Posts Tagged ‘workplace behavior’

or,

How Many Verizon Employees Does it Take to Connect
a Wire?

Congratulations, Verizon. I know you’re honored to receive this award. In case you don’t know how you happened to be chosen, allow me to tell you my story.

I finally made it into the millennium and got a smartphone, which is infinitely smarter than your customer service people seem to be. I cancelled my landline service, with corresponding re-routing of the internet service on my laptop to “dry loop” (does that mean the wires on a phone connected to the internet are “wet loop?” Sounds kinda risky to me). This re-routing process, as the customer service rep who took the information (and at least five subsequent tech support reps) informed me, is supposed to happen automatically with no interruption in internet service. Which it did, if “no interruption” can be defined as “bit the dust for eight days with thirteen (literally; I counted) hour-long phone calls to Verizon in vain attempts to fix the problem, with the complete impossibility of speaking with the same person twice.”

Every day on the phone (often after more than twenty minutes to even find my account in the system), it was like the calls before never happened, and I had to start from scratch every time, like in “Groundhog Day.” “Put on your booties, ‘cuz it’s cold outside – it’s Verizon Clusterf*ck Day!”

The highlight was the day when, after ten calls and twenty minutes of waiting for the twit on the other end of the phone to find me in the system, he finally came back on the line and said, “So what’s the problem again?”

“Okay,” I said. “I think I need to hang up now, because I’m going to lose it.” I put the phone down and hollered into the sink.

When I finally spoke with a supervisor who seemed at last to figure out what the problem was (my internet service was apparently still connected with the landline phone number that no longer existed, and a missing wire also seemed to be involved), he promised that my service would be back up the next day. It wasn’t. Since he actually told me his last name and location, I tried to contact him to see what happened, figuring I might have better luck with someone who at least seemed to have decent critical thinking skills and already knew my situation.

Alas, my efforts to locate this person were in vain. The office he was in, in Andover, Massachusetts, I naively thought would be easy enough to find via Google or Smartpages. But as I soon discovered, Verizon, any actual offices of yours seem to be in an alternate dimension on the time-space continuum, like the island on “Lost.” I know it must be there, but I can’t ever get to it. Perhaps it’s stuck in 1974, before the internet existed.

The 12th call finally yielded an allegedly scheduled visit from tech support the next day, in one of those 4-hour blocks (this is done so that the tech people can catch up on daytime TV in between appointments, without having to stick to an actual schedule). Yes, I said “allegedly scheduled visit.” This is because they didn’t show up. And when I called around 11:15 (call number 13), I found out that, after the 45-minute call the night before, the person I talked to figured out that something needed to be connected in the office (a few brain circuits, perhaps?), so they didn’t need to come out. Of course, no one called to tell me that.

Finally, the supervisor I talked with checked into the Grand Clusterf*ck and, miracle of miracles, got my service back on (thank you, Karen – you were a beacon of light in the depths of the abyss).

Thank you, Verizon, for giving me a few more gray hairs in my eyebrows to pluck. Keep up the good work – if you play your cards right, you’ll torture enough customers to put the company out of business. One can only hope….

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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.

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