Life at work can get pretty loopy sometimes — so loopy that the real trick can be not losing your mind. One way to maintain your perspective is to find the humor in the zaniness we call work. Here are some of the more ridiculous things some of us have to put up with every day.
- Sitting in endless meetings that are totally irrelevant to anything you actually do, while the rest of your responsibilities go down in flames.
- Flying somewhere, and looking forward mostly to the few hours of peace you get while you're actually on board the aircraft.
- Looking at the cafeteria menu, expecting to find something that you haven't eaten every day for the last six months and which is also both tasty and non-life-threatening.
- You and the other smokers having to stand outside the building entrance puffing fast enough to avoid frostbite in the winter, or to avoid melting in the summer.
- Having 80% of your daily exercise consist of sprinting through the wall of tobacco smoke that surrounds every entrance to your building.
- Having a medical plan that doesn't cover smoking cessation.
- Being forced to resort to Yahoo or Hotmail to get some email privacy.
- It's pretty loopy
to have a
that doesn't cover
smoking cessationGetting so much email that you have to have somebody screen it, then to recover your privacy, setting up another email account for personal stuff, then getting too much email there, and wondering what the heck you can do now.
- Getting mounds of email from people complaining about other people sending too much email.
- Carefully keeping confidential something everybody already knows, then getting asked if you do know anything about it, and having to deny all knowledge to someone who knows that you know.
- Hearing a rumor about yourself, knowing it's true, but wishing it were false.
- Hearing a rumor about yourself, knowing it's false, but wishing it were true.
- Telling subordinates that their jobs have been eliminated, knowing that they know it's a lie, while you simultaneously wonder how long it will be till your boss tells you the exact same thing.
- Hoping to get promoted into a job where you'll have the opportunity to tell subordinates that their jobs have been eliminated, knowing that they know it's a lie, etc., etc.
- Relying on a blog written by some guy who got downsized three years ago, as your best source of information about what's happening on the floor above yours.
- Having to stay home to get some work done.
- Waking up in the morning thinking you're in a city that you aren't actually in.
- Having dry cleaning in two or more time zones.
- Learning by conducting actual experiments that in the other hemisphere the water doesn't really go down the toilet the other way.
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More articles on Emotions at Work:
- Dealing with Your Own Anger
- However perceptive we become about what can anger us, we still do get angry once in a while. Here are
four steps to help you deal with your own anger.
- The Fallacy of the False Cause
- Although we sometimes make decisions with incomplete information, we do the best we can, given what
we know. Sometimes, we make wrong decisions not because we have incomplete information, but because
we make mistakes in how we reason about the information we do have.
- Irrational Self-Interest
- When we try to influence others, especially large groups or entire companies, we sometimes create packages
of incentives and disincentives that are intended to affect behavior. These strategies usually assume
that people make choices on rational grounds. Is this assumption valid?
- Hurtful Clichés: I
- Much of our day-to-day conversation consists of harmless clichés: "How goes it?" or
"Nice to meet you." Some other clichés aren't harmless, but they're so common that
we use them without thinking. Maybe it's time for some thought.
- One Cost of Split Assignments
- Sometimes management practices have unintended consequences. To reduce costs, we keep staff ranks thin,
but that leads to split assignments for those with rare skills. Here's one way split assignments can
lead to higher costs.
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming January 22: Disjoint Awareness: Bias
- Some cognitive biases can cause people in collaborations to have inaccurate understandings of what each other is doing. Confirmation bias and self-serving bias are two examples of cognitive biases that can contribute to disjoint awareness in some situations. Available here and by RSS on January 22.
- And on January 29: Higher-Velocity Problem Definition
- Typical approaches to shortening time-to-market for new products usually involve accelerating problem solving. Accelerating problem definition can also help. Available here and by RSS on January 29.
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- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.