Working for the Man

"Admit it. No matter how good or bad the job, past or present, we're all just 'working for the man,' whether we mean it jokingly or seriously," said Jeffrey Yamaguchi, the author of Working for the Man.

Although there's no escape, it doesn't mean that you can't have a little fun at the workplace (just don't get caught, Jeffrey added). Working for the Man is a quirky collection of amusing observations about the office and the people trapped in them (at least from 9 to 5 on weekdays) and a manual on how to creatively while away the time - in case "working" just isn't working out for you.


A neat feature of the book is a list of "Working for the Man Rules," which those of us who've been working for a while learned the hard way. Jeffrey is kind enough, however, to let me quote a few to you newbies just be entering the workforce. Here are 15 of the Working of the Man Rules to get you started:

1. We are all working for the man.

4. If your boss keeps repeating the phrase "This is just for a little while," it's safe to assume that this "temporary" assignment will be a part of your workload permanently.

7. If the project you are heading up is a success, your boss will take credit for it.

8. If your project is not a success, your boss will make sure that you, and you alone, are blamed for its failure.

11. The shorter the message, the more trouble that you're in. "Call me as soon as you get in" is bad. "See me" is really bad.

24. Never trust anyone who uses exclamation points in email correspondence: "This is great! I really appreciate your working on getting this going! I look forward to working with you on this project!"

29. If you have a coworker that uses a made up, annoying word, such as "ridonkulous" (as in, "That's ridonkulous!") all the time, you may find, much to your chagrin (and that of your significant other, as well), that you start using the word as well. Isn't that ridonkulous?

32. Understand that when someone says, "Oh, is this bothering you?" it means, "Fuck you."

33. Learn how to say, "Oh, is this bothering you?" with just the right pitch.

48. Every office has two women who sit together and hang out together, and can be perfectly defined as "The Two Biddies."

49. If Biddy #1 happens to be away from her desk, and you ask Biddy #2 if she knows where Biddy #1 might be, Biddy #2 will give you a hateful, menacing glare and hiss, "How should I know?"

50. An unsigned note that says "Please don't make the coffee too strong" will occasionally be posted near the coffeemaker. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Two Biddies wrote it.

58. There are a lot of idiots in your office, but the guy who recommends to coworkers that they read Who Moved My Cheese? is the most definitely office idiot #1.

70. Even if you've been told by numerous reliable sources, do not ever ask a coworker if she is pregnant. Wait until she tells you.

71. If you do make the mistake of asking this question to a woman that is not pregnant, don't even try to apologize. Just keep your mouth shut and walk away. There is nothing you can say, not then or in the future, that will repair the relationship. This not-pregnant woman is going to hate you forever.

Have your own Working Man Rules? Let's hear 'em in the comments!

Working for the Man: Inspiring and Subversive Projects for Residents of Cubicle Land by Jeffrey Yamaguchi is a quirky collection that helps readers beat the office blues, find humor in the endless workplace absurdities, inspire creativity in seemingly dead-end situations, and preserve a bit of integrity and sense of self in a conformist corporate culture.

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This book is hilarious & well worth your purchase. I interviewed Jeff and he had me laughing about his obsession with Air Supply (the cure-all for the work day blues). He even sagely devised the one bottle, one bag of ice rule to corral your coworkers and bond.

If you're interested in hearing the chat, click here: (it's the 11/11 show)

Cheers, f.
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Accept that the customer is seldom right. Accept also that the customer can complain to your boss about your attitude, but you can't complain to their boss about their attitude.
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Avoid the rumor mongers and back stabbers in the workplace by avoiding to get to know them on a personal level.

Your only friends at work are those you talk to on internet forums, chat rooms, and bulletin boards during work hours.

Do not fraternize with co-workers.
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