Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Party Aftermath

If you look closely at section of your Workplace agreement, you will see that you are duty bound to embarrass yourself at one or more office Christmas parties during your employment. Making a fool of yourself is not hard, and you do not need anyone's tips on how to do that. However, turning up to work the following Monday can be difficult. Here is some advice to help you get through that harrowing work day.

Walk into the office; ostensibly proud of who you are (even if you are not). You are, after all, no different to who you were last week. Then (and this is the cunning part) pull each individual in the company aside, and apologise personally for spilling that drink on them, trying to remove their trousers or swearing loudly in front of their children . If you don't remember what you did, use generic apologies such as "Sorry about what I did there", "I hope you're not upset with me" or "I move that today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land...".

This way everyone in the office will shift from harbouring a mild disdain for you to feeling a modicum of respect for admitting your faults privately while maintaining your dignity publicly. With any luck you will get an extra present at Kris Kringle time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sick Leave

Being sick is a pain, but it’s often best to just push through and keep going to work. That way when everyone else around you falls sick as well you won’t feel so bad. Misery does love company after all.

But if you do decide to stay home, there is nothing worse than being sick, and not having a “sick voice” when you phone in. People won’t believe you if you don’t sound sick, and they will really think you are lying if you use a fake sick voice. If you really are ill, and don’t want to be thought of as a malingerer then rather than phoning in with a chirpy voice, simply send an email instead. Try adding a sad “smiley” for sympathy and effect:

I won’t be in today, I am not feeling well :-(

Hearts, and possibly flowers, will go out to you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carbon Neutral

In this time of great environmental upheaval we are all doing our best to become Carbon Neutral. (I myself am also trying to become tax-neutral, and am hoping that my many past years on various forms of Social Security combined with a big pension will help me achieve that.) But to truly become Carbon Neutral not only must we offset the power that we do use, but we should actually try to use less power.

It’s all very well for the people who work close to the office to ride or walk in to work, but the small environmental benefit of that is more than offset by the detrimental effect of smug people walking around the office in lycra.

So, how can you help? Most employees have a wide array of portable electronic devices which consume a great deal of power. Mobile Phones, MP3 players, PDAs, Hello Kitty shoulder massagers etc.

When you charge these devices at home they consume a great deal of power which would not otherwise be consumed. Why not take them in to work and charge them there? After all, they always leave the power on at work so it is really only using the power that is already being generated.

Remember if ITS didn't want us charging 17 different USB devices simultaneously they wouldn't have given us 17 available USB ports.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Aromatic Dining

After you finish eating a particularly aromatic food, you do not want your bin to waft constant reminders of your wonderful meal for the rest of the day.

To combat this, make sure you dispose of any particularly pungent refuse in the bin under someone else's desk. This will keep your work area nice and fresh and at the same time open someone's mind to olfactory experiences they might otherwise shun.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Water Wise

A Water wise tip. If you drink coffee or tea regularly then there’s really no need to wash your cup every single time you have a drink. Statistics have shown that even a quick rinse can waste a whole cup of water over a day. Over 240 working days in a year, this adds up to 60 litres. That’s a whole petrol tank!

But think about it, do you really need to rinse at all? You’re drinking the same drink, all the time. No one else is using your cup. Just refill it! After all, when you’re at McDonalds and you get a refill you don’t spend hours meticulously cleaning it, do you? No, you just pick up the pot and pour! Well the same principal applies. And think how much water you waste putting your cup in dishwasher each night. After all you know that no one has touched your cup overnight, so just use it the next day. And that “weird” taste is simply the taste of the environment thanking you.

Cubicle Walls

Contrary to popular belief, partition walls are not there to separate employees. They are installed to add dimensions to the already complex arena of inter-office communications. Don’t be afraid to “break the 4th wall”, pop your head up and communicate with your cube mates.

With this in mind, if your neighbour is having a particularly loud conversation, either on the phone, or with a cubicle visitor, it should be treated as a subtle invitation for you to show an interest and ultimately join in. Don’t let ignorance of the subject matter, or the fact that you have missed half the conversation, deter you. People are usually more than happy to fill in the gaps of any private conversation to someone who has joined late.

If your neighbour is, on the other hand, not particularly loud, then it is still an invitation, just a more subtle one.


Did you know that when people say “how are you” in the morning, not only do they not care about the answer; they often don’t even listen for a response. You can test this by replying in gibberish, and see how, or if, they respond. This is particularly effective in a corridor exchange where there is limited face-to-face time.

“Hey how’s it going?”


If you become skilled at this, you can take it to the next level:

“Hey how’s it going?”

“Blannemble. Merr findun bem?”

“Yeah, pretty good thanks.”


Plankton is a great place to work but let’s face it: software development is never going to give you the adrenaline rush that is felt by an ambulance driver, fighter pilot or nude weatherman. Here are a few tips to make your office day exciting:

  • Corridor Chicken –See how someone reacts if you walk directly towards them in the corridor. If they get out of the way, you win! Let them know this.
  • Radio silence – See if you can go a whole day without opening your email. Not even once, not even to check to see if you have a meeting.
  • Whiteboard Reservation – Go into a meeting room and write random things on the whiteboard, then, in the top right hand corner, write “Please Leave”. See how long it remains there.
  • Mythbusters – Send staff wide emails about “interesting facts” that you know are actually urban legends. See how many people respond. Bonus points if they refer to www.snopes.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Small Talk

Morning coffee is great, however it can be awkward when you try to make small talk with people you see everyday. Even the standard fall backs of sport, television and the news wear thin after 5 consecutive days. Here are some conversation starters that may help:

“So, tell me exactly what you have done in the four or five waking hours since I last saw you.”

“You know, a friend of my brother’s boss once had a girlfriend whose dad knew someone who worked in a milk factory, and if you’d met that guy you’d think twice about drinking that stuff every day.”

“I don’t want this to sound too forward, but you have really beautiful eyes.”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Feel free to ask

If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask the person who sits next to you. With the layout of the office, people are almost always sitting next to at least one person, and this company is proud of hiring people who are willing to help. If you are in a seat where you don’t sit next to someone, it’s most likely because you have been deemed to be anti-social, and you should probably just look stuff up on the internet (in your own time).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Manage Expectations

People constantly assess you by comparing who you are today to their general expectation of you. If, for example, you are a generally happy person, then when you are having a bad day people will notice. If, on the other hand, you are surly most of the time, then people won’t see any difference if you have an off day.

You can use this phenomenon to your advantage by slowly but regularly lowering people’s expectations and then, suddenly and irregularly, raising them. If you are never clean shaven, for example, then eventually people will come to expect that of you. On the rare occasions that you do shave, you will receive comments like “Hello handsome”, “Who’s the new guy?” and “Seriously, show me some ID or leave immediately”. Don’t do it too often, though, as you will begin to create new expectations.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Coffee Machine Milk

Don’t you hate it when you go to get yourself a coffee and the coffee machine tells you that the milk container is empty? It’s such a hassle to put new milk in the container. Well, perhaps this is the perfect time to change your milk preference! If the full cream container is in the coffee machine then trade it over to low-fat (haven’t you always wanted to lose some weight?). If there’s low-fat in there, then switch it over to full cream (after all, you want milk in your coffee, not water, right?). That way, it’s a simple switch of the containers, and some other poor sap will have to refill it when then want a coffee.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Remember that the curtain in the café area should only be closed under the following circumstances:

  • When there is a function in the café area
  • When there is a board meeting in the Lorne Room
  • When pretending you are Kermit the Frog in the Muppet Show.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hungry and Cold?

If it’s cold and windy outside, then don’t go all the way to the supermarket - or even the corner store - to get yourself a snack. There is a veritable cornucopia of food to be had right here in the Plankton fridges. If you rummage around the back especially, you will find yoghurts and other less definable foodstuffs that I can guarantee no-one will miss. After all a “Best Before” date is really only a guide.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Going Away cards

When signing a going away card, please keep in mind that the person who is receiving this card will most likely pull it out to read in many years to come. So be obscure! Make references to things that never happened. Refer to people that don’t exist. Write random words in such a way that they look like they might mean something, if only that person could remember the context.

Coffee Cup Dilemma

If, at the end of the day, you would like to put your personalised mug in the dishwasher but the dishwasher is full, then try this handy tip. Rather than leave it on the bench above the dishwasher (where everyone can read your name) take an anonymous glass from the dishwasher and put that on the bench. Then, put your mug where the glass was! With no name on it, no one will know who left the glass there!