The Cubicle Diaries XIV: Learn English

I’d like to tell you I had tons of ideas to write about for my last blog about my office life, but if you’ve been keeping up with my posts you’d know I ran out of ideas about two months ago.

Instead, what I’ve decided to do is devise a guide of sorts for those of you potentially nearing a cubically-confined future.

I have broken up my suggested rules/guidelines/necessities for existence in the office world into three categories: distractions, techniques and the English language.

We will first cover distractions.

Find some.

Every office has its ups and downs in terms of work flow. Some days are so busy it feels like you’re drowning. And then you wake up and – after calling the doctor to tell him you had that same recurring nightmare about drowning again – realize you passed out from the workload.

There will, however, be days of extreme boredom; boredom to the point of exhaustion. Whether you’re tired of being bored or so busy you’re tired, it’s nice to take a break and find something to stimulate your brain, if only for a few minutes. A boss would rather see you taking a five minute break than catch you fighting off sleep at your desk.

My professional opinion is to download (FOR FREE) Candy Crush from the app store. It’s a dangerously addicting game – i.e. it is quite the dopamine instigator, so you’ll have no problem staying awake after a few games – but it’s “lives” structure forces you to take a break every few rounds for at least twenty minutes or so.

What could be better than a video game that keeps you awake and productive at the office?

Well, maybe this...

Next, we’ll talk about techniques you must master in order to survive in the workplace.

The first is to develop the art of hiding your predetermined distraction that we discussed up above. It is basically the BC Look Away in reverse, requiring you to cease whatever you are doing on your phone as quickly as possible and turning to see whomever has just entered your plot on the cubical farm.

It is essential that you never be caught partaking in any form of distraction, and the first and foremost important technique to learn is how to avoid detection.

My personal favorite is Pandora Internet Radio. If you’re like me and always on ESPN’s website getting scores and stat updates, you may want a backup browser page to flash to when someone walks in.

With the exception of a very small amount of very strange people, everyone loves and can tolerate music. So, be aware of your surroundings and just flip back to your “Today’s Hits” station before someone sees you looking up Tim Lincecum’s WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched). It’s not crazy, it’s sports.

Perhaps the most crucial skill to have, office distractions and avoidance techniques aside, is a firm grasp on the English language.

One coworker, Erlir (pronounced just like the antonym of “later”) had a very unfortunate habit of spelling words in his emails exactly how you’d say them out loud; and when I say exactly, I mean “igsacly.”

Erlir also happened to be the nicest, smartest person I’d encountered working for the company. In getting to know him, I found out he taught himself the English language in order to find a job and make something of himself. On countless occasions, he thanked me for my “butifly worded emale” and even recommended that my boss keep me around next summer based on my emails alone.

While you likely already know English and could not match the story of Erlir and teach yourself, you CAN learn how to use the English language in such a way that people are forced to consider you and your opinion.

There’s no bigger turn off for a potential employer than a horrid spelling mistake or misplaced modifier. If you think about it, it’s a terribly dangerous example of the snowball effect.

When you don’t master the English language, you send disgustingly grotesque emails. When you send disgustingly grotesque emails, your boss becomes dissatisfied with your work. When your boss becomes dissatisfied with your work, he fires you. When he fires you, you spend more time on hold with your cable company. When your cable company keeps you on hold, you get angry. When you get angry, you go blow off steam. When you go blow off steam, accidents happen. When accidents happen, you get an eye patch. When you get an eye patch, people think you’re tough. When people think you’re tough, people want to see how tough. And when people want to see how tough, you end up in a roadside ditch.

Don’t end up in a roadside ditch. Learn English.

I’d like for all of you who may or may not have been offended by any and all of my blogs to know that I changed the identities of everyone in my office and not once did I reveal the company name. The events of which I spoke were only loosely based on office happenings, and never once did I regret my time spent working with these people. Thank you for embarking on this satirical journey with me this summer, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

This blog and all of its previous entries have been completely satirical in their intent. All names have been changed, but to be honest - half of the people you've come to know and love were completely made up. Also, much of my content was made up to entertain you wonderful readers because, let's be honest, who wants to read about me actually doing work at work?

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Jake Miller