As jobs go, I can’t complain. I am inside and seated; I am secure in my employment; my interactions with feces are limited. I don’t make a lot, but I can pay rent, buy wine, and purchase ~700 new toys a week for my dog, who is precious yet destructive (just like her mom!). I am grateful.
That said, working in an office comes with a particular set of unspoken rules. Aside from the obvious (“on your first day, find the biggest guy in there and punch him right in the mouth”), I’ve compiled a quick list to help us all make it through the 5 worst days of the week.
The Official Carly’s Into That Guide To Office Etiquette:
1. Agree On A Temperature
It is too goddamn fucking cold in here. I’m serious. I’m not trying to be cute by shivering so hard that I’m about to amputate my own tongue. It is 95 degrees outside, and 60 degrees inside. What the fuck type of outfit is this geared toward? Wear a bikini; pack a full snowsuit? True story: I am wearing a literal parka right now. I stole it from another department’s storage locker, and every time I see someone from that department, I hiss like a cornered feral cat and run in the other direction. Take my parka, and I will die. Even in my parka, I can’t feel my fingers. Air Conditioning Gods: every single person in this building was born and raised in Florida. It is too goddamn fucking cold in here. Fix it.
2. Lasso Your Smells
Some people are incredibly sensitive to smells like perfume, air freshener, laundry detergent, etc. I am not one of these people. I wear perfume on a regular basis; I dry my clothes in Gain Fresh New Baby Frolicking In The Meadow-scented fabric softener sheets; my car is permanently scented of Bath & Body Works “Flannel” (2/10; does not smell like a large, sweaty, bearded lumberjack after a long day in the woods as expected; will be returning).
The point being: if you are spraying *~SugaredMangoAngelBerryFecalSample #12~* in a common area with such force and fury that I am immediately becoming ill, someone else in the vicinity has already died. Spraying gallons of air freshener/Lysol/perfume in an office is heinous behavior and should be corrected in kind with a spray bottle, like when the cat prances around in its Box’O’Feces and then hops up on the counters like it owns the place even though it doesn’t pay ANYTHING toward the rent and I’m going to die of toxoplasmosis because cats are bad. #TeamDog
I’m aware that this makes me an asshole, but if you have to bring a baby into the office, can you at least let people to come to you? The baby is screaming and cooing and laughing and doing all those Baby Things that, evolutionarily, are supposed to make women want to come touch them (I am broken/feral, so all of these give me hives). If anyone wants to come see your baby, they already know it is in the building. They actually heard you coming from 3 miles down the road, and have changed into their under-the-desk lunchtime-walk-around-the-building pair of white Reeboks in order to reach you faster and pinch dose WITTLE CHEEKS.
One time, though, I heard a bunch of people making the “oooOOOHHH, dere’s a baby in da office!!!!” noises, and it turned out someone had actually brought in a dog. Best day.
4. Don’t Call People Fat
A few months ago, we got lunch catered from Panera for a meeting. As I was exiting the conference room with a small turkey sandwich and 3 oz. of Caesar salad, I ran into our old, heretofore-sweet receptionist and had the following conversation:
OHSR: “havin’ lunch?”
OHSR: “better be careful, all of that is going to end up on your hips.”
C: *uncertain laugh* “ha… well, good thing I’m going to the gym later…?”
OHSR: “well, now you’re going to need to go for an extra hour!”
C: ……………………. 🙂 ??
This may seem like witty banter, but it was not- there was no hint of a smile, no inflection to suggest a joke. This was a calculated attack, and a good one: it took me five whole minutes after our encounter to realize that a seemingly-benign elderly woman had actually just singled me out and called me fat for eating a small turkey sandwich and 3 oz of Caesar salad. I wasn’t stuffing an entire New York cheesecake into my face (yet), and even if I was, shut the fuck up. What do you want me to do, Marjory? Stop eating? Eat water? Have a giant gust of wind for breakfast (as long as no one’s watching, OMG, I’m being so naughty!)?
5. Don’t Call People Fat, Part II: Uterus Clause
Repeat after me, other elderly woman in my department: I will not ask any woman who is of childbearing age if she is pregnant. No matter how much I think she looks pregnant. Even if she is wearing an A-line dress, just like the one Mother made me wear when Timmy Jr. knocked me up behind the cow patch and I had to hide my baby bump for 5 months before our wedding. Even if I think she looks super cute in what I am falsely estimating to be a maternity dress (but is actually Vera Wang, not like it matters, but at least I am a stylish chunkass.)
NB: I will not, to circumvent this rule, approach any such woman in the hallway and rub my hand over my own belly as though I am The Buddha, while looking from her stomach to her eyes and back up again, and/or making Secretive Eyebrows and any type of “eh??” sound in her direction.
If I am pregnant (and planning to stay that way), you will know because
a. I will tell you
b. I will invite you to my baby shower and solicit the purchase of 2-4 gender-neutral onesies/blankies/passies/Slipknot records for little MaJJorck’ah
c. My water will break at my desk and you will hear blood-curdling screams of terror emanating from my cube
6. Regarding Battleshits
If one of the three stalls is obviously occupado, and you enter another stall with the intention of dropping the biggest load since Donald Trump traversed “a birth canal” (the one located in Satan’s backdoor) and plopped onto Earth: CAN YOU NOT WAIT 18 SECONDS????? We’ve already seen each other’s shoes- I know it’s you, Jessica, and you know it’s me. I heard the “warning poot”. I have flushed and zipped and am sprinting for the sink like the ground is lava. For the love of God, give me the opportunity to escape before you empty an entire bucket full of grapefruits into the toilet.
7a. Fuck Your Meeting
Do not invite anyone to your meeting. Please don’t make me do this. I will do this, but I will hate it, and you will probably know. I only have 25 years of experience in pretending I don’t hate things, which is woefully inadequate when it comes to meeting invitations that contain (but are absolutely not limited to) any of the following words and phrases: budget; staff; annual; planning; auxiliary; review; database; website; matrix; “touch base”; analysis; contract; committee; procedure; unacceptable; performance review; “clean out your desk by the end of the week”.
7b. Fuck Your Meeting- Addendum
Especially do not invite anyone to your meeting if it occurs at 8am. What is wrong with you? If you send me a meeting invite for 8am, include a handwritten apology letter and a check for $100. And show up with some goddamn bagels, or I’m leaving.