6 Obnoxious Behaviors That Make You Better at Your Job
Before Cracked kidnapped my family and refused to release them until I wrote an article that generated 6 million hits (please share this), I spent a lot of time working in offices, if by "working" you mean "looking for another job," because I hate working in an office. But despite my time as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of incompetence, I still managed to pick up a few tricks for office-time success. And then I putzed around on the Internet, doing the research to back those tricks up with science, because holy shit, seriously, no one is paying the least bit of attention to what you're up to when you work in a cubicle.
Show Up in a Bad Mood
It's easy to hate the guy who shows up to work in a bad mood, but that hatred is matched by the infinite void of fucks at this angry man's simmering core, so luckily it all balances out. Some people insist that they're only an asshole until they've had their coffee, but then continue to be an asshole once the coffee has been had, proving that their entire caffeine addiction was nothing but a ruse, a scam, an illusion, and you're just another pawn in their sick bid for power. This is that man.
God dammit, Craig.
Of course, they calm down by the end of the day (bitchiness takes energy, you know), but it's too late; they've ruined everyone's mood and damaged the morale and productivity of the entire office, all while managing to boost their own.
Scientists have long known that shitty moods make you focus more on grunt work, while good moods allow your mind to wander and push the boundaries of your own creativity, but only recently was it discovered that sliding from the former to the latter over the course of the day improves creativity the most. It actually makes a lot of sense: The morning dickishness stresses you out and forces your brain to prioritize, while the afternoon delight (hee hee) affords you the mental freedom to find the best options. And if you work really hard, you can slide right from "intolerable assholery" to "insufferable cheerability" while skipping right over all the tolerable moods in between, because "manners" and "friendliness" are the flyover states of human interaction.
I'm not sure which direction this metaphor goes anymore.
Fill Your Cubicle With Personal Crap
It doesn't matter that decorating your work space is fairly reasonable, as far as workplace behavior goes -- I am more than happy to feign disgust for the purposes of comedy. Ready? Your family disgusts me. That "inspirational" picture of you and your mom climbing Mount McKinley is trite and forgettable. I can't believe you have a picture of your girlfriend with the lyrics to "Wonderwall" printed beneath it. Do you even know what that song's about? Clearly not, because no one does. Your cat? All of the other cats hate it.
Pretty nice. You're still gonna die someday.
And I don't even care that that stuff's pretty good for your brain.
Having control over one small, utterly inconsequential aspect of our lives improves our productivity by 32 percent -- and I gotta say, learning this right now is probably the lethal blow to my adolescent sense of rebellion. Faceless corporations (man) can cram us into our upholstered prisons like sardines in a can, but we'll still do their bidding as long as they give us a crayon to color the wall with. The unvarnished truth is that our supposedly indomitable spirits (man) can be domitabled with as little as a roll of double-sided tape, some glitter, a color printer, and five minutes' access to our Facebook photo albums.
Truly, the spirit of the revolution is dead. Maaan.
Get Drunk at Work
Getting drunk at work may have been the bee's knees in the Don Draper era, but that was a simpler time, before we knew how bad cigarettes, alcoholism, and recreational adultery were. We've learned a few things since the '60s. Or we did for a while, and then we forgot them all when Mad Men debuted because they make it look so cool!
Here he is, doing the thing the article is about and looking like he's nervous about how clean his next fart is going to be.
As much as we romanticize the behavior, there are all kinds of reasons drinking during the work day would be bad for you. Foremost is the fact that you'll be drunk afterward. Ever tried to get anything done while you were drunk? And hey, you assholes who just said "I write all my college papers drunk!" -- are you still under the wild delusion that college is in any way representative of the real world? It isn't. You're still a child; you can just drink now.
But anyway, in some very specific situations, getting kinda drunk at work will help you out.
In certain contexts, having a glass or two actually improves creativity (hold on a second ...)
There we go.
... while decreasing focus. It's all about finding a balance: Like I've pointed out, allowing your mind to wander a little bit improves creativity, because your thoughts explore new avenues and angles that you just can't achieve by focusing. It's the same way a light bulb lights up more areas than a flashlight, while the flashlight just makes one specific area brighter.
But sadly, it looks like the stiffs have won this fight: Job candidates who order alcoholic beverages during interviews are seen as less intelligent, even if the interviewer is in the process of getting sloshed, meaning that all human resources reps are dicks and that the people who write for the Journal of Consumer Psychology have way more fun job interviews than me.
Demand That Things Be Scheduled Around You
Eep. OK. I gotta own this one. This one is me. I am this guy. When I called my boss and asked if I could work from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., I had no idea how awful I was being. How much everyone silently fumed at me when I stumbled in right before lunch every day, wiping sleep out of my eyes and mumbling about a hangover. I am so, so sorry, everybody.
But hey, it turns out that actually made me a better worker. So in your face, Craig.
"Ooh, I'm Craig, doing yoga every morning gives me as much energy as two cups of coffee-"
Shut the fuck up, Craig.
Everybody has different body clocks. Not only does your natural wake-up time get earlier as you grow older, but that rate is different for everyone -- so keeping everyone on the same schedule makes about as much sense as insisting that they're all named "Sven" to save money on name tags. It's actually just basic common sense: If you let people work when their body is ready for them to work instead of when their brain is screaming at them to get some sleep, they'll work more efficiently and be in better moods.
Best of all, offices would start getting fresh boxes of doughnuts in waves, instead of all at once in the morning, leaving people with afternoon munchies to shame-scarf the stale old-fashioned -- and I'm talking about the style of doughnut, not the delicious bourbon drink. We already covered alcohol.
(But no, you're right, let's all have another quick drink to ... for focus ... better.)
Actually, wait ... I have an idea ...
Man, chewing gum is just ... terrible, I guess? I honestly don't get this one, but apparently the Internet thinks it's worse than Nazis.
Alright, so people perceptibly moving their jaws while working near you is intolerable. That seems weird to me, but I once punched an 8-year-old boy in the face for saying that Matt Smith was a better Doctor than David Tennant, so I'm not gonna judge.
Aside from pointing out that you're all super wrong.
Chewing gum is apparently meth for your brain, if meth didn't have any negative side effects. In a study where subjects were given demanding cognitive tasks to perform with or without gum, the people with gum performed better in every single category except verbal fluency because, duh, their mouths were full of gum.
Ew, no, don't take it out of your mouth, that's worse.
It didn't matter if the gum had sugar in it, so scientists base this finding on "mastication-induced arousal" (hee hee). Chewing jump-starts your brain for a solid 20 minutes or so (the effect is short-lived, sadly) and allows you to handle stress and distraction far better. So basically if everyone was chewing gum, no one would mind that everyone was chewing gum. Problem solved!
Take More Vacations, Nap, Dick Around on the Internet, and in General Just Fuck Off More
Researching this entry has done less to convince me that looking at cats on the Internet and taking longer vacations and napping on the job make you a better employee and more to make me think that the people who conduct these studies don't want us to be good employees. I think it's way more likely that these "scientists" are working together to sabotage the common man's productivity so that we're too swamped with unmet deadlines to notice when they unveil their doomsday machines.
Rest, relaxation, and the sensation that something is "cute" apparently improve your mood, which boosts productivity and focus. And overall contentment with your life and existence in the universe. You get happy, and juices flow all around your brain. Just go ahead and believe that.
"Great numbers this quarter."
"Thanks, we really boosted our Corgi gif intake."
Or believe the voice in your head. You know the one. That one saying that if you work for just one more hour, stay in just one more night, get on the front page of Reddit just one more time, then you'll finally feel content with your life and choices. It doesn't matter that your skin grows more translucent every day and that you can't help but close your eyes against natural light. Nor is it of any consequence that you long ago forgot the smell of the outside world and the gentle melody of friendly evening conversation -- that simple, perfect song you only hear when words lovingly mingle with the gentle din of a warm pub as you sip your scotch and soda. It doesn't matter. Hear that? I don't need nature. I don't need friends. The shadows are my friends now.
And I'm on to you, science.
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