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:
- Making Memories to Cherish
- We all have cherished memories — lovely moments we can replay whenever we want to feel happy.
How would you like to have a lot more of them?
- The Focusing Illusion in Organizations
- The judgments we make at work, like the judgments we make elsewhere in life, are subject to human fallibility
in the form of cognitive biases. One of these is the Focusing Illusion. Here are some examples to watch for.
- Good Change, Bad Change: II
- When we distinguish good change from bad, we often get it wrong: we favor things that would harm us,
and shun things that would help. When we do get it wrong, we're sometimes misled by social factors.
- Managing Hindsight Bias Risk
- Performance appraisal practices and project retrospectives both rely on evaluating performance after
outcomes are known. Unfortunately, a well-known bias — hindsight bias — can limit the effectiveness
of many organizational processes, including both performance appraisal and project retrospectives.
- Unanswerable Questions
- Some questions are beyond our power to answer, but many of us try anyway. What are some of these unanswerable
questions and how can we respond?
See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming July 18: High Falutin' Goofy Talk: III
- Workplace speech and writing sometimes strays into the land of pretentious but overused business phrases, which I like to call high falutin' goofy talk. We use these phrases with perhaps less thought than they deserve, because they can be trite or can evoke indecorous images. Here's Part III of a collection of phrases and images to avoid. Available here and by RSS on July 18.
- And on July 25: Exploiting Functional Fixedness: II
- A cognitive bias called functional fixedness causes difficulty in recognizing new uses for familiar things. It also makes for difficulty in recognizing devious uses of everyday behaviors. Here's Part II of a catalog of deviousness based on functional fixedness. Available here and by RSS on July 25.
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- The Race to the South Pole: The Power of Agile Development
- On 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald
Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen
had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished.
As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough. Lessons abound. Among the more important
lessons are those that demonstrate the power of the agile approach to project management and product
development. Read more about this program. Here's
a date for this program:
- Ohio National Insurance, 1 Financial Way, Blue Ash, OH: July
Monthly Meeting, Cincinnati
chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. Register now.
- Ohio National Insurance, 1 Financial Way, Blue Ash, OH: July 17, Monthly Meeting, Cincinnati chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. Register now.
- 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.