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:
- Those Across-the-Board Cuts That Aren't
- One widespread feature of organizational life is the announcement of across-the-board cuts. Although
they're announced, they're rarely "across-the-board." What's behind this pattern? How can
we change it to a more effective, truthful pattern?
- Responding to Threats: II
- When an exchange between individuals, or between an individual and a group, goes wrong, threats often
are either the cause or part of the results. If we know how to deal with threats — and how to
avoid and prevent them — we can help keep communications creative and constructive.
- Unintended Consequences
- Sometimes, when we solve problems, the solutions create new problems that can be worse than the problems
we solve. Why does this happen? How can we limit this effect?
- It's a Wonderful Day!
- Most knowledge workers are problem solvers. We work towards goals. We anticipate problems as best we
can, and when problems appear, we solve them. But our focus on anticipating problems can become a problem
in itself — at work and in Life.
- When Change Is Hard: I
- Sometimes changing organizations goes smoothly. More often, it doesn't. Whatever methodology we use
— and there are many methodologies available — difficulties can arise. When change is hard,
what's happening? What makes change hard?
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming March 4: Workplace Remorse
- Remorse is an unpleasant emotion. But it need not be something we suppress or avoid. It can provide a path to a positive learning experience that adds meaning to life. Available here and by RSS on March 4.
- And on March 11: Contribution Misattribution
- In teams, acknowledging people for their contributions is essential for encouraging high performance. Failing to do so can be expensive. Three patterns of Contribution misattribution are especially costly: theft, rejection/transmigration, and eliding. Available here and by RSS on March 11.
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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.