Life under Covid

An observation occurred to me – as many of you know the FOCM rules when attending the annual Drug Information Association convention: stay out too late every night, drink too much every night and get one or two good leads. And even if you don’t want to drink to excess on night three you know you HAVE to do it, so at the reception you start with one beer or glass of wine; it’s not real tasty, but you push through it. Why do you push through it, because you have to, it’s one of the rules.  The second drink feels a little better and then its off to some company sponsored party and you’re right back at it again.  

That’s how I’ve been feeling lately under Covid.  Like today, ugh, a bit too much wine yesterday, it would be good not to have any tonight, but the headache that arrives around 4:30 suggests that one glass of wine will help ease the headache away.  And it doesn’t taste too bad and we all know a bottle is best consumed on the day its opened, so by the end of the night the bottle is gone. And the sun comes up the next day and the circle of life under Covid begins again.

Office Workplace Etiquette

Cubicles can present many challenges to our daily work lives.  The company has developed a guideline on Cubicle Etiquette to try and decrease some of those challenges.  The office I worked in made some modifications specific to our situation. The names may or may not refer to actual people.

THE PHONE AND THE CUBICLE ENVIRONMENT

  • When you are on the phone try and keep the volume of your voice high. You may not realize that the cubicle walls absorb sound quite well.    
  • If you are going to need to use a speakerphone book a conference room following SOP GP 5.4.3.1 via Outlook, so that you do not disturb others.
  • Your phone ringer should be really loud so that you can hear it ring while you are in the kitchen area and so that when you’re talking with customers or sites, it will sound like we’re really busy.  Another thing to do while on the phone is ruffle papers so it sounds like you’re multi-tasking.
  • Do not use your cell phone in your cubicle unless it is an emergency.  Emergencies are defined as calls to 9-1-1. During business hours it should be turned off. No photo taking is permitted in the building, they are only permitted in the kitchen.
  • When having personal or confidential calls, be aware that those around you may be able to hear your conversation.  Make sure to speak up so that they can offer advice to you when you’re done. 
  • Keep personal calls to a minimum.  Extended personal calls can be quite entertaining to others.

ACKNOWLEDGING THOSE AROUND YOU

  • When seeing someone for the first time each day, you’re to say, “good morning.  Upon subsequent encounters, you merely need to say, “acknowledge”.  We find this avoids the uncomfortable what-to-say-the-next-time situation.  Phrases like: “you look like you tied one on last night” or “what’s with your hair” should be avoided.
  • Remember you work in an office and popping your head over the cubicle to yell to someone or trying to talk through the cubicle wall creates a friendly and collegial atmosphere.
  • Try to keep the volume of sounds coming from your cubicle loud. (ringer on phone, music, conversations or computer volume and sound effects), it makes for a busy sounding place and we find that when coworkers are irritated by something they are more productive.
  • If you eat lunch at your desk consider the benefits to others that the fragrance of food can provide and rather than eat at your desk, take your lunch to someone else’s and sit with them while you eat. 
  • The use of perfume/cologne is encouraged.  To make sure everyone gets to detect your fragrance, put a lot on, stop and talk with everyone at least once per day shortly after applying or reapplying perfume/cologne.  But remember, not everyone may enjoy the same scents you do or may be allergic to perfume.   Those with severe allergies have nothing to fear as Catherine is required to carry an Epi-pen in her tool belt while on the premises and Sharon wears it after that.
  • Please hold lengthy conversations (business or personal) outside someone’s cubicle, preferably Chris’ office, he likes to interrupt with sarcastic remarks. 
  • Keep the common areas (printer areas, mailroom, copy rooms, fax machines, restrooms, archive rooms, cafeteria, kitchen, hallways, foyer, reception, that weird dead corner by the back door) neat, because your momma don’t work here.
  • Put your large, heavy, fragile personal items on the overhead bins and ledges.  While the object could fall and injure the employee in the next cube (plants, pictures, etc.), it enables Shelley to stay well-versed in the office first aid procedures

THE CUBICLE SPACE: HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  • Do not enter someone’s cubicle without letting them know you are there. If your colleague is concentrating on a project the surprise of your presence may not get a positive reaction.  This can be done by telling them you are there, knocking on the cubicle wall or saying “beep beep” or “knock, knock”, then wait for an invitation to enter the cubicle as they may not have time at that moment to talk with you.
  • An employee’s chair is not an Inbox (Kelly), a mailbox or an open invitation to go sit down and chat (Catherine).  Use the appropriate delivery areas to provide documents to another employee, if there is a designated location identified.
  • If the employee you need to speak with is on the phone or having a conversation with someone else do not wait outside their cubicle until they are done, step right into the cubicle.  This will annoy them until they get off the phone to speak with you.  Whoever they’re talking to can be called back.  You may also use hand gestures or whisper the issue to them while they are on the phone. 
  • Information on a colleague’s computer screen is not for your viewing unless asked.
  • Conversations had with other employees in your colleague’s cubicle are private.  It is inevitable in the cubicle environment that you may overhear a conversation, however refrain from answering a question you overheard asked in the cubicle next to you.  If your opinion is required your colleague will ask you for it.  It is thought that this cannot apply to Chris, he does not seem able to do this.
  • If you need a chair, look for extra chairs around the area, not another employee’s chair.  If you must borrow another employee’s chair, ensure that they are not in the office and return it immediately, if not sooner, when you are done.  Imagine coming back and having to hunt down your chair after being gone for an extended period of time (days).  This happened to one person and they’re still out on leave due to post traumatic chair loss stress disorder.
  • Bringing in some personal items and a few pictures to personalize your work area is acceptable and highly encouraged.  This should be done in moderation, good taste and items should be appropriate to a business environment, it is not recommended to completely clutter your cube with items on the walls.  The cube walls are not designed for this purpose and can cause damage to the fabric.  If you have a question about what is appropriate to put in your workspace, check with your manager, HR, Administration, Mike or Kyle.
  • Because there is no door on cubicles that means your colleagues office supplies and personal items (tissues, candy, etc) are community property. I know this sucks, but hey we own all this stuff and we’ve given you a job, so too bad.  This can also cause fun to watch fights among coworkers and hey, we all need a break or to hit someone everyone once in a while, right?  If you take something personal of someone’s, please return it or leave them a dollar.

New People

For the first month that you are here you are requested to do the following once per week:

Make ice.

Bring in a pound of good coffee – decaf and regular (Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, etc.)

Bring in one batch of Rice Krispie Treats.  Some of us enjoy them with rainbow sprinkles.

Bring in a dozen bagels.

Bring in a dozen doughnuts.  Some of us enjoy them with rainbow sprinkles or chocolate-glazed custard-filled.

Wash and gas up each person’s car at the Shell around the corner.

Clean the refrigerator.

Clean the microwave.

Wash the coffee pots.

Clean the kitchen.

Don’t worry about the restrooms, Lori and Kyle clean those for us. 

Rotate the paper in the printers. 

Buy Mike a carton of Camel Light’s and a 2-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper.

Pretend to care about recycling to get on Heather’s good side.

Ask Kristy any question about the Carolina Hurricanes.

Bring Heather a chocolate candy bar.

Give Lori 2 Excedrin migraine tablets at 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Buy a 12-pack of Diet Mountain Dew for Eric.

Don’t bother Chris when he’s napping.

We all spend a large percent of our time in our cubicles. Please try and work together on making the cubicle environmenta pleasant place to spend time and be productive and if each of us does this and that makes three other people do this and so on, the world will be a better place and perhaps the achievement of world peace will be accomplished in our lifetime.

Office Dress Code Rules – A Look Back

So way back in 2006 working with a great group of folks in starting a Raleigh area office for a global organization, we were a somewhat rebellious and humorous group. When HR in Headquarters would send out policies, we’d create our own version for our office, as shown in the example below: (last names have been left out to protect people’s identities)

DRESS CODE

An employee’s professional appearance is very important.  It reflects a respect for ourselves as well as for the people we are serving.  Your appearance says a lot about you and is an important part of your performance appraisal.  Therefore, all employees of the Company are expected to dress appropriately in a professional, clean, businesslike, well-groomed manner.  The Company has adopted certain days as “Business Casual” and “Dress down Days.”  Employees are permitted to dress accordingly within the defined guidelines.  Styles that are currently fashionable may not be appropriate for work.  Accessories, hosiery, jewelry and perfume or scented cosmetic use should be conservative.  Noncompliance with the standards of dress as stated in this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Business Dress:  To be worn at sites and as required by management in the office.  Conservative suits, ties, dresses and professional coordinated pantsuits.

Business Casual:  Usually acceptable Monday – Thursday.  Clothing that is neat and professional, such as slacks, sport shirts, casual dresses, and shirts, cream or white pants with shades of pastel blue blouses (which can be worn daily), split skirts or skorts of an appropriate length.  No jeans (except for Chris M), chacos, flipflops (faux rainbows are okay for Chris L), lounge/pajama pants (except for Kourtney when she uses the barely believable skin rash excuse), basketball shoes, kickball shoes, pants that unzip to become shorts (except for Lori), baseball caps (unless worn backwards) or leggings. 

Dress Down Day:  Usually each Friday, except for NC office where it appears that everyday is Dress Down Day.  Acceptable: Neat “dress jeans” with no holes, rips or tears (Heather), neat clean sneakers or casual shoes.  During warmer weather, conservative sandals, walking length shorts (Bermuda length shorts, and Capri pants are permitted. Maternity umbro shorts with expandable waistband are okay for Lori.

Not appropriate:  Baseball caps, motorcycle helmets (Mike), tee shirts, tank tops, gym clothes, Umbro-type shorts (Lori), cutoff shorts or shirts, tank tops, flip-flops, chacos (Heather), water shoes, Chewbacca costume (except for Greg), thongs (flip-flops), beach slides, swimsuits, bandannas, bathrobes, lingerie, hockey jerseys (except for Kristy) cowboy boots while wearing shorts, black mid-calf socks with plaid Bermuda shorts or with any shorts for that matter, dress shoes with jeans, belt with your name on it, shirts with sayings or slogans that others, not Mike, may find offensive.  An exception is Mike’s Pink Salmon slogan shirt, because that’s just too damn funny, while being totally inappropriate.

Joke: Duck walks into a bar

A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich.

The barman looks at him and says, “Hang on! You’re a duck.”

“I see your eyes are working,” replies the duck.

“And you can talk!” Exclaims the barman.

“I see your ears are working, too,” Says the duck. “Now if you don’t mind, can I have my beer and my sandwich please?”

“Certainly, sorry about that,” says the barman as he pulls the duck’s pint.

“It’s just we don’t get many ducks in this pub.. What are you doing round this way?”

“I’m working on the building site across the road,” Explains the duck.  “I’m a plasterer.”

The flabbergasted barman cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it.

So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves.

The same thing happens for two weeks.

Then one day the circus comes to town.

The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the barman says to him, “You’re with the circus, aren’t you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!”

“Sounds marvelous,”says the ringmaster, handing over his business card.

“Get him to give me a call.”

So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says, “Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money.”

“I’m always looking for the next job,” Says the duck.

“Where is it?”

“At the circus,” says the barman.

“The circus?” Repeats the duck.

“That’s right,” replies the barman.

“The circus?” The duck asks again, “with the big tent?”

“Yeah,” the barman replies.

“With all the animals who live in cages, and performers who live in caravans?” says the duck.

“Of course,” the barman replies.

“And the tent has canvas sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?” persists the duck.

“That’s right!” says the barman.

The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says .. ………
.

.

.

.

.

.

“Why the hell would they need a plasterer??!”

Funny things I have read

Seen in the Readers Digest Feb 2020 edition (www.rd.com)

Social Media accidents:

Accidentally connected my Fitbit account to Facebook and now everyone knows I only walked 13 steps yesterday – @thecatwhisperer

Accidentally changed my Facebook status to “single” and my mother-in-law posted, “WOO-HOO!” – @brianhope

Accidentally posted “happy buttday” instead of “Happy Birthday” on a Facebook Friend’s wall – @parkerlawyer

As we watched a program about a man with agoraphobia, my wife asked, “Is that a disability?”. “Yes”, I said. “Maybe I have that”, said my wife. I shook my head and said, “No, he’s afraid to leave the house. You just like to stay home.”

Excuses that ministers have heard for why people skip church:
– I couldn’t get the lid off the peanut butter
– The church is too close to drive and too far to walk
– Both of my girlfriends attend church there
– The pastor stays in the Bible too much
– The pastor is too attractive. When I see him preaching I have impure thoughts and I am distracted
– My wife cooked bacon for breakfast and our entire family smelled like bacon
– The worship leader pulls up his pants too often. It’s distracting
– I always get hemorrhoids on Sundays.
– Someone called me ‘brother’ instead of using my name

Idiocy Exemplified

So the formerly nice city to visit, San Francisco has decided that new language is needed to describe people who commit crimes. The reason is new words will help change people’s views about those who break the laws of our society.

So now in San Francisco they are getting rid of the words: offender, addict and convicted felon. Those words are replaced with “justice-involved person.” I kid you not! The justice system doesn’t get involved with you until you commit a crime.

But wait, there’s even more stupidity: a convicted felon or an criminal released from custody will be known as a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person or just a “returning resident.” So will they change job applications to ask: Have you ever been a returning resident? If yes, from where did you return? Was it a place of some level of confinement? an abode in which detention was practiced and mobility was somewhat constrained?

A juvenile “delinquent” will now be called a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.” Right, the juvenile justice system impacted this young person. The young person broke the law, bringing the impact of the justice system onto himself.

Is it just me or isn’t the easiest and best way to avoid being labeled a criminal is to not commit a crime in the first place?

One of the great things about the American government is we allow cities and states to make some of their own decisions and then the rest of us can watch the experiment – like states legalizing marijuana or cities passing $15 minimum wage laws. To me this seems like a silly waste of time, but lets see if making criminals seem less evil makes a difference.

Entering Possibly Humorous Zone

So I don’t know how or why, probably genetics has a lot to do with it, I take a light-hearted approach to life and look to find the humor in things or just make up the humor. Peter Holthe, the driving force that made FOCM happen, called me irreverent. Having just looked it up, it means: showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously. I don’t intend to show a lack of respect but I like humor more than seriousness. Of course there’s a time and a place for both. But funny observations are always just under the serious stuff for me.

So my twin brother recently must have been surfing the web, maybe Wikipedia and spent time on the origin of the names of a couple of America’s states: Idaho and Texas. Below will be what he wrote and what I replied with.

My brother sent this: The name “Idaho” has no translation at all because it’s entirely made up. In an early form of marketing that would make these modern-day businesses proud, the name was suggested by a local leader in 1860 who claimed the word “Idaho” was a Native American word for “gem of the mountains.” Later that same year, gold was discovered in the Clearwater area, proving his invented name wasn’t far off base.

To which I replied: That’s close to accurate.  It was made up, but it was “Idano” and a typesetting issue on the old printing press mistakenly set the n as an h.  Quite easy to do as they are close to each other. The name “Idano” was because when others heading west asked the people in what is now Idaho, why they stopped there and didn’t go any further, their answer was “idano”.

Then he sent this about Texas: Like the Dakotas, Texas was named with friendship in mind. Texas is a variant of a word (Teysha) used by some Native Americans to refer to friends or allies. It has many different spellings, including “Texias,” “Tejas,” and “Teysas.”

To which I replied: A variant book of name origins reveals this: Like the Carolinas, Texas was named after a particular member of the royal family, albeit, for Texas, it was a lesser known Earl of a small, rural Scottish Isle.  His name was Tex, Earl of the Isle of Mull.  Tex was rather eccentric and thought being Earl meant he was King of his Isle.  When people would see something new or different on the isle, they’d ask “whose is that?” The answer was always “it’s Tex’s”.  Tex did little actual work and spent a lot of time thinking – coincidentally Tex is the reason that to “mull” it over means to think on something.  Tex’s incompetency lead to his eventual over throw and he was sent to the new colonies. He eventually settled in what is now Odessa. He got very active in the public square where his eccentricities and overblown ego eventually resulted in the state being named Texas.

Political Parody

My Mom purchased a subscription to Weekly Standard for me several years ago.  Yes, it leans conservative but the editors are definitely not pro-Trump.

One of the things I enjoy about it is the last page is usually a parody of a real story or headline and they take off with it and have fun.  This one made me chuckle.  They start with the true story of Elizabeth Warren and her DNA test revealing that she does have some Native American ancestory.

Eliz Warren

Funny things I’ve recently seen

From the September 2018 issue of Readers Digest:

I go to a bar and ask “what’s the wi-fi password?”
Bartender replies: You need to buy a drink first.
I reply, “okay, I’ll have a beer”
Bartender: that’ll be $5.
I pay him and say, “ok, so what’s the password?”
Bartender: “You need to buy a drink first, no spaces, all lowercase.”

A poodle and a collie are walking down the street when the poodle suddenly confides to his friend. “My life is a mess,” he says “my owner is mean, my girlfriend is having an affair with a German Shepherd and I’m as nervous as a hamster.”
“Why don’t you go see a psychiatrist?” suggests the collie.
“I can’t,” says the poodle, “I’m not allowed on the couch.”

I hate when I see an old person and then realize I went to high school with them.

I think it’s wrong that only one company makes the game of Monopoly.
– Steven Wright