Friday, April 16, 2010

Junket Junkies

We are all important. Staff who work in support, development, administration or yes, even management, all contribute to Plankton’s success. However, there are obviously a few of us who are slightly more important than the others. Those few are the ones chosen to go on company outings, or junkets.

Put simply, a junket is any trip that takes you away from the Plankton offices and provides some kind of free stuff. Not all junkets are the same, though, and learning to recognise the different types can save you some embarrassment when bragging to your colleagues.

Working junket: Sure, you get to stay in a hotel. You get free meals. You might even get a free pen. But they actually expect you to work. And not just namby pamby “give a presentation” kind of work, but the kind of work where if you didn’t look up and see a slightly different shade of grey carpet on the cubicle wall you might think you were still at your own desk.

Junket du jour, or junkette. This is any trip, for example training or a seminar, that lasts for a day or less. You don’t get an overnight stay, but you do get free stuff. An un-catered meeting at a client site does not count as a junkette. If you get a donut then it’s an incredibly pathetic junkette, but a junkette nevertheless.

Maxi Junket: This is the real deal. You get an overnight stay, you get free meals and free merchandise (preferably electronic in nature). You may even fly to get there. And hopefully all you need to do is wear a name tag for three days while industry hawkers try to convince you of the quality of their product in the hope that you are more important than you look.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Communication Breakdown

As the human species evolves, so does its methods of communication. When life began in the primordial soup, we were solitary and silent. As marine life we used colours to indicate location. Once we became simplistic land animals we used smells as a form of marking territory and as we developed physically we began to use facial expressions and crude drawings. Basic grunting soon followed until we eventually developed spoken language.

After that came the written word, and then Gutenberg’s famous invention: the printing press. (Note that although he had great success with his first printing press, each one after that deteriorated in quality until Printing Press 7: Mission To Moscow, which Gutenberg wasn’t even involved with.) Technology had changed forever how we communicate and would so again with the typewriter and finally the internet.

And it is no surprise that each stage of this particular evolutionary journey is represented in the modern office.

Some people drift alone from meeting to meeting never aware of those around them. Cyclists in the office use their revealing and brightly coloured bodysuits to let us know “I AM GOING FOR A RIDE NOW!” and they, along with all other exercising employees use a form of smell to let us know when they have returned.

The facial expressions of certain developers when you ask “why can’t we stick this widget on this doovie here” instantly conveys precisely where they would like to stick your widget, and one visit to the toilets will let you know that many people here are quite adept at basic grunting and crude drawings.

Finally, spoken and written words have developed with the technology on which we use them, with new words being coined daily. In fact, due to time management directives, all Plankton staff have now been instructed to invent new words rather than waste time referentialising existing ones.