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Has Anyone Seen My Stapler?

Submitted by Rachel on October 28, 2010 – 7:10 pmComments

"We're gonna need to go ahead and move you downstairs into storage B."

For many of us just starting out in our careers, navigating the office politics can be as hard or harder than learning the job itself. Cubicle slaves such as myself find things like “Dilbert” and “Office Space” so funny because they’re often just a slight exaggeration of all the interesting people you get to share 1/3 of your day with, such as:

The Evil Boss: If they aren’t micromanaging you or assigning you near-impossible tasks, they aren’t happy. Every e-mail is marked urgent, everything should have been done yesterday, and no matter what, it’s your fault. If you’ve got one of these, I suggest you take a deep breath, and give as good as you get within your power. I recommend CC’ing him or her on every e-mail you send –you want to approve everything, you got it – here are 200 mundane e-mails for your review! Small things that can’t be traced to you such as hooking all the paperclips together can also give you small joys on those especially awful days.

The Techno-challenged: Aside from the annoyance of having to drop all your work for the 43rd time in a day because replacing the toner is too advanced for some, these can be the best people in the office. Who doesn’t love an outpouring of “You’re a genius!” for being able to create mailing labels? Get enough of these people in an office and you may never have to do any actual work. Their admiration and gratitude more than makes up for their incompetence.

The Office Mom: “Are you eating enough?” “You look tired; did you sleep last night?” Assuming she backs up her 100 questions with an offer to bring you in some food, she’s harmless. She has the added bonus of not really being your mother, so come 5 p.m. you are both full AND free to go about your business.

The Golden Employee: There’s always one person in the office everyone besides you seems to worship for no apparent reason. “Ohmigod, you created a word document? How cutting edge and revolutionary!” Try not to let their smug grin ruin your day. It’ll never change.

The Rambler: “Do you have a minute?” Unless you actually have 45 minutes, say no. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been trapped listening to conversations that start out about some letterhead and end up about someone’s grandchild’s former school friend in some other country fifty years ago that…wait, what was the original point of this? Exactly.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is: IT’S A JOB. You don’t have to love everyone you work with, you just have to show up and do your work. If you’re really lucky, you may even find a friend at work to snicker in the lunchroom with about this morning’s meeting, or take a 2:30 stroll to the soda machine.   You’re in the rat race for the next 40 or so years, so try not to burn out too fast!

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