I decided a long time ago that life is too short not to have a little fun. And given some of the quirky management personnel I’ve had, the opportunities have been abundant!
Management–What are they thinking?
Anyone in the corporate world–or any job for that matter–knows that there are so many goofy, odd or downright dumb things required of us. Too often, management stays in their own little bubble with very little connection to the real world. The things they ask us to do sometimes make absolutely no sense. Rather than get upset, angry or frustrated at these oddities, I figured I could have a little fun with them. Read on for some of my “pay backs” to management.
I have a lot of stories from my time at the Shelbyville News. It was a fairly close knit group of employees–all with their own quirks. In this case, the quirks started at the top with the publisher–we’ll call him Paul. Paul was from Canada and we always had the feeling that he really wasn’t in touch with Americans–least of all Shelbytuckians! This gave us a chance to have a little fun with him. (Once you got to know him, he was an ok guy, but just a little backward in some areas) Paul didn’t have much of a sense of humor, or if he did, it was very dry.
I’ve already told the toilet paper story HERE but it’s worth another mention. Check it out!
One day as I was discussing some features of Quark Xpress and page layout with two of my staff, Paul walked up to remind me of a meeting. You see, the paper had recently changed format a bit and shifted from an afternoon paper to a morning one. As a result, many tasks were being shifted to earlier in the day. One such task was our weekly management meeting. To me, the meeting was always pointless, so I always tried to get out of it. On this particular day, I simply replied that the new time (11:00am) wasn’t going to work for me. I explained that 11:00am was the time I typically took my morning nap and I wouldn’t be able to attend.
My two co-workers’ jaws dropped but Paul just cocked his head and said, “Well, ok. Just do what you can to be there”. My staff couldn’t believe it. How could I say such a thing? Surely I would be disciplined! Unworried, I just told them to watch and learn. Later that morning at around 10:55am, Paul walked by my office and peered in to see if I was asleep. I just waved, gathered my supplies and left for the meeting. This routine continued every day for about 2 weeks at just a minute or two before 11. Every day he walked by, I just waved and went on with my business. Eventually he learned that I wasn’t really sleeping on company time and moved on.
Before I begin, I must mention that I have never and will never smoke. Unfortunately, in my day I have had my fair share of second hand smoke from before it was taboo to allow smoking indoors. Prior to my time at Taylor, I worked in MANY places where break time between smokers and non-smokers was quite unbalanced. In these places, smokers often took 10-15 minute breaks every hour of their shift–sometimes more. It didn’t matter that policy stated that we got two 15 minute breaks a day and one hour lunch, the smokers did what they “needed” to do.
On one such day in Shelbyville, Paul came back from lunch only to find me with about 7 other employees out smoking in the parking lot. I wasn’t smoking of course but the other 7 were. Paul looked confused and asked “When did you start smoking?”. I replied that I didn’t and wouldn’t. More confusion. He then asked why I was out there then. My response only confused him more. “Well Paul, I can’t afford to smoke and wouldn’t spend the money anyways. I don’t think that should prevent me from getting my fair share of second hand smoke.” I think this made sense to him, because he was very frugal himself. However, it didn’t take him long to figure out that change was definitely needed, so he became much more strict on the break times–regardless of smoking preference!
There is a somewhat common belief–or used to be–that IT staff lay time-bombs or mines in the computer systems. We surely set traps or software in the system to keep ourselves employed right? What about when we leave the company–either happy or unhappy? Surely we leave booby traps or scheduled tasks that will take the system down later right?
Unfortunately, I have had this happen to me. People I have replaced thought like this and the aftermath is messy! I, myself, would never do this. It’s immoral and illegal. I have always striven to leave the system better than I found it. That isn’t to say that I won’t sometimes drop a hint to a nasty co-worker. Anyone that knows me though, knows that it’s all in jest and that I’d never do anything like that.
About 2 weeks after I quit the Shelbyville News, I got a call from one of my friends there. He asked what I had done to Leona’s computer. I was confused and wondered why he called. Apparently her computer had crashed and she was sure that I left something in the office that caused it. She had been crawling around under her desk for 15 minutes when he called. I explained that I would never do such a thing and that it probably just crashed. He decided to tell her…in 2 hours. He was quite amused that day apparently.
Have some fun
I have many more “fun” stories to tell, but not necessarily regarding management. We have to remember, we weren’t put here to work all the time. The Lord put his here because it pleased him. He also would want us to enjoy the world He gave us. Perhaps it wouldn’t please Him so much if we are having fun at other’s expense, but sometimes it just cannot be helped! 🙂