Posts filed under ‘Work’

We’ve all wanted to…

The other morning, I was walking down Spear Street in San Francisco, and saw this on the ground outside of an office building:

Printer out the window

You got it.  A printer thrown out of the window of an office building in an obvious fit of rage.  There’s still paper in it!

Am I the only one reminded of the movie Office Space with the scene where they steal the printer and beat it senseless in a field?  Here’s the clip (but if you’re sensitive to foul language I suggest you turn down the background music).


May 22, 2009 at 2:54 am 2 comments

Guest Post: The Wheels that Keep Our Country Turning

My office carpet produces an insane amount of static electricity. I failed Physical Science. Twice. So that may not be exactly what is happening. I remember a rod being rubbed against a rabbit fur? I guess in this example I’m the rod. But I’d rather be draped in rabbit fur. That’s beside the point though. There is tons of electricity in the office. Touch the filing cabinet. POW. Grab something off the printer. ZING. I don’t know why I’m surprised every time it happens. But I am.

Since realizing the potent force of electrons, or protons, or Jimmy Neutron, I’ve had one goal. To have an intern shock his mouth on the metal door handle to our office. Why? I have no idea. But I nearly got one to do it. We locked the door, double locked in fact using a lock on the ground, to ensure that the door wouldn’t fling open and deteeth him. He chickened out. But just by getting close, the two of us have been close since he left the office, nearly two years ago.

What else makes a strong intern? Killer guest posts for one. For another, being neither heard nor seen, yet managing to keep my outbox empty of clutter. Not calling me “Bud” in the hall is a major one. You should also keep your shoes on while at the copier. Where I work, summer interns are a special level of intern. During the school year, the truly devoted are interns. Once summer hits, everyone whose Dad or Mom is owed a favor gets in. You can spot these gems by their designer duds, high heels, couture bags, too much David Yurman, and Barack Obama pins.

While we’re fondly recalling intern memories (not fondling), here are a few more.

*Telling a managing partner at the firm picnic that he was a summer associate in his second year of law school, when in reality he was an intern in his sophomore year of college.

*An 18 year old getting totally hammered at an Orioles game, having his car impounded, and being forced to stay in a hotel near the stadium. It being a work night, he drove in the next day directly from Baltimore, neglecting his hygienic duties.

*An intern who in the matter of one week had her dorm catch fire, her car blocked in on the street, and a mono scare, all which prevent her from showing up to work on time.

It is wonderful to take part in guiding these brilliant young minds that are so full of hope and promise. We are fortunate to see these rising stars who look down on the entry level jobs in the office that none of them could even hope to get. Here’s to them.

July 2, 2008 at 10:54 pm 2 comments

The Rain in Spain

Have you ever had a class experience ruined by a disruptive classmate? The over-commenters, the know-it-alls, those that can’t enunciate their “t’s”? In my case, the culprit combines the first and third categories, rendering the last 12 hours of a certain professional training utterly trying.

After the teacher spells something out in the clearest of terms, this classmate says in a meandering tone, “You mean to tell me that [verbatim repeat of what teacher just said]?


Then, she causes the real grievance by bringing out the Henry Higgins in me. “Even d‘oh dey say it, dey don’t mean it? Dat’s why dey do dat?” With her commenting 30% of the time, this means I’ve been listening to this for 3.6 hours in the last week, not including breaks. What’s an English major to do?

Perhaps remind myself that at least the know-it-all has completed the program and isn’t coming back to class. This woman would ask an insanely long question based on her personal experience as an agent. She would then get an answer from the instructor and whip out, “Yah, I know, that’s what I tell them,” before the instructor was even done with the explanation. After a few sessions, a theme emerged from her client scenarios where she’d always end with, “Yah, I thought they were my friend.” Astute classmates could observe why “friends” became no longer when working with this person.

Posted by JL

November 7, 2007 at 2:49 pm 26 comments

Combating the Evil Empire

Once upon a time there was a high school senior who thought she should build her resume and have something to do after school. Because J. Crew was a little more discerning in their hires, she bit at the first offer from Abercrombie & Fitch. There were immediate signs that something stunk in suburbia, yet the allure of that stout $5.50 an hour held her in place for enough time to witness some truly horrific things about the underbelly of the Evil Empire.

  • Fellow co-workers and managers thought the world of themselves, even as a 24-year old manager lost all dignity by throwing herself at a 19-year old community college sales associate and inviting him home repeatedly after late night clothes stockings.
  • At the direction of store leadership, associates were directed to be more playful and spontaneous, much like the models in the trashy posters flung across the store. This plan had to be halted when some associates started a tag football game in the middle of the store and knocked over an unsuspecting tween.
  • In a required meeting for all employees, management coached everyone on making sure the right kind of customer lingered in the store. If someone didn’t look like they belonged and had bags from stores that were way below the caliber of the A&F fashion house or if they essentially weren’t Caucasian and preppy, associates were to follow them around asking if they could offer assistance and not leave their side until they left the store. Because certainly a Wet Seal bag = shoplifter.
  • For the highly anticipated visit of the CEO, managers instructed all of the girl associates that there was a perception “throughout the country” that they were too pretty and intimidating to approach. “You, put your hair up,” “You, put on these flip flops,” “Remove those pearls and put on this hemp beaded necklace thing,” followed.

Being a worse quitter than Michael Scott at his telemarketing gig, she was scheduled for all-night duty to set up the new summer merchandise and did not, repeat, did not, feel like her health should be sacrificed to this insulting company. So she did the grown up thing and had her college graduate sister phone her manager and tell her that her sister had been stricken with mono, and wouldn’t be making the 10pm-9am shift that night, and that she would never be coming back.

This plan to build her resume backfired which may explain some of the job opportunities she was presented with after attending a Park City job fair:


And that my friends, is what future hiring managers thought of her Abercrombie stint, and rightly so.  She had only proven that she had “amusement park skills” and the ability to sport a monster costume.
Posted by JL

October 23, 2007 at 8:45 am 13 comments

Wash it Down with Some Tahitian Noni

While it was noted earlier that my sister on a mission has a few more months of being on IRF sidelines, a tale came into my mind of one of her forays into the world of pyramid schemes. She went no further than the sales pitch meeting held in a strip mall in Orem, UT, but came back with a stirring tale to tell. If only the hidden cameras of 20/20 could have been there.

Leaving Gold’s gym she found a flyer on her windshield advertising a way for students to make easy money to the tune of $400 a week. In her open-minded state she thought, “What have I got to lose?” and it didn’t hurt that Sconecutter refreshments were being served. So off she went alone to the meeting where a botoxed, tweaked all over peroxide blond made her case for the entrepreneur audience to enlist five of their friends to also sell the product line.

The product was environmentally friendly cleaning supplies that weren’t poisonous if swallowed. Challenged by a belligerent snowboarder about the reality of such a claim, Trixie bolted to the sample table, grabbed a spritz bottle of window cleaner and asked, “Who’s telling the truth now?” while dousing her mouth vigorously with sprays of the window solvent.


Apparently it didn’t taste much like Skittles and she started gagging and had to run to the hallway drinking fountain to gurgle it out. No one ended signing on to sell the labor of Trixie’s mind but it is surprising how often such schemes take root and spread. Particularly in Utah County the birth place of NuSkin, Neways, and Tahitian Noni. Regardless of their claims of legitimacy, they all seem a little shady.

Posted by JL

October 17, 2007 at 9:24 pm 8 comments

Econ 101: The Candy Show

Every job has its perks.  Mine enables me to attend the annual All Candy Expo.  Chicago’s McCormick Place is taken over by wall-to-wall confections… and I get paid to walk the hallowed halls and sample the newest innovations.  Gum, Candy, Snacks… Last year the biggest trend was dark chocolate and printing the percentage of Cocoa on the package.  This year the flavor that EVERYONE is trying to get a piece of is Blueberry Pomegranate, which I find to be a lovely combination. 

As I walked down aisles 1 and 2, each little piece of Fudge, each sample of hard candy was an utter and complete delight.  I filled my bag like a overgrown, under-dressed Trick or Treater.  Aisles 3 and 4 came and I was still excited, but walking faster, taking fewer samples, and my excitement diminished with every aisle until I finally ended up skipping the last couple aisles.  My coworker one time referred to this phenomenon as the Law of Diminishing Returns.  I said, “More like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.”  Like the cool kid that I am.

So, by popular request, I am addressing the difference between these economic laws.  Since I am not a economics expert (other than knowing the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility when I see it), I went straight to IRF reader, Masters of Economics Candidate, Mikel, who quoted from his MIT Dictionary of Modern Economics:

Diminishing marginal utility is exactly like the candy example, usually though it has to do with purchasing something, but same idea. The more you have of something, the less valuable an additional unit is to you. The law of diminishing returns is more specific to production. So, if you have fixed capital and keep adding labor to it, your marginal and then average returns to labor will diminish after some point. You get less output out of an additional unit of labor, as you add more and more labor. Instead of too much candy, this would be like having too many workers and not enough computers. So, it is usually said “diminishing returns to labor” or “diminishing returns to labor with respect to capital”. They both describe curved functions, and the measure of the slope of a curved line. So, graphically they look similar, even though one is describing an individual’s utility function (convex), and the other is describing a production function (concave). They both measure the changing slope of a curved line. I think that pretty much explains it.

So there you have it.  Your first piece of candy is more highly valued than your 10,000th.  The law didn’t stop me, however, from topping off my bag with Almond Joys and Pomegranate Jelly Bellys (and Lemon Heads for Joey).  The Willy Wonka Soundtrack has that effect on me.

Thanks to Mikel for doing his part to educate our loyal readers on this important subject. And I’m here to answer any questions about gum and candy.

Posted by LeMare

September 26, 2007 at 1:09 am 15 comments

Make it At Least Sound Like You’re Working

Since working from home over the last sixteen months, I’ve experienced the bad and the ugly of talking to clients, bosses and others from my makeshift satellite office. Were it not for my ever-busy fifteen month old assistant in the background (whose music class teacher accuses of having “wiggle worms” in his overalls–she also can only communicate in verse), background noise wouldn’t be an issue. Dear Boy caused me a bit of panic back when he was three months old and breastfeeding round the clock.

In that stage, he could be placed on his Boppy pillow and I could continue to work on my computer completely uninterrupted while he fed. I became so immune to his little nursing soundtrack figuring that was the best time to make calls since he wouldn’t fuss at all. Imagine my surprise two minutes into a conversation when an events manager in San Francisco asked nonchalantly how old my little one was, with no prior indication from me that I had a baby. Flustered, I replied, realizing he heard my suckling child loud and clear in California, and he then said, “Oh, my wife and I have a five month old so those sounds are quite familiar.” Needless to say, I weeded his hotel out of the running for our event and got off the phone with a new set of personal phone regulations.

Now along comes a product for the stay-at-home worker or those that just work in smaller offices that want to a) block unintended background noise of dogs, babies and doorbells and/or b) create the illusion of workplace productivity. This CD creates a bustling background of “busy office” sounds like ringing phones, mumbling co-workers and incoming faxes. Two tracks exist depending on how badly you want to want to get off the phone with your client, “Busy” or “Very Busy.”

Thriving Office makes the grandiose claim that no one has ever returned one of their CDs out of dissatisfaction, since they also allege that by creating the myth of a busy office (starring you), you actually will get more work done in the end. The Pioneer Press points out an additional perk as “[giving] comfort to the lonely telecommuter.” Now one thing is for sure.

While I’ve had to mute my line during conference calls when Dear Boy takes over on the drums…

I’ve never been lonely as I’ve ducked work calls to attend to matters of greater importance, like perfecting Yoda’s Halloween strut.

Posted by JL

September 24, 2007 at 9:23 pm 12 comments

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