Corporate work is monotonous, repetitive, and nine times out of ten, pointless. I don’t hate my job. I actually like it. At the same time, over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling real indifferent about it. Why do I have to get up all early, sit in my office for 8 straight hours, all the while not really get anything done? Year after year it becomes more obvious that the movie ‘Office Space’ was a documentary, not a comedy. I realized this the other day. I worked 8 straight hours. Then when I got home, I couldn’t remember what I did that day. I’m serious. I do not remember doing anything meaningful for my actual project. I did not work on this site. I did not go to sleep. I cannot remember doing any actually real work. So just what the heck did I do? I think I was abducted by aliens. That must be it. Aliens come in during the week, abduct people during work for 8 – 10 hour stints and then drop them back off at the end of the work day. It’s the only plausible explanation.
There are certain things that stick out to me about why I’m such a disgruntled corporate worker:
10. Traffic – I honestly believe that the drive into work should be considered ‘billable’ time. The way DC and Virginia people drive, I believe driving to work is actually a full time job that should come not only with hazard pay, but also time and a half overtime pay. It does not matter what time you leave – you’re going to get screwed. If you leave early, you get the poor dedicated souls that thought they could outsmart everyone by leaving at the butt crack of dawn. If you try to wait it out you get the lazy people that decided to roll over one too many times and are now running late. Even if you wait until noon, you still will run into the mid-day lunch crunch. Any way you have it, you’re going to be stuck in traffic. Lewis Black once said something along the lines of ‘Its going to get so bad that eventually you’re just going to back out of your driveway, be immediately stuck in traffic, sit there for 8 hours, and then go home.’ At the time he was talking about traffic in Atlanta, but I’m thinking that the DC Metro area is quickly catching up with it. I currently work in Tyson’s Corner…or as I like to call it ‘The 7th Gate of Hell’. Seriously, traffic was so bad yesterday that I considered killing myself and just asking Jesus to let me stop by the house first because it probably would have been faster. It’s not just the fact that VA and DC drivers took their driving lessons from Brandy. No, it’s that the people that designed traffic light timings in DC were high on meth, crack or some other form of illegal drug. You would think that it would be common sense to have traffic lights that are right after each other turn green at the same time. Oh no. Not in D.C. I’m certain that the politicians in D.C are getting kickbacks from the gas stations. It’s all but too obvious. And then they have the nerve to have speed cameras. You’re going the mind blowing, extreme speed of 0, and they have speed cameras. It just adds more of an insult to your drive to and from work.
9. Cheery People – Call me strange but I hate working with someone who is happy all the time. Why? Because people that are unhappy, mean and introverted will leave you the hell alone. It’s Monday morning. Traffic was horrible. You spent 20 minutes going 2 mph. You don’t feel like doing any work. And here comes Becky, the cheeriest mofo down your hallway. Nothing is worse than being in a bad mood and having someone come over and try to cheer you up. I didn’t ask for my own personal HR ‘cheer me up’ party. And don’t ask me ‘what’s wrong’ when you already know what’s wrong. I’m at work. I swear next person that asks me that is going to get this from me: ‘What’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. Bush is still in office. Gas prices are through the roof. I didn’t get any ass from this bitch that I’ve been trying to get at. My reliable piece of ass was on her period. There aren’t any decent sports on TV right now. The Colts won the SuperBowl. Two weeks ago when I was fucking the condom broke and I might be a daddy and oh yeah….I HATE MY FUCKING JOB!!!! Now go mind your own business.’
8. Security - Why do companies feel the need to make your life a living hell by making you go through pointless and time consuming security measures? I have to swipe my badge a minimum of 3 times just to get to my office: Once to get into the parking garage, then again to get to the elevators … then once I’m up the elevator (and this one makes absolutely no sense) I have to swipe my badge to get into the hall my office is on. What the hell is the purpose of all that? Ok, I’ll give you the first two, but why is it necessary to swipe my badge once I’m already up the elevator and on my floor? It’s not like my badge doesn’t work on all the other floors. So what is the purpose? But wait!!! There’s more. If I decide to leave and go down to the cafeteria that is a little off of the lobby (mind you, it’s still in my building) I have to show my badge to the security guard when I come back. It makes no sense. I’M STILL IN THE SAME BUILDING!!! This isn’t a shared office or anything either. We all work for the same employer. Now I know some people say ‘We have classified work here.’ That’s a load of male bovine fecal matter. I have yet to run into someone working on that Ethan Hunt (Mission Impossible), 007, if-I-told-you-I’d-have-to-kill-you type work that would require that kind of security. Then to top it all off, we are allowed to install whatever we want on the company laptops and bring in USB drives (Do you know how many documents I can put on my drive?). I’m convinced they do this only so that employees can be more depressed. It’s like spending 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in Alcatraz.
7. Bathrooms – I’m convinced that people just lose their minds when they go to the bathroom at work. That’s the only way to explain it. I have never gone to someone’s house and seen urine just caked onto the toilet and floor. Granted, you expect there to be some nasty fuckers somewhere, but I don’t think half of the people that use the bathroom at work are that disgusting when they get home. I can say that 99% of the bathrooms I visit in other homes don’t have urine caked on the toilets like a stripper cakes on the whore glitter. What is up with the pee on the floor also? You’re a grown ass man and you still manage to miss the toilet? I’ve been told that the women’s bathroom is worse. That is mind boggling to me. Granted, I don’t have a vagina but it just doesn’t make sense to me. You squat…then piss. How do you mess that up? Then there’s the just-softer-than-tree-bark toilet paper they place in those bathrooms. Let’s get serious for a minute now. I work for a multi-billion dollar company like a lot of other folks. Is it too much to ask to have triple-ply soft toilet paper? I think it would be more comfortable if I took a brick, wrapped it in sandpaper and then wiped my ass.
6. Jargon – Nope. You’re not mistaken. That’s not English they are speaking. It’s that Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson/Can’t-Get-The-Cock-Out-Their-Mouth-And-Say-What-They-Gotta-Say speak. Double talk, acronyms, big SAT words, etc. Of course they don’t know what they are saying either, but supposedly it makes them look good. The truth is everyone knows it’s bullshit. But due to office politics everyone does it. It’s the reason why a 10 minute phone call turns into 45 minutes of monotonous crap. That 15 minute meeting is now 2 hours because a couple of your coworkers think it proves how big their dick size is because they used the latest buzz phrase, like ‘unsiloing ‘(no I don’t know what it means), in a sentence.
5. Coffee – I don’t like coffee. I really don’t. Yet for some reason two weeks ago I was drinking 2 cups of it a day. I don’t know why I was drinking it. I had no real desire to drink it. Yet because its one of the only free things they offer, I feel obligated to drink it. I don’t even like the taste of it, yet day after day I found myself going into the kitchen and making a cup of french vanilla brew, loading it up with sugar and cream, and getting my caffeine fix. See, I think I figured it out. People at work drink coffee because it’s the only legitimate ‘break’ they can get. And the employers are slick too. They offer coffee cause they know they’ll get their employees hooked on caffeine, thereby keeping them awake longer. Another problem with coffee, is ‘Coffee Breath.’ That’s when one of your brilliant co-workers drinks coffee and doesn’t start popping altoids. Then they decide to come to your office and talk in your face all damn day. Your eyeballs start to feel like they are melting like turpentine does to paint.
4. Smokers – I know I’ve been doing a pretty good job of watching my language the last few posts but you know what? Fuck smokers. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart. I wouldn’t wish anal rape by angry, in heat, silver-backed gorillas on anyone…but smokers. For as much complaining as they do, smokers get a lot of accommodations. Think about it, if you aren’t a smoker…do you get to take a break every 15 minutes to get your daily dose of nicotine? I’m convinced smokers get about 4 hours of work done a day. It seems like for every hour they spend working, they get a 30 minute smoke break. What kind of shit is that? The subliminal message I’m getting from that is that companies promote suicide. Think about it, you can get a bigger break if you go to smoke (slowly turn your lungs into charcoal). And the smell. OMG…the smell. If my officemate was a smoker, I’d put cyanide tablets in his coffee. Cigarette smoke is a permeating smell that gets into your clothes, hair, and skin. I swear if I’m around these smokers any longer, I’m going to become addicted to nicotine myself. To make it worse, my company has designated ‘smoking sections’ in the parking garage. While on paper it sounds good, it in effect limits where you can park (unless you want your car smelling like the meeting room of the ‘Newports 4 Life’ club). Smokers have effectively turned approximately a quarter of each floor of the parking garage into a nuclear wasteland, except instead of fallout and radiation, there’s spent butts and the lingering odor of cigarettes. At least I know if I die of lung cancer, my family and friends have a good case for suing the tobacco companies.
3. Interior Offices – Don’t know what interior offices are? They’re the offices that don’t have windows because they aren’t against the outside wall of a building. Now, when you first think about it, you might think that being able to look out your window and see the outside world, therefore conjuring up feelings for what you are missing in life would be a bad thing. However, I’ve discovered that having your own window is actually essential to not having feelings of blowing your brains out. See, when there’s bad weather outside, if it wasn’t like that when you walked into the office, you have no idea what’s going on. Thanks to the brilliant weathermen in the DC Metro area, I can’t count on them to know what the weather is going to be like throughout the day. Weathermen in this area couldn’t predict a hot day in Hell. You could come in during the morning and it be sunny, and then leave in the middle of the second Ice Age. And even when you know that there is bad weather, you can’t accurately gauge just how bad it is throughout the day. You can’t see how bad the roads are. You can’t see how much snow is falling or how much of it is accumulating. You are effectively cut off. The Apocalypse could be going on outside my building and I would never know. Seriously, little hell spawns could be running around with pitchforks and the Four Horsemen could be flying around bringing death, pestilence, slaughter, and desolation to the masses, and I wouldn’t have a clue.
2. Management - Managers stretch out the work so that it lasts longer (In order to validate their jobs). Both you and your manager know that you could do your job from the comfort of your home, in your pajamas, during the commercial break of your favorite TV show. But if that was to happen, how would your manager defend the logic of them making almost twice as much as you? So managers have to find ways of throwing monkey wrenches into your plan of getting your work done quickly and efficiently. They call the long boring status meeting. They have you re-write your entire report because they didn’t like the color of the logo. They purposely don’t give you enough information to do you job and then go on vacation for 2 weeks so you have no way of completing your work. Then they get back in town and take you to task for not completing the work, even though there was no way you could even start it with the limited information they gave you. On the flip side, a good manager (Thank goodness mine is a good one) can make your job a lot easier. Most of the other things on this list aren’t that bad when you have a flexible and understanding manager. Unfortunately, there is an epidemic of horrible managers out in the corporate world. And the disease is spreading…
1. Status meetings – Has anyone figured out the purpose of these things? We have these weekly status meetings that would make the Prince of Darkness himself scream out in agony from the torture. It’s mind boggling. If Hell isn’t a Southwest curbside check-in line, then I’m 99% sure it’s just one endless status meeting. I can see it now. Lucifer sitting at a super long rectangular table with everyone in Hell sitting around it as he goes on for 23 straight hours about the status of installing air conditioning units in Hell. See, one of the things that stands out about status meetings is that there always has to be at least one item that will never, EVER get resolved. Just like how air conditioners will never be installed in Hell, your project manager will continue to bring up that one item each week that is discussed for the longest time, yet is never resolved. Honestly, nothing really ever changes that much between the weeks, yet we still meet to discuss just how much nothing has changed. I hate when I’ve given my status (5 minutes and that’s on a busy week), but then I have to wait for everyone else to go through theirs. You have to deal with the idiots that didn’t do anything all week, so now they have this laundry list of excuses for why they didn’t get anything accomplished. So now you’re stuck in the middle of a two-person conversation (the idiot and the project manager), that you really don’t need to be a part of, but there’s no way out of it. So you’re stuck sitting there listening to a bunch of boring drivel that you have no clue about. There’s usually only 2 – 3 people in the meeting that really carry on actual in depth conversation. Everyone else is either drawing, filling in all the o’s on the agenda, or staring off into space. Those carrying on the ‘conversation domination’ usually have no clue that everyone else has completely lost interest. It’s especially fun when the two dominating personalities are actually calling into the meeting. At least then everyone else can mute the phone and discuss how boring the shit is. And then there’s the issue of the empty, hollow feeling you get when you finally leave the meeting. It feels as if your soul has been snatched. See, that’s just you realizing that for all that time you wasted in there, you really didn’t gain any new information. It’s time you will never get back.