4 Things People Get Away With At Work (And Nowhere Else)
Once you're old enough to ponder the dynamics of the working world, you'll probably start separating jobs in your head into two categories, much the same way everyone else does. In the most basic way, they can be separated as blue collar and white collar. Blue-collar jobs range from manning the sour cream gun at Taco Bell, to cleaning dog poop off lawns, to assembling dashboard components for smart cars. White-collar work often involves business casual, a computer, and an office somewhere that you slowly rot in. Both can be fulfilling or soul-destroying, depending on your personal relationship to the work you do. Neither is better than the other, and either can put you in an early grave. Work is wonderful.
Do you know why humans hate? Why we have the capacity to hate things? Lunch. Lunch in an office is why we hate. We as a species developed this destructive, dark emotion generations ago, probably even in our proto-human, simian form. And it was all leading us towards the day when we would be working in an office and noon would roll around, then we'd head to the lunch room, open the fridge, and see that some fucksack of pig puke had stolen our goddamn sandwich and pudding and we had no lunch that day. And the hate that started to fill your empty belly had purpose and direction. Your hate will drive you to exact some kind of revenge upon the shitheel lunch thief. A revenge that would be sweeter than any lunch.
Which is why crop dusting was invented.
All around the world, in law firms and accounting firms and media conglomerates and ad agencies, shitty lunch thieves lay in wait for you to put something in the fridge that their sticky, grubby little dick mittens can ooze over and devour. Your Snack Pack? Your Reuben? Your non-alcoholic mojito? Gone! Running through the digestive tract of your work's version of a shit-encrusted, Soviet-made buttfucking machine that runs on sandwiches and the tears of the hungry bastards who lost those sandwiches.
According to a Monster.com survey, 43 percent of office workers say they've been the victim of a lunch thief. Can you imagine that? How many people don't even bring a lunch to the office? This means pretty much everyone who does bring a lunch has had that shit stolen by unscrupulous twat waffles. Do I sound bitter? Bitter as the goddamn half of grapefruit that would nicely accented my roasted turkey and Swiss on French bread that I never got to eat last week, because one of these office sharts jammed it in their nutrient dump because they were raised by Appalachian bush pigs.
I hope you trip and fall into this dick-first (or vagina-first).
Now, your hatred may fuel revenge fantasies against this lunch thief. And trust me, I've seriously thought of just wiping my ass on Wonder Bread, lacing it with a little spicy mustard, feta, and Romaine, then letting fate run its course. But the fact is that no one ever catches a lunch thief unless they install a lunchroom camera, and unless your boss gets their lunch stolen too, that ain't happening. You never catch the lunch thief, and I'll submit this is likely because it's not one lunch thief -- it's half of your goddamn office. They're all just stealing shit because someone stole from them, and there's probably more hilarious and disgusting sabotage items than food in the fridge at this point, but it is what it is. We all have to deal with it because the world we live in has failed us. Failed us and our lunches.
The Unsanitary Bathroom
I have a theory that there's a kernel of chaos in the soul of every living human. And that chaos manifests itself only in the most subtle of ways in decent human beings, because no one can resist such a powerful force, no matter how strong they may seem to be. They cannot resist. And so they piss on the floor.
How can I focus on aiming when I'm faced with the unimaginable, boiling, exploding vastness of the cosmos?
Go into any mall in America and look at the restroom before the janitor gets to it. Or even better, try a Greyhound station, but bring some Clorox wipes with you. If you can make it past one stall without seeing a fecal obelisk reaching to the starry skies, you live in a nice town, so you should feel good about yourself.
Every communal washroom in America is a literal cesspool. Without a hard-working janitorial staff, you'll be lucky to find one in which the only thing wrong is that someone has firehosed the seat with urine. From toilet paper fed directly into the bowl to inexplicable poop on the ceilings, once we get into a bathroom that we as individuals are not responsible for cleaning, it's like we set our lower holes on a timer and have just been waiting for them to explode.
Now I am become death, the destroyer of porcelain.
In an office, this is atrociously uncool, because you never spend all day at the greyhound station. You don't have to endure eight hours at the mall, and even if you work at the mall, you know the people using the washroom are the sorts of people who talk to their own feet and drink gasoline. What's the excuse for the people in your office? How are you sitting there, next to some chucklefuck in a tie, knowing he probably just wrote a dirty limerick in his own poop on the wall?
Maybe your office bathroom isn't that bad, but I have never once worked in an office where the bathroom ever made it through the week without at least one Ganges trout floating belly-up in the bowl for the next guy to try to deal with.
To be fair, calling cards come in many forms.
Why do people insist on not flushing? It's that chaos kernel. That sense of devilish freedom you get from shitting in a toilet that has no legitimate owner. It's the world's bowl, and the world can be damned. Someone else can flush that nugget, so you're going to leave it there and make a stranger look at it. What immeasurable power, what degradation, to be able to do that to another autonomous being -- to force another person to gaze upon your feces against their will, and know that there is literally nothing they can do about it. They're powerless. And in your workplace microcosm, this makes us all the CEO for the time it takes to pinch one off, or to somehow "forget" to properly dispose of a used feminine hygiene pad and leave it on the floor instead. Everyone else at work has to endure that. Because of you. You made everyone your bitch. And everyone hates you, whoever you are.
The Meeting Vortex
If you've never worked in an office, count your blessings that you never ran afoul of the meeting vortex, a semi-natural phenomenon that happens when too many proactive youngsters in expensive shoes and business casual get enough seniority in their department to drag you in from your department to discuss something that neither department gives two shaven rat fucks about.
"You'll only be presenting for 15 minutes, but you'll need to be there for the full three hours, because of reasons."
A once-a-week meeting with the team to discuss last week's progress and this week's plans is great. Take an hour on Mondays before or after lunch and go to town. A company meeting every quarter to learn about the direction the CEO is interested in taking things? Totally has value. A meeting scheduled for Friday at 4:30 p.m. so Gayle from marketing and Paul from sales can put their heads together with you and your guys to see if there's a fun way we can package our new spring charity drive to get everyone out to run a brisk 30-mile marathon through wolf country is bullshit, and so is the followup meeting to discuss what we established in the first meeting, and the next meeting where we need to come prepared with three ideas each for what we can call it on the promotional materials once we decide if they should be blue and yellow or blue and goldenrod, because there's been a big debate with the guys on the third floor about this totally made-up fuckstick of a topic.
"I thought we were close, but now with azure and aureolin in the mix, I just don't know."
New office workers may get overwhelmed by the culture of meetings, and the number of absolutely stupid and useless ones, until the day comes when they have the bullshit meeting epiphany. You'll likely be in the middle of watching a PowerPoint discussing something you didn't even know your company did, led by people you may have never even met before, and you'll think, "Jesus, it's like these idiots are wasting time because they have no idea what they're supposed to be doing." And in that moment, you will have caught the leprechaun and spunked right in his golden pot.
A solid 80 percent of meetings that haven't been called by management are complete and utter garbage that serve no purpose whatsoever. They exist so those go-getters who called them can hope against hope that it'll make it look as though they've been working on stuff for the last month or so, when it's pretty obvious they put in five hours of work, tops. Meetings are just bullshit. They're there to sap people's days so that they get so tired of the topic at hand that they wrap it up and ask no additional questions because they don't care anymore. Thus leaving the meeting callers off the hook for at least another week.
Shit Rolls Downhill
Here's a fun story. I once worked in marketing for a major non-profit organization. This non-profit operated on several fronts, and my office was located above a retail store that was affiliated with my non-profit. I was in marketing, though, don't forget. I wore a shirt and tie every day, I covered my tattoos so no one would be aghast at my non-traditional flesh tone, and I wore sensible shoes. But I was also just out of college and the youngest person in the office.
"Unfortunately, you're a bit overqualified. This position is for someone who's spirit we get to break."
One day, maybe because of some severe trauma I'll never be aware of, maybe because it's funny to torment others, a person shat in that retail store down stairs. Not in the bathroom, mind you, but in the middle of an aisle. They full-on shitted on the carpet. Now, this store was not the sort of store that required janitorial staff, so there was no janitorial staff. This was not a business typically privy to errant shittings.
The retail staff on this day featured a couple of middle-aged ladies. The office staff featured more middle-aged ladies, a middle-aged man, and me. I want you to all write down on a slip of paper who you think was told to go down and pick up and dispose of the human turd that was on the carpet. Put your guess in a hat with everyone else's, then shit in that hat and dropkick it through my mail slot, because I'm the shit man. I had to go downstairs in my shirt and tie and pick another human's turd off the rug. To help, they gave me a roll of paper towels and a bottle of glass cleaner, two items virtually useless when it comes to the task of plucking human excrement from a carpet while curious shoppers look on.
"Mommy, I don't want to pick up poop when I grow up."
"Oh, don't worry. By the time you graduate, there won't be any jobs available, poop or otherwise."
Was I more adept at cleaning chasm chowder than the rest of my coworkers? Likely not. But I was the low man on the totem pole, and for the first time ever, literal shit rolled downhill to me. When you're the least important person at work, every harrowing, menial, fucktarded, mind-numbing, soul-shattering task becomes yours, because who else is going to do it? Not a damn person, until they hire someone less important than you -- and if your job is literally the least important one in the office, that could realistically be never. You could be cleaning every shit ever for the next 20 years. And the worst part? That shit could be part of your lunch, which you don't even get to eat because someone stole it. The circle of up yours is complete.
For more from Felix, check out The 6 Deadliest Foods Ever and 4 Most Sexually Uncomfortable Characters From Your Childhood .
What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror, the third book in David Wong's John Dies at the End series, is available now!