Stop sending powerpoint slides exported to bitmaps via email.

Whack-a-mole
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I feel like I’m playing a game of digital whack-a-mole with my email.  My inbox keeps bumping up against its quota.

I then spend X amount of time weeding out my inbox, archiving folders, etc., to get the email that is on the server down to 40% of my quota.  I then leave for lunch, only to find another 5% of my quota eaten up by 3 broadcast messages.

Did you know you can export a PowerPoint slide to a bitmap image?  Did you know you can copy and paste that same image into an email?  Did you know you can paste the same stuff into a calendar invite that you can put into an email?

Well, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Sure, my inbox quota is tiny by modern computing standards, but this is all the more reason not to attach large images in an email.

Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Unless it’s a picture of 50 words on a PowerPoint slide.  And 50 words in light green on a white background is probably worth less than 50 words.

One more thing: If you send important things like agenda updates or such which are embedded in this exported PowerPoint slide, Outlook will not find them.  It doesn’t know how to read the text in an image.

Breakroom amenities

Why does the office microwave look and sound like something out of a cartoon from the 1960s? Is there a small dinosaur in there grinding gears or something?

And I know I saw that refrigerator go on sale sometime back in the 80’s.  No one would buy it back then, either.

If you have to stock the breakroom with stuff that came from great grandma’s garage sale, should I be worried about your ability to meet payroll?

Stop the rudeness!

It always seems to happen during the worthwhile presentation:  the ongoing “side-bar conversation” that is loud enough to be heard in the street-bar on a Friday night.

There are 3 possible messages these people are sending with their rudeness:

  • “I am a higher level employee than the person presenting, and I wish to make it abundantly clear that I don’t have to respect them.”
  • “I am an equal level employee, but I know them, don’t respect them, and should be a higher level than them.”
  • “I am a lower level employee, and a moron.”

In any case, you are being a disrespectful jerk. Do the rest of us a favor and stop it.

Leave the stuff that’s not yours alone!

How hard is it to leave other people’s things alone?  What is this, 2nd grade?

I could understand if you had a non-descript Lean Cuisine or Hot Pocket that you put in the freezer and accidentally grabbed the someone else’s flavor, or miscounted how many you had put in there and grabbed someone else’s when your stash was actually depleted.

No.

I’m not even talking about mistaking a lone donut on the break room table for a giveaway.

I’m talking about:

  • Perusing items in the donation bin for a charity.
  • Actually taking things from the donation bin for a charity.
  • Grabbing food from the freezer that is in a box that is clearly someone else’s.
  • Any food in a brown bag in the refrigerator.
  • Any food that’s on someone’s desk–especially if someone has already taken a bite out of it.

Is the company not paying you enough to get by?  Judging by the maturity of your social skills, you’re probably still overpaid.

Ideation, innovation, and breakthrough, oh my!

You want us to what?  Make time to focus on ideation, innovation, and breakthrough thinking?

It all sounds good enough. Surely we would crush our competition if we could just put our collective brains together and ideate an innovation that led to instant breakthrough.

But you didn’t hire us to innovate, did you?  Whenever I try, I find it impossible to think past this stack of mundane assignments and my meager paycheck, which are all screaming, “Get back to work you fool!”  Will I be off the hook if I think breakthrough thoughts for an hour and fail to finish my backlog?  (My ideation says not.)

Look, if all the Innovators are fresh out of good ideas, maybe you should fire them and find some Ideators to take their place. But please stop piling their work on my full plate; after all, somebody has to keep the wheels turning around here.

How’s THAT for some breakthrough thinking!

On parking your Tahoe

i park like an idiot
Image courtesy of i park like an idiot.com

If I find an $80,000 sports car parked 2 feet over the line, taking up the last 2 available spaces in the row, I might think, “Well, you’re an idiot for driving that to work, but ok.”

But a Chevy Tahoe?

Let me get this straight; I have to park my average car in the far section in the rain, because your new Tahoe is scared of a door ding?

Remember the days when trucks and SUV’s were tough, manly things, and proud to look the part? Inventions of American ruggedness?

“Oh, please, please, don’t scratch my shiny new Tahoe!”
Pathetic.

Learn how to microwave popcorn or don’t

Untitled by skaty222, on Flickr

Honestly, microwave popcorn often smells like unwiped… well, it stinks when it’s cooking. This is especially true of the higher “butter” content microwave popcorn.

But that’s okay–who am I to begrudge somebody a tasty afternoon snack?

Burnt popcorn, on the other hand, smells like a grease fire in a smoker’s lounge, and tastes like flaked off iron from an iron skillet. (Don’t ask.) There’s no way you’re enjoying that popcorn, and you’re torturing the rest of us.

More importantly, you seem to be burning popcorn with some consistency. Maybe you should try a sandwich for a snack instead:  less office-consuming smell and probably fewer calories.

It’s not really that hard to pop popcorn in the microwave:

  1. Remove plastic wrap.
  2. Place in middle of microwave so that the “wings” of the turn up [as is marked on the package].
  3. DON’T use the [Popcorn] button on the microwave–at least not as your only guide…
  4. Start the microwave on HIGH for something like 4 minutes or 3:15– whatever…
  5. Listen for the popping to go crazy and then slow down to between and 1 and 2 seconds per pop.
  6. Stop the microwave.
  7. Shake the bag.
  8. Open the bag.
  9. Eat the popcorn.

Steps 7 through 9 may be obvious to some, but I wanted to be clear, just in case there was any confusion.

I want my crappy coffee; I need my crappy coffee

A person might not be evil for planning a large team meeting in the break room. Or placing a makeshift sign on the door informing me that a meeting is in progress and I am not invited.

But when said meeting occurs between 7:30a.m. and 9:30a.m. on a Monday morning … I know I am dealing with pure evil. Who in their right mind would place a barrier between dozens of Monday-morning workers and their crappy break room coffee? Too much of this, and a grumpy coworker uprising is inevitable.

Snore at your own risk

Sleeping at your desk is a very risky thing to do.  It can quickly lead to a drastic reduction in income.  There is always someone who doesn’t seem to get this.

If you don’t know whether you snore when you sleep, please ask someone. If you do snore when you fall asleep, and you still allow yourself to fall asleep at your desk, can I just say that you deserve what you get?  When you feel your eyelids getting heavy, stand up, man! Take a walk.  Get a cup of coffee or a soda from the breakroom.Just don’t glare at the rest of us when they escort you out the door, like somehow it was our duty to become co-conspirators in your stupidity. We are not going to cough really loud, throw something soft at you, or inconspicuously walk to your desk to pretend we actually need your help with something.  You are snoring at your own risk.

The mythical perfect stack

Pringles.
Image by TheDeliciousLife via Flickr

Please, not another dreaded “restack” of cubicle space. I understand that space = money, but we already feel like Pringles in a can.

It doesn’t matter if the number of coworkers is growing or depleting, the restack remains all too popular. In the case of growth, we must stack tighter! In the case of depletion, we must consolidate space … and stack tighter!

There is a myth out there that the Perfect Stack can be achieved; a cubicle layout that provides the highest ratio of cost savings per unit of “packed person productivity.”

The quest for this perfect stack knows no limits of decency. I once saw a coworker promised a promotion, which allowed him a larger cubicle in the next restack. Construction on said larger cubicle was almost complete, when said promotion was put on hold.

Would you believe the coworker observed the restack construction guys DEconstructing the larger cubicle even before he found out his promotion got nixed?

I wonder how they factor coworker grumpiness into the productivity side of the Perfect Stack equation…