Direction Misdirection

Dear Very Important Director of Something That Isn't My Job,

I truly appreciate your constant negative feedback about my communication skills. What I appreciate even more would be if you'd stay in your silo that is lucky to have my team supporting your needs. You are our internal customer, however, that does not give you the right to address me as though I report to you. My boss writes my performance review and he knows where my skills are lacking well enough without your pointless and misguided input.

Thanks a million,

Corporate Stooge


Stooge ready to quit

The above is awesome. Here's the reality check:

  • 5:45AM - Wake up
  • 5:47AM - Shave, shower and get dressed
  • 6:15AM - Make cup of coffee for commute
  • 6:20AM - Drive to office while listening to 5by5 podcasts that bring you joy
  • 7:10AM - Arrive in parking garage. Consider driving back home. Listen to 5 - 10 more minutes of 5by5.
  • 7:15AM - Stealthily make way from parking garage to office/cube/desk, avoiding any form of human interaction. If greeted by anyone, respond with standard "Living the dream!" with no emotion but a mock Tiger Woods fist pump for emphasis.
  • 7:20AM - Make cup of coffee with AeroPress
  • 7:25AM - Smile to self imagining an overnight worker urinating in the break room carafe that everyone else is happily gathered around talking about what they watched on TV last evening.
  • 7:30AM - Put on ambient music and work uninterrupted
  • 8:45AM - Get phone call from boss changing something from high to urgent while also adding 3 high priority items that would be "really great" to have by the end of the day.
  • 10:15AM - Coffee
  • 10:35AM - Status check via email by boss on urgent item
  • 10:38AM - Notification of 3 minute old email via IM from boss
  • 10:45AM - Coffee
  • 11:30AM - Lunch
  • 12:00AM - Work while dealing with constant in-person, phone and IM interruptions
  • 1:00PM - Meeting with boss to discuss progress on new urgent item and reiteration of the high items being "due" by end of day. 2 more high priorities added. "Great to have" by end of week.
  • 1:55PM - Coffee
  • 2:00PM - Meeting
  • 3:00PM - Meeting
  • 4:00PM - Work on high priority items
  • 6:00PM - Send off completed high priority items
  • 6:10PM - Get in car, deep sigh. 5by5 podcasts resume, a small form of solace.
  • 7:00PM - Arrive home
  • 7:10PM - Dinner with family
  • 8:00PM - Tuck kids in for the night
  • 8:10PM - Coffee
  • 8:15PM - Sit next to spouse while he/she watches prime time lineup. Boot up laptop.
  • 8:30PM - Read email string where boss sent high priority items to his/her boss, taking credit, then is asked for more information. "Need first thing tomorrow morning" from boss to you, requesting the information that was not part of original request.
  • 8:35PM - Resume working on item from 8:45AM
  • 10:00PM - Email from boss asking if you've read previous email about deadline for tomorrow morning
  • 10:30PM - Send additional information already pulled together earlier in the day, predicting this would happen
  • 11:00PM - Lay in bed and watch show/movie while thinking about what to accomplish from 7:30AM - 8:45AM tomorrow morning
  • 12:30AM - Stooge ready to quit

The worst thing you can do with your time is sink it into a project that you feel is never going achieve planned milestones. Often, this is because the scope of the project changes depending on which way the wind blows. If your career feels like one of these projects, it may be time for a change.


Beverage Shell Game

I'm at that point on a Sunday night where I can't decide whether I want to drink coffee or Heineken. Each beverage has several advantages. Coffee will rarely keep me awake and makes for an enjoyable drink to sip on while I work or read or watch Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Heineken on the other hand **will** keep me awake, and will usually put me into a state where I'll work for more focused hours on a project for work than normal. It isn't unusual for me to start a 6-pack in the late evening and finish it around 2am having completed a project that I had been previously unable to focus on for any meaningful amount of time during the regular work week.

Sure, tomorrow morning is going to suck a little bit if I go with the beer option, but what Monday doesn't suck a little bit.



Friday Frenzy

Friday is often a day that most stooges like myself coast into the weekend. My recommendation is to do the exact opposite. Turn on the turbo and steamroll through as much as you can on Friday. Friday is often a day where others will be avoiding meetings and conference calls like the plague. Use that to your advantage. Another common theme on Friday is to see your peers and upper management leave a couple of hours earlier. They've worked hard all week long. They've "earned" an early leave time. Make that 2 - 3 hours at the end of the day Friday your "deep breath" of the week. Clear your mind of all the clutter and bullshit that has been building up all week and just make shit happen!

Put those earbuds in and grab as many solid blocks of uninterrupted work time as you can. The weekend is for relaxing, but think how much more relaxed you can be without carrying around the mental debt of what you left undone last week. Monday will be stressful enough, but if you make Friday the day that you work the hardest, you'll be in a much better position when that staff meeting rolls around.


I purposely throw in "so what do you think?" statements on conference calls with my boss to prove to both of us that any meeting that isn't face-to-face with him is pretty pointless.


Morning Coffee

The first cup of coffee I make at work is sacred. It is the ritual that is as important as the result. It is the one item during the day that I can count on to be both consistent, and the outcome predictable. I use an AeroPress and bring the grounds from home. The grounds and the container remind me of my home. The liquid stool they serve in the break room is not to my standards. This is not because I am a coffee snob, however, I do have certain standards in my life that require me to not drink liquids that taste like excrement.

My cup this morning turned out especially good, so I took the time to realize that it is just one small way I control my mood and outlook on the day. If you find that your day starts out already "off the rails", take a few minutes to find a ritual where you control the inputs and outputs. It shouldn't be something that benefits the company. It should benefit you, because the company benefits from you for the remainder of the work day.


Monday Meeting Mayhem

My Monday is filled with meetings. Monday is not a day for getting anything done. It has become a day to update my superiors on what I was able to get done and what is still pending. Monday is a day to get new tasks assigned to me. Monday has turned into a really shitty way to start off the week. Whatever momentum I have built up from a weekend of trying to mentally focus and center myself is completely trashed by the end of the first day of the work week. At this point, I've accepted that Mondays are not about me or my productivity. This Monday is over; now I can get some shit done.


Friday Evenings

Friday evenings are like a cool summer breeze. They're just enough to smoothly transition from the soul suck of the last 5 days. If it weren't for Friday evenings, most of us would call our boss at about 11pm and say, "I've been thinking. I'm done. Good luck." Speech slurring might make him/her not take it seriously, but come Monday morning that seat at the staff meeting would be empty.

Have a great weekend you guys and gals. Mentally and emotionally prepare for Sunday night, when all the stooges like me try to "get a jump" on the week. It never actually makes Monday any better, though, right?


Office Martyr Stock Replies

"How was your weekend?"


"Go home, it will be here for us to do tomorrow."

Okay, you're right.

Next morning, "So where were we?"

I stayed for several hours after you left and then worked on it at home while my children starved!

"I don't care how many hours you worked... We all work hard."

You don't have to be an asshole.