Tag Archives: co-workers

We may have bonded for the wrong reasons.

8 Jul

A few weeks ago the crew from my office went to my colleague’s home to celebrate the graduation of her daughter. It was sweet of her to invite us, and it was nice to get a glimpse of her life outside of work. It didn’t hurt that she has a friendly family and a beautiful home.

It did, however, remind me, of another time, years ago, when someone dared to blur the line between work and home, with significantly less impressive results.

For almost a decade, I’ve managed people in markets other than where I sit, which means I often fly in for a 3-4 day junket and try to do as much as possible while I’m visiting. Client visits? Shadow interviews? Performance reviews?  Team building? Bring it!

In this case, I was visiting a market with a relatively new team who was struggling to bond. There was a certain amount of back-stabbing drama, and I was hoping to put an end to it while in town. I offered to take everyone out to  dinner, but one of the women countered my proposal, inviting us all to her house instead. Very nice.

While that seems like a good idea on the surface, I probably should have stuck with Plan A since I’d never seen her home. But I didn’t. Noted.

So cut to 6pm, when we walk through her front door. And are immediately greeted by a rotweiler and a black lab. And when I say greeted, I mean: after jumping on us, unable to contain its excitement, the lab lifts his leg and pees on my boots.

Could've been worse! (Image Source: HaHaStop)

Fortunately, they are knee-high boots, so they sort of function like fishing waders and keep my legs dry. But still, I’m standing there in the kitchen, in a puddle of urine with wet boots. That definitely isn’t how I would choose to say, “Welcome to my home!” to a co-worker.

Luckily, I have a change of clothes with me, so I excuse myself to the bathroom to freshen up. (I’ve also been sitting in traffic for upwards of an hour and gulping water on the way to her home, so my run to the bathroom is multi-functional.)

In the bathroom, I close the door, set about washing off my boots, then turn to use the toilet. And am greeted by an open bowl, already hosting a turd the side the size of 50 Cent’s forearm. Just… wow.

My incredulity quickly turns to panic, however, because I realize I’ve been in the bathroom long enough that if I go back out and announce that the toilet is clogged, they are going to think I’m the reason. So suddenly, her turd (or, more likely, her husband/child’s turd) becomes my problem.

I flush and feel a wave of relief when I see it disappear without a struggle. Of course, that then begs the question: what was it doing there in the first place? No matter. I’m just glad to have it gone so I can pee and get out of there.

When I walk back to the kitchen, I’m pretty sure I look shell-shocked, because when one of the women says, “All cleaned up?” it takes me a minute to realize she’s talking about my boots. I nod, thinking, “If only you knew.”

And maybe it’s because I’ve encountered two different forms of excrement within ten minutes of entering the home, but I’m starting to feel a bit queasy about eating dinner there. It doesn’t help that our host’s eight year old daughter is leaning over the salad bowl to toss it, the ends of her hair touching the lettuce.

Remember the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation, where Chevy Chase’s cousin’s daughter is stirring the KoolAid pitcher with her arm instead of a spoon? Yeah, it’s like that.

To keep from rambling, I’ll ask you to use your imagination to figure out how dirty underwear, wigs and piranhas presented themselves as the evening went on. But let me assure you: they all made an appearance.

The morale of the story? I think McDonald’s said it best when they launched the McDLT: Keep your hot side hot, and your cool side cool. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to mix.

Doing our best to give HR job security.

16 Mar

Yesterday morning I was showing a colleague a piece of corporate swag I had received at an event. It was a rubber watch made in the style of those “Silly Bandz” or “Slapz” things that are popular with kids these days.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? First, thanks for making me feel better for actually knowing what these things are. I feel much less grandma-esque now. Second, for your edification: they are rubber watches that are straight and rigid until you hit them on something – then they curve and wrap around it.

Hence this watch looks kind of like a ruler until you smack it on your wrist – then it curves and becomes a bracelet around your wrist. Get it?

Anyway, as I showed it to my colleague, she said, “Awesome! I love this.”

And then, seeing it go from curled to straight, about a beat later she exclaimed, “It’s like a little orange penis!”

At this point, she happened to realize she had SPOKEN OUT LOUD and that we were not the only people in the office. In fact, the person closest to us was a guy, separated only by a cubicle wall, left to his own imagination to figure out what we were talking about. She collapsed into a puddle of embarrassment on her desk.

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He fought the lawn, and the lawn won.

2 Aug

One of my favorite things about working in an office is the Monday water cooler talk, where everyone compares notes on their weekends. If it were a contest, today my colleague Jason would’ve won.

An elder from his church offered him a lawn mower on Sunday. “Jason,” he said. “I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I just bought this new mower and it hasn’t cut a blade of grass. I think it’s too complicated for me. Stop by and I’ll give it to you if you want it.”

Jason, being something of a boy scout, responded, “Nah. Why don’t I come over and see if I can get it working for you?”

The elder (who is actually in his 80s) said, “No, thanks. I tried that thing a few times and couldn’t figure it out, so I hired a lawn service. My place looks the best it has in 30 years!”

So Jason stopped by. And looked at the lawn mower. And realized: it was, in fact, a wood chipper.

I think there’s a moral here, like: The right tool for the job makes all the difference.

Or: be nice to your elders. Because they might bat-shit crazy and give you some nice equipment.