7 deadly workplace sins

1)  You put up posters – I’m not talking about that dodgy Christmas present that you’re trying to sell. Or the fact that you run a Pilates class. I’m talking about the mysterious posters that arrive over night when everyone else is sleeping. They’re always written in the tone that either replicates a cyclist talking to car drivers, or your mum after she found you having a crafty fag out of the window. “Please make sure you only print what you need, trees died to bring you this paper”. Yeah, and you just wasted a complete sheet on a pointless message I’m now going to ignore. Get a life.

2)  You smell – Ok. Now I know BO is a serious issue. I work in HR, I’ve dealt with smelly people all my life. I mean, instead, the people who have a Chinese or an Indian meal (other cuisines are equally culpable, this is a non-discriminating rant) the night before and think, “I know, I’ll take this in to work tomorrow and really improve the environment for all my co-workers by heating it up and eating it at my desk. They will really appreciate the way that the smell lingers all afternoon like some sort of weird olfactory fog.

3)  You organise “fun” – No-one comes to work to have organised fun. There is no such thing as organised fun. Fun happens or it doesn’t. That’s just the way that it is. It’s like love. It can’t be created by a cheerleading fool with invisible pom poms. Let people have their fun at home, in the park, behind the bike sheds. Wherever they choose. They can even have it at work if they really want, but please for the love of Buddha never start a sentence with, “Why don’t we all dress up as xxxxxx this Friday”.

4)  You leave your s**t around – Not literally. Although buy me a drink and I’ll tell you a darker story about this one. This is work, this is the workplace. It is not your very own personal Big Yellow. All that c**p you’ve got under your desk, on your desk and by your desk. Find it a place to live or burn it. Nobody needs to see the pair of trainers that you thought you’d run in, languishing under your desk 8 months later. Including you, lard arse.

5)  You diet – I’m not against diets – I’d personally rather you did that than eat yourself in to oblivion, God knows, square footage is tight enough as it is. But frankly, I don’t need to know about it. Or how it differs from the one that you were doing the month before, but failed to stick to, or the one just before Christmas that was fine until it played havoc with your bowel habits. I really don’t care if you want to eat lightly fried angel’s buttocks for the rest of your life. That’s your choice, keep it to yourself.

6)  You have pets. Or children – Ok. I realise that this “may” appear to push me slightly towards the fascist demographic. I don’t actually have an issue with you having pets or kids. I just don’t want to know every detail about your parrot Ernie who was named after your late Uncle who once nearly played for Manchester United Reserves. Nor do I want to see a million badly taken pictures of them displayed throughout the office. I’m glad you see Ernie every evening and get to share precious moments. Let’s keep it between the two of you, m’kay?*

7)  You steal stuff – Wait. I’m not talking about bullion or the Crown Jewels. I’m talking about the important stuff in life, like calculators and rulers and the only pens that write properly. These are organisational gold dust and you are undermining the very balance of workplace karma when you move one from its rightful home. Take a moment and reflect on your actions. I’m not cross, I’m just disappointed.

* This also applies to weird crushes. Like the ginger kid out of Harry Potter. Which is just strange.

The revolution will (not) be sanitised

Last year whilst having lunch with David Goddin, we were discussing the whole “Social HR” thing when one or other of us came up with the phrase, “the cigarette paper of social connection”. The idea that for all we talk about connection and connectivity, social connection online is incredibly thin and superficial.

Fast forward through the Christmas celebrations and I’m in a bar with Sukh Pabial discussing the very same thing. As an output he writes this blog and the response is yawningly predictable. It shouldn’t be a surprise, when I wrote about Social HR last year the same things were said. It is increasingly clear that we have a problem with challenge.

It tickles me when I’m told that people have stopped following me on Twitter because of something that I said that they disagree with. Bless ‘em.

It makes me laugh when we organise, yes ORGANISE, structures to destructure and disrupt and consider ourselves edgy. 

It amazes me when we collect together a bunch of blogs and think that our personal desire for attention and affirmation is in any way changing or influencing anyone.

It entertains me that we dub someone a thought leader or thinker, when all they do is regurgitate and repackage the thoughts of others. And no one calls it out.

It depresses me that we defend this ridiculous status quo and rage against anyone who questions it.

When the medium for disruption, become the establishment, you know that you’re heading for mediocrity and group think. When consensus is valued more highly than difference, you know you’re pushing water up a wall.

The revolution has been sanitised. Time for a rethink.

Ten things you don’t need to know

I described last year as a, “black ice drive“. I didn’t realise then that 2012 was only a warm up act. 2013 has been memorable, I can at least say that.

I could now tell you about the testicular cancer of my dog, my guinea pig’s genital warts, or some other contrived tragedy, in order to make you feel sorry for me. I could plead exceptional circumstances, reach out for the community love. But you know what, as I’ve said before, I’m one of the lucky ones.

Things have happened, things are happening, things will happen. That’s the rub. That’s life

So here are ten things that I’ve learnt in 2013 that you don’t need to know,

1) There are good people out there doing good work, daily. They don’t feel the need (get the space) to tell the world.

2) Winning stuff and being recognised. That’s nice. But not the point.

3) Laugh in the face of adversity. Constantly.

4) The most supportive and helpful people aren’t the ones who talk about how supportive and helpful they are.

5) Until you’ve sat and broken bread with someone, you don’t know whether you’ll really like them.

6) SoMe is full of guff. Period.

7) The real conversation isn’t happening where you think it is, it’s happening where you hope it isn’t.

8) Given a choice, most people would elect for self interest over collective benefit.

9) 90% of debate results is nothing more than intellectual masturbation. Fun, but unproductive.

10) Never listen to a blogger that thinks they can summarise a situation in 10 points.

Happy Christmas one and all.


PS. That’s me done for 2013. I may be back in the new year, who knows?

The etiquette of resigning, or how not to look like a twonk.

DON’T start slagging your current employer off before you’ve left – no matter how much you may want to. You’re still employed, these people are still paying you and it makes you look like a petulant child.

DO turn up to work. You’ve given notice, ok, but you’re still bound by the Contract of Employment…that shiny document you signed when you were a bright-eyed hopeful new recruit. It still counts.

DON’T start throwing sickies. Think of your team mates, think of your colleagues. Yes, you’re leaving, but until you’re replaced you’re still letting the team down. And they’ll hate you for it.

DO remember that it is a “small world”. You never know who might know whom, when you might need a favour, or when you might end up face to face with one of these people again.

DON’T start talking about how you’re too “big for the job”. Nobody wants to hear it….and nobody believes it. The job is as big as you make it…you just gave up trying.

DO expect to work your notice. Unless you’re truly lucky you’re going to be held to the entire period that YOU signed up to. Make that your expectation…. anything else is a bonus.

DON’T try and turn your co-workers against the company to give you the confidence to justify your decision. They have to schlep in and out of work every day regardless of your decision. Leave them be to live their lives.

DO put as much effort in on the last day as you put in on the first day. It’s called personal dignity.

DON’T expect everyone/anyone to miss you. They’re moving on, just like you.