Saturday, April 13, 2013

Passive Delegation

When you are assigned a task, it is because someone with authority doesn’t want to do something themselves. While you may be tempted to just perform the task, this is rarely beneficial to your career as it sends the message that you are uncreative, subservient, unimportant and, worst of all, not busy.

You could actively delegate the task by going up to someone and saying "do this". This can be effective, particularly if you are yourself in some position of authority, but keep in mind that this is exactly what has happened to you. You are in the process of shirking someone else's active delegation and there is every chance that your minion will try the same.

The most effective way to offload a task is through Passive Delegation. You know this task is important to the person who asked you to do it, otherwise they would not ask for it to be done. It is, in fact, more important to that person than it is to you. Therefore, all you need to do to passively delegate a task is to avoid doing it. Eventually the person that assigned it will give up in despair and take the task back to do themselves.

Be careful, though. When asked whether it has been done, do not say "whoops, forgot about that, let me get straight on that." Instead, tell them that the reason it isn’t done it is that you have all this important work to do (a messy desk helps here). Do not be afraid to belittle them in the process. The more snide you are about the job, the more in control you will seem. "Why would I do that when I have this to do?"

In no time at all you will be seen as too important to do anything useful and will be promoted to management.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We Wish You A Merry (insert where appropriate)

December is the time of year when companies stress about whether they are allowed to participate in traditional festive activities. Increasingly it has become more difficult for companies to celebrate religious or cultural festivals for fear of either excluding someone whose culture has been missed or, even worse, including someone who does not wish to be happy or witness the happiness of others.

For this reason the Plankton office has now been equipped with a culturally neutral “festive” room. In this room staff members of different backgrounds and denominations may celebrate their religious (or otherwise) holidays throughout the year when their “festive cycle” occurs. The room is soundproofed to ensure any singing or merriment does not leak into the rest of the building. There are also drawers of Lego™ and an extensive catalogue of instruction booklets which can be used to build a menorah, Christmas tree, statue of Vishnu or any other piece of religious or cultural apparatus that you may require. Please disassemble these before leaving so as not to accidentally indoctrinate future merry-makers.

If you are in your festive cycle please refrain from sharing any kind of “joy” or “spirit” with your fellow workers outside of this room, as this may cause offence to those not in their festive cycle. If you are not in your festive cycle (or do not have one) then please do not participate in the traditions of other cultures. Appropriating the celebrations of a different culture, even through the use of a greeting, is seen as particularly disrespectful. If you want to wish someone “Merry Christmas” please ensure that you can prove you are a Christian.

The following greetings will be acceptable all year round:

  • Hello
  • Enjoy this time of year if it appropriate for you to do so.
  • Happy Plankton

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kraken Out

The Plankton board would like to follow up on the announcement made here about a potential takeover by the multinational Kraken Group.

The Kraken executive team released a statement soon after their visit to our offices that they are no longer interested in purchasing Plankton Software Systems. They did not say why, but Plankton management would like to assure everyone that the decision had nothing to do with the fact that their visit coincided with Plankton’s fundraiser month Unprofessionalcember and want everyone to continue with their charitable swearing, scruffy dressing and unhygienic attitude towards dirty dishes.

Many have asked “where to for Plankton now?” This is a great question, and it seems clear that we as a company must take this opportunity to take a look at our operations and ensure that future takeover bids do not occur. In particular we need to review our standards related to customer service and product quality. These standards must be lowered immediately to ensure Plankton is no longer an attractive company to buy. Our success up to this point is what caught Kraken’s eye, and this success must be stopped. As such, the board would like to announce a new company-wide performance benchmark: if Plankton posts a loss of 1 million dollars by first quarter next year, everyone will receive a 5% bonus. This bonus will be increased by 1% for every customer we lose in that same time.

And you can help bring those profits down. If you have a deadline, ignore it. Encourage more managers to take an interest in your project. And most importantly, book more meetings. We need to be as unproductive as possible. With your help, we are sure that Plankton can become the best software company that money wouldn’t want to buy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekend Warrior

If you have been asked to work on the weekend it is because there is a task that has just come up suddenly which needs to be done quickly and you are the only expert in your field capable of doing it. Work on the weekend is never work that could have been done any time in the past three months by any button pushing monkey if only the project you were working on was managed better and the company knew the first thing about what you actually do. Never that.

The normal office rules don’t apply to weekend work. This means that you can wear whatever you like, use as much internet as you like and adorn your cubicle with MORE than 4 personal items (although these must be removed before 7am Monday). You can also come in at whatever time you like, listen to music through your speakers and drink openly at your desk (rather than hiding a 4 pack of wine cooler in the climate controlled server room).

Working on the weekend does comes with responsibilities, though. Not only do you have to prove that you were in at all (see this previous tip for advice) but you owe it to your workmates to show how important you are. So in the following week constantly refer to the work you did on the weekend. Get included in the Monday morning sports wrap-up and say “yeah, I couldn’t catch the game, they needed me to come in on Saturday”. Your workmates will feel honoured to share a break room with you.

Most importantly, let your boss know you are always available as you had a fantastic time. This will guarantee you are never asked to work on the weekend again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Riding the Social Media Horse

Plankton has recently enlisted the help of a SMEG (Social Media Expert/Guru) to ensure that it keeps its relevance in these new and exciting times.

The first recommendation from the SMEG is that every Plankton employee should be active on a number of different social networks. While this might seem contrary to Plankton’s strict Internet policy (which, like all Plankton policies, has remained proudly unaltered since it was hastily introduced after Tim Berners-Lee flicked the switch on the World Wide Web in 1990) we have been assured that it will provide a number of benefits.

  • Disgruntled employees are asked to sign up to Twitter. Not only does Twitter give the impression that people are listening, it also provides just enough space to air minor grievances about Plankton, while actively distracting anyone from Plankton’s much bigger problems.
  • Any staff members who regularly meet with clients are encouraged to use Facebook. This will familiarise staff in communicating with people they don’t know or like, and yet feel some kind of obligation to be polite to.
  • Programmers and developers should be scouring KickStarter for any startup companies that a) have innovative software ideas and b) look like they can’t afford a legal team.

On top of these recommendations, the SMEG has also suggested that Plankton create its own social media presence. As such you can now follow Rob’s Office Tips on Twitter at @robsofficetips where you will find lots of new helpful hints compressed into 140 characters of easily misconstrued advice as well as a large amount of recycled content from this newsletter.

You can also use this twitter account to ask for help on office etiquette as well as clarification on Plankton policies and procedures. Any complaints should be written in a single tweet and must include the following hashtag:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Kraken Good Time

Followers of the office tips may have noticed there has been no update for the past 17 months. This is because Plankton has been in a media blackout since it was first leaked that there may be rumours of a corporate takeover by the multinational Kraken Group. Plankton management can now confirm that those rumours do in fact exist and would like to announce that people have indeed been speculating about the possibility of a takeover.

Plankton would like to assure each and every one of its employees that they are a valued member of the Plankton community for as long as their contract is in place (the exact value of each employee will be known once negotiations with the multinational Kraken group are finalised and a price per head is agreed).

While Kraken has not indicated whether it will sell or support the product that Plankton currently makes, it is important that you continue in your day-to-day tasks until such time as you are told to destroy any and all intellectual property, wipe your hard drives and deny your own existence. Exploit the fact that no-one may ever see your creation to get really imaginative. Think outside the box! Experiment with that design. Use code no-one has ever used before. After all, the skills you gain here will look great on your newly polished LinkedIn profile.

Many of you may wonder if there will be a place for you in Kraken’s titanic org structure. Well, by an amazing coincidence, not only will there be the exact same number of vacancies at Kraken as there are Plankton employees, but they will even match our skills and roles one for one. Everyone will have a position in the new company and there will even be donuts on Fridays. Hooray!

Finally, please note that there will be a quick whip-round later in the week to buy a small gift of encouragement for Plankton’s lawyers and accountants who have a big job ahead of them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting There: Walking

‘Getting There’ is a series of office tips about your commute into (and more importantly away from) the Plankton offices.

Walking to work is the slowest of all modes of travel and those who do it are well aware of this. Walking is for people who value the journey, not the destination. The walker has time to relax, reflect and evaluate their life goals. For this reason companies often provide free car parking, subsidised train tickets and onsite bicycle maintenance. Anything to discourage walking and ensure that people actually turn up, instead of wandering to the park to chill out, watch the ducks and wonder if there is more to life than this 8-5 desk job.

Given they are under such pressure to drive, walkers are considered to be quiet rebels who follow their own rules. Pedestrian crossings, for example, are shunned. When they must be used, all signals are ignored. One thing that unites all walkers is a belief in sticking it to the man (particularly the red flashing man).

People often say they live too far from work to walk but actually, this is impossible. After all, anywhere is within walking distance if you have the time and the right shoes. That extra time can be used to listen to long those long mellow tracks by bands like Pink Floyd or Sigur Ros; the kind of track which goes for half an hour before the song really starts. In fact anything shorter than ten minutes is just pop-rubbish for kids with no attention span.

Which brings us to the conclusion that people who walk to work are actually the most well adjusted individuals on the planet. If you ask someone "Why do you like to walk to work? " they will simply answer "Because I do, man ." This seemingly useless response actually says more about the walker than any Myers-Briggs self evaluation ever could. Walking is a not just a way of Getting There - it is, in fact, a way of life.