Posts Tagged ‘work’

Julia explodes in the office one morning while drinking her coffee, her big toe landing on a co-worker’s desk. Detectives Silver and Jarwin are baffled. Is it spontaneous human combustion, or murder?

Explode

a comedy thriller by
Laurie Holman

CHAPTER 1

The day Julia blew to smithereens started out pretty much like any other day.

It was 8:30 a.m. Julia’s little red Honda crawled down the busy street lined with industrial buildings.  A small, perky redhead in her early 30s (but not so perky as to invite disdain), she was  stylishly dressed in a narrow gray skirt and belted deep blue sweater. She took a dainty bite from her lowfat blueberry muffin. A lone balloon drifted in front of the windshield,  tapped on the glass and popped.

The light turned red. Julia pulled up next to sporty red Porsche. She glanced over. A blonde twenty-something woman chattered on a phone while applying lipgloss. The car behind her slid into her bumper, and the tube of gloss went up her right nostril. She sneezed, and a cloud of pink exploded onto the dashboard. Julia snickered and looked over at the car on her other side. An elderly woman who appeared to be texting drifted perilously close to the car in front of her. In the car behind her, a distinguished-looking man who looked to be seventy or so played Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” on a saxophone.

The light blinked green, and Julia peeled out.

Arriving in the parking lot of a building painted in crayon colors, Julia emerged from the car and hurried up to the door, which read ”Dolly Balloon Company.” She pulled janitor-sized set of keys from her purse, swung the door open and stepped inside.

Julia strode rapidly past a huge warehouse-type space with a rainbow of colors zooming down a multitude of conveyor belts. She passed a cluster of cubicles.

”Hey Stevie. Having a good morning?” she tossed over her shoulder at a slick, too-perfect-looking type in his twenties. He looked up from his desk with bleary eyes. ”Bite me,” he responded amiably.

”You wish,” Julia said as she breezed past him.

She passed an athletically-built man in his forties standing outside an office door looking down at some papers. He glanced up, and their eyes met.

”Morning, Jim.”

”Hi, Julia.” His eyes followed her briefly as she continued down the hall. She entered her office, decorated with the same colorful balloon motif as the rest of the building, tossed her purse into a drawer, and hurried back down the hall. Entering the kitchen, she poured herself a cup of steaming coffee, greeting several fellow thirty-somethings milling around the machine. Paula, a slim, stylishly-dressed woman in her fifties, breezed in.

”Hi there. What’s up?” she said to Julia as she filled her mug with “Menopause is Adolescence With a Smaller Bladder” written across it.

”Hiya. Is it hot in here?” Julia pulled a paper towel off the rack and fanned herself vigorously.

”Not really. Hot flash?”

”God, no. I’m not ready for that yet.”

”We never are, honey, believe me.”

They all walked out into the main office. As they passed Steve’s desk, Julia took a sip of her coffee. Suddenly, BAM – she exploded into pieces. A smoldering toe landed with a thud on Steve’s desk. He stared at it, dumbfounded, then leaned over as if in a trance and gently blew on the toe, extinguishing the flames.

Julia’s co-workers all stood motionless, in shock. Slowly, they all looked into their coffee cups, and tossed them over their shoulders onto the lime-green carpet.

Intrigued? Look here to read on….

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Okay, we are all human and have emotions. Well, most of us, anyway. But that doesn’t mean we should just emote all over the place when we’re at work. It’s distracting, uncomfortable and can undermine your professional mojo – especially, dare I say it, if you’re a woman. That glass ceiling is slippery when wet (from tears, of course. What did you think I meant??).

So here are a few workplace drama don’ts:

  • Try to avoid crying at work. Yes, it happens. I’ve had a couple of  sobbing sessions in the ladies’ room in my past work life myself. But unless you come to work and discover one of your favorite co-workers is dead, it’s generally considered unprofessional to bawl in the office. If you feel yourself losing it, excuse yourself as quickly as possible and go cry in private. Or you can try clearing your throat, which I’ve heard stems the flow (haven’t yet tried that one).
  • Don’t blow up. I’m not talking about spontaneous human combustion. Not that I would advise catching on fire at work, either. Or anywhere else, for that matter. But I digress…. Yelling or throwing a chair at your colleague’s head is not okay. I grew up with a time bomb, otherwise known as my sister, that went off at unexpected moments. It was quite unnerving and stressful, and you don’t want to be the trigger for your co-workers’ traumatic childhood memories.
  • Rein in the crazy. Being a bit eccentric or odd can make a workplace more interesting, up to a point. However, you don’t want to be known as the office wacko. If your workplace is casual and welcomes creativity, wearing a Three Stooges tie is probably okay. Wearing it around your waist instead of pants is not.
  • Don’t overdo the touchy-feely. Some offices are more okay than others about expressing affection to co-workers, but the whole sexual harassment thing warrants some caution. Even if you don’t think a hug will be misinterpreted, your co-worker might still prefer you keep your distance. Especially if you have tuna-breath.
  • Keep your passionate political and religious opinions to yourself. Don’t share your agitation at work that your hero, George Bush, couldn’t serve a third term, or that God spoke to you when you got up to pee at 2 a.m. and told you to stock up on freeze-dried beef patties to prepare for the apocalypse.

In case you have no idea what the hell Dunder-Mifflin is, it’s the fictional paper company in which an array of bizarre and often socially obtuse characters spend their workday in the sitcom “The Office.”

“The Office” characters frequently demonstrate behavior that, while funny on a sitcom, in real life would likely get you booted out the door so fast you’d be sitting out in the parking lot with your coffee mug in your lap and a dumb look on your face before you had time to say, “Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea.”

Here are some big fat don’ts if you want to keep your job in the real world:

  • Tell a racist joke while attempting a Chris Rock impersonation.
  • Volunteer the info that you’ve been trading sexual favors for a discount on office supplies.
  • Kiss a gay co-worker on the mouth in front of the entire staff to demonstrate your lack of homophobia.
  • Have sex in the stockroom with a co-worker during office hours.
  • Tell your employee she gives you a boner.
  • Fake thousands of dollars of website sales.
  • Pelt a client’s office building with eggs because they didn’t buy your products.
  • Toss messages from your boss in the trash without reading them.
  • Share an employee’s confidential info with everyone else in the office.
  • Perform a fake suicide to elicit your employees’ sympathy.

Interviewers still occasionally try to see how creative they and you can be with  “Think on Your Feet” (and sometimes on your head) interviews. What is a “Think on Your Feet” interview, you ask? Well, remember the movie “The Running Man” (yes, with your good buddy and mine, Ahhhhnold), which depicted a sadistic game show in which criminals were hunted down by professional stalkers? Well, it’s not like that.

Here are a few wacky “Think on Your Feet” interview questions:

  • If you were a hamburger, what topping would be on your bun?
    Not sure it really matters how you answer this one, as long as you don’t say, “You.”
  • If I were to look in your kitchen cabinets, what would I see?
    If you don’t care about burning your bridges, you can say, “One hundred cans of corned beef hash in case of the apocalypse, and a package of moldy Cheez-its.”
  • If Hollywood made a film about you, what actor – alive or dead – would play you?
    Probably not, “Bela Lugosi, since my former colleagues found me kinda creepy.”
  • If you were a salad, what flavor would your croutons be?
    Bad answer: “Onion and garlic, ‘cuz that’s how I always smell.”
  • If I were to ask your seventh-grade teacher about you, what would he say?
    Really bad answer: “Who? Oh, the pot-head.”

the murder weapon....
Here’s a short story I wrote for Yahoo Contributor Network:

A man is found murdered in the supply room of the We’re It Advertising Agency. Which of his trusted colleagues stuffed the frog down his throat?

http://associatedcontent.com/article/8039477/death_by_tree_toad.htm

No, I’m not referring to the ones who act like arrogant spoiled brats, barf on the Ritz ballroom floor when they were supposed to be on set an hour ago, and make their assistants clean it up. I’m talking about the classy ones who know what they have to offer, while respecting their colleagues’ roles in their work performance.

1.   Ooze confidence. We all have our insecurities, but do you think Angelina Jolie ever stammers to a director, “I don’t really deserve this role, but I’ll guess I’ll give it a try if you really want me to”? Doubt it. You know what your strengths are, and you know how you can be an asset to a company. So own your power – even if you don’t have lips the size of Buicks.

2.   Focus on the mutual interaction, not just yourself. You’re not a prisoner being interrogated by a fascist threatening torture. Nor are you a one-woman show. A job interview is a mutual-benefit encounter. If Jake Gyllenhaal just recited his lines without paying any attention to his co-star, he’d probably be selling ties at WalMart by now, no matter how hot he is.

3.     Dress the part. Think Ashton Kutcher shows up for a screen test with unwashed hair and morning breath? I’m thinking no. Unless, of course, he’s reading for a part as a homeless person. Dress for the interview; make sure all body odors are unobjectionable.

4.   Respect your potential costars. Don’t keep them waiting, explore how you can work together to produce a great whatever, and play nice.

5.   Be a class act. You don’t need to be super-formal unless you’re that kind of person, but be professional. If you have to wait for the interviewer, don’t whine. And no tantrums allowed.

CBS awarded Charlie Sheen “Employee of the Year” today for his outstanding level of job performance and dependability, stellar work ethic, and teamwork. Former winners of this distinction are Kenneth Lay from Enron, Bernard Madoff of Bernard Madoff Investment Securities, and former U.S. President Richard Nixon.

When asked how he became such an outstanding employee, Mr. Sheen responded, “Winning, duh. ”

“I’m very honored to receive this f*cking award,” Mr. Sheen further commented. “I thank these idiots from the bottom of my tiger heart. Of course, I totally deserve it, since the rings around my Saturn molecules make me superior to all you earthling trolls.”

When co-star and esteemed colleague Jon Cryer was asked how he felt about Mr. Sheen’s award, he responded, “No comment.”

Happy April Fool’s Day.

Here’s an excerpt from “What Color is Your Straitjacket? – A Pocket Guide to Getting and Keeping a Job Without Going Wacko” available as an ebook, http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/what-color-is-your-straitjacket-a-pocket-guide-to-getting-and-keeping-a-job-without-going-wacko/14601180

GIVE ‘EM WHAT THEY WANT – MAKE YOURSELF LESS LAYOFFABLE

In general, your employer will want to keep you around and you’ll be much less layoffable not just because you smell good, but because:

  • you have a positive attitude – no one wants to work with Whiny Guy
  • you’re flexible – not flexible like you can wrap both legs around your neck, but rather like you’re willing to go with the flow and do things outside your job description, like clean the john when the company can no longer afford a maintenance person
  • you’re dependable – you’re there, you’re ready to go, you’re the go-to guy; the one everyone automatically turns to with really dumb questions that have nothing whatsoever to do with your job
  • you give a crap about the company and your co-workers
  • you’re easy to get along with – you aren’t more than mildly irritating, you treat everyone with respect, and you don’t bitch-slap your boss when he annoys you
  • you’re honest – you don’t steal your co-worker’s lunch from the fridge when you think no one is looking
  • you’re presentable – you don’t embarrass your boss in a meeting with clients by telling jokes about whores
  • you refrain from getting involved in office gossip – don’t spread those rumors about the director hitting on an employee in a trannie bar
  • you have unique skills the company needs – you’re the only one in the company who can figure out how the old toaster oven works
  • you take initiative – don’t wait to be asked; think up stuff that’ll not only keep the company from flushing itself down the sewer but even help them make lottsa money
  • you keep your skills and attitude current – if you’re still referring to your PC as “that confounded machine” you may be gone a helluva lot faster than it will
  • you’re eager to learn new skills – eager in a professional way, of course – not eager like a cocker spaniel puppy panting to go take a whiz in the yard

straitjacket guyA comedic look at job search and success – “What Color is Your Parachute” meets “This Is Spinal Tap,” if you will. This combination of comedy and advice gives helpful tips to anyone who is searching for a job, or hoping to hold on to the one they have. Topics include contemplating your navel to find your life’s work, idiot-proofing your job search, online disasters, strategic schmoozing, resume do’s and don’ts, interviewing horrors and how to handle them, how to hold on to your job, reflections on bizarre jobs, and weird work stories.

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/what-color-is-your-straitjacket-a-pocket-guide-to-getting-and-keeping-a-job-without-going-wacko/14265245

I’ve had many unusual jobs in the course of my career.

I was once an unofficial elf (sans pointy ears) at the Enchanted Village in City Hall Plaza during the holidays. The job consisted mostly of being a security guard in a Santa hat, though I occasionally was stationed at the exit, where I sold ornaments and was forced to listen to an endlessly repeating recording that suggested a rather disturbing relationship between Santa and his reindeer. “Oh, Dancer. Oh, Prancer. Oh, hohohohohohohohooho!”

One of my more interesting jobs was a singing messenger for Eastern Onion Telegrams in Miami. In this role, I wore one of several rather exploitative outfits (hey, it was the early ‘80s), including a kind of modified Playboy Bunny complete with fishnets, high heels and bunny tail, a French Maid costume (yeah, you can use your imagination on that one) and, of course, Wonder Woman. The job wasn’t without its perks, not the least of which was getting paid to work with a hot male stripper named Alfredo.

One night, I was on my way to a gig for a man’s 80th surprise birthday party when I realized that I was totally lost. Since this was before cell phones, I had to drive back to the Holiday Inn on Route One and walk through the bar dressed as Wonder Woman to use the phone for directions. As I was waiting in the parking lot for the 80-year-old’s sonto find me so I could follow him, the security guard approached me. Instead of asking me why I was dressed as Wonder Woman, though, he just chatted me up for a bit and invited me to use the pool. I politely declined.

When I finally arrived at Birthday Boy’s condo, he panicked at the sight of me, apparently assuming I was a hooker. Since Viagra hadn’t been invented yet, I suppose he had a reason for anxiety. I had to reassure him that my only intention was to sing to him, and proceeded to do my little birthday number, complete with stuffed monkey and a tambourine, and set his mind and his loins at ease.