This friendly guide will prove invaluable to your exploration, adaptation and ultimate success within your new workplace, regardless of industry. That’s right, we’ve compiled all the common denominators from every office environment and created a survival guide just for you, no matter whether you’re a technology worker, professor, banker, car salesperson, or account executive. This guide covers literally anything that involves a room under a roof with some form of heat and light.
Also, you’ll find the following guide applies to working virtually – just replace all referrals to management or leadership with your spouse, children, pets and need to keep your laundry going. We’ve also added special notes at the end of each guide-point stating how to apply the recommendation to your virtual world.
1. Desk leaners – as you enter the physical space of your new workplace, scan the room for anyone standing and leaning on someone else’s desk, speaking with an intense hush to the desk’s inhabitant. Note the barely concealed look of nausea on this captured audience member’s face – they are the victim of the dreaded Desk Leaner. Every office has 1-3 of these genetically modified beasts, and they must be avoided at all costs. Immediately establish a boundary by interrupting the conversation and (counterintuitively) telling the Leaner you have a sexually transmitted disease. This phrase, “I have a sexually transmitted disease,” will literally be the only thing you ever say to the Leaner moving forward, regardless of whether it’s during a Board Meeting, at the Holiday Party, or during a (God Forbid) car ride to a conference. If the Desk Leaner turns out to be the CEO or President, resign immediately.
*In the virtual world, you’ll be able to identify the Desk Leaner by his/her complete lack of eye contact with the camera during a Zoom meeting, combined with a sheen of sweat on the forehead. Use the chat feature to repeatedly tell the Leaner you have a sexually transmitted disease.
2. Interns – you’ll be able to tell an intern based on their expression. DO NOT assume anyone “young” looking is an intern; these days, 16-year old’s know more about technology than you do so if you base this upon age you could be offending the person in charge of IT, who could subsequently slash your credit rating with a few clicks. Interns always come with an expression of confused terror and or cocky nonchalance. Either way, they are your best resource for advancing your career – include them, bring them on projects, absorb everything they know. They have no intention of staying with your organization and are likely already queued up for a technology job that (with stock options) is worth 14 times your annual salary, with bonus. They are your only hope for punching your ticket to boat ownership, naps, and what is universally referred to as an “cushy gig.”
*In the virtual world, the intern will be the one running the technical side of the Zoom call.
3. Meetings – if you have a meeting, as defined by a time scheduled in advance for you to converse with one or more humans, on your first day, you should resign immediately, regardless of whether it’s in-person or on a Zoom call. Meetings are designed to convey status, generate bitterness and resentment, add confusion, absorb incredible amounts of time, foster anxiety, create back pain, develop dependency on narcotic medications, wander off topic and provide people who don’t want to work with physical evidence they are working. Meetings can only be allowed on the last Thursday of every month, from 2-4 p.m., with food and beverage provided in a room with no chairs and no white boards. If it’s a Zoom meeting every participant has to provide visual evidence they are eating and drinking something.
4. Your Workspace – regardless of your title or position, choose the smallest workspace possible while still providing for efficiency. If privacy is a concern for conversations, request an office with a close-able door or ensure there is a private common area for such activity. Status, posture, etc. should absolutely not be considered when developing your physical workspace. If you think having a door is going to prevent people from interrupting you, you are kidding yourself. If you work in an environment where people are intelligent and considerate, you could sit cross-legged in the middle of the entryway and be wildly successful.
*In the virtual world, the same rules apply, except you should plan for your spouse, children and pets to interrupt you 100% of the time because their love of you literally has no bounds – which translates, unfortunately, to no boundaries. Could be worse.
Thank you and good luck on your new endeavor! Remember this guide applies to every profession created since humankind decided to get jobs, so you’re in great hands. If you’re caught in a bind and can’t remember the details provided above, don’t make eye contact, exit the building and get some soft serve ice cream, particularly the vanilla/chocolate “swirl.” Everything will be fine. If you’re lactose intolerant, got to the store and get something made from coconut milk – it’s actually not bad.