUR hands isn’t necessary since sending out this important information requires all diligence.

If people laugh at whatever you say, you are either: 1) very, very funny, 2) very, very attractive to the opposite sex, or 3) very, very important. Regardless of which, I hate you. If people never laugh at things you say you are either: 1) not very, very…nevermind.

No matter how quietly you think you are talking to your girlfriends, when sharing juicy details of last-night’s make-out session with your boyfriend, the entire male office is listening. Work place etiquette requires that you either turn up your volume so they don’t strain their necks while eavesdropping, or save it for the comfy couch in the girls’ restroom.

On the topic of comfy couches in the girls room: if you are female, please never brag to your male co-workers that you just took a thirty minute nap on the couch in the girls room. Men, who are unaccustomed to any modern conveniences in a bathroom, feel fortunate if we are able to dry our hands on a paper towel instead of our shirt before leaving. Also, we find it disgusting to imagine resting anywhere near (let alone in) a restroom.

If you find it necessary to crack a joke in an email, do not follow it with ‘haha.’ It makes you sound desperate, as though nobody other than yourself would ever find you funny. Instead, follow it with the threat, “If you don’t laugh at my joke, I’ll fire you.” Believe me, that will get the readers attention far better than a stupid joke. Unless the recipient can fire you. Haha.

This concludes today’s column. Please feel free to make a copy of this article, circle a particular paragraph for emphasis, and leave it anonymously on an annoying co-workers desk. (Of course, if I find this article on my desk, I will fire the person responsible. Haha).

Tag line: Mark Palenske wants to let everybody know that, although his column suggests otherwise, he does not have the authority to fire anybody.


Abbie said...

Very good!

Jared said...

Haha! Mark, does Abbie know you are commenting through her account?

Life is just too funny to be taken so seriously