Monday, November 16, 2009

Top 14 Workplace Excuses: How to Win Sympathy and Entertain People

A friend forwarded me this impressive list of excuses from a former manager of hers, taken verbatim from e-mails and compiled over a year-long period. I feel compelled to post as a nostalgic look back at economic times past, when cube dwellers spent more time concocting creatively insane ways to get out of work than ways to avoid being laid off - a time when the crazy that ferments between submitting TPS reports was a tad more entertaining than depressing.

14. I'm at home because it was supposed to thunder a lot. My poor dog is all doped up and stumbling around. And then my fish got a parasitic infection, so I've been trying to take care of him too.

13. I pinched a nerve in my neck on Saturday. It happens from time to time. Anyway, I had hoped I would improve enough to come in today, but I'm still in a lot of discomfort. It affects my shoulder, range of movement (I can't turn my head very far to the right) and my arm. I can't carry anything heavy or on my shoulders, so obviously a backpack is out.

12. I'm not feeling well at all -- I've come down with a head cold, in addition to the cough I've had, which seems to be getting worse. Yesterday, I was dismissed from jury duty because I became very nauseous and light-headed, nearly fainting in a hallway (had to be helped up by the sheriff.) So, I think I'll try to work from home the best I can.

11. I had what felt like a gallstone attack last night so I decided to work from home.

10. I need to get my wreck on wheels fixed (seems like there’s a hole in coolant line and now my battery won’t hold a charge, so I’ll need a new one) and my ex-husband is willing to help me out by giving me a jump so I can bring it in to his mechanic, but I’m at the mercy of his schedule because he’s not sure if he can come by today or tomorrow morning. I’ll need to work from home in order to coordinate this, but my hope is that it will be fixed before the end of the week.

9. Thanks to Ivan, I had some leaks both in the roof of my house (which is an ongoing problem I’m dealing with, since the condo assoc is supposed to be taking care of the repairs to the firewalls) and in the garage that caused some water damage. My ex-husband has attempted to fix the garage roof (to no avail – it didn’t hold up during the storms) and came by again yesterday afternoon to see what could be done. He told me last night that he’s sending someone he knows that does roofing over to look at it this afternoon, and asked that I be available because he’s not sure when he’ll be able to get here.

8. I’m going back to school this semester and Mondays are my very late nights, where I won’t get home until 9:30PM. I don’t have anyone to walk my dog for me, and that’s too long for her to wait, so I’ll be working from home on Mondays.

7. We had a huge oak tree come down on my street last night (unfortunately, right onto my neighbor’s 19th century home) and it took out the transformer with it. Power was just finally restored to my neighborhood. The rain and wind were very bad all night – it was impossible to get much sleep.

6. I’m not feeling all that great, and they always keep the office too cold (which is worse when you don’t feel well) so I’m going to be working from home today instead.

5. Earlier in the day, my friend Hormuz backed his car out of his spotin a wide arc, and never saw that I was nearby, pulling out of another spot. He collided into my car, resulting in some paint scrapes across the front right end of my car, and a huge dent and scratches along the driver’s side of his. Fortunately, both of our cars are old and dented already, so neither one of us care that much about the cosmetic damage.)

4. I was walking my dog late this afternoon, and she was attacked by my neighbor’s retriever, who was off the leash in his yard. There’s a ¾” gash in her lower eyelid (it was torn all the way through to the conjunctiva) and a puncture wound near the corner of that same eye. My neighbor and I brought her to the emergency animal clinic for treatment, and they said she needs surgery in order to repair the eyelid, so I have to bring her to my vet first thing in the morning. We’re not sure if her eyeball was scratched in the attack, which will need to be checked while she’s under anesthesia.

Right now she’s got ointment on the laceration and is wearing one of those big plastic cones on her head. I had already planned to work from home tomorrow because I have school in the evening. I don’t know how long her surgery will take or if they will let me bring her home tomorrow. Fortunately, my vet is only a couple of blocks away. But, it may mean I’ll be unavailable for some time tomorrow during the morning.

3. I think I have a blocked tear duct, which is why I wasn’t in the office today. It’s been like this since Saturday night. My eye tears constantly, which is not only annoying, but uncomfortable. The cold, dry air seems to make it worse. I may end up calling my doctor tomorrow if it doesn’t improve, so I may not be in the office. I’ll let you know.

2. Definitely not my morning – I had to dispose of a dead baby bird that I found on my patio too. And having had birds as pets for all my life, that’s not something I deal with very well. Back to work now.

1. I had tried unsuccessfully to find parking downtown and eventually gave up and headed back home.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Down with

I don’t answer e-mails from Nigerian princes or click on flashing pop-ups telling me I’ve won a bunch of cash, so I CANNOT BELIEVE I fell for’s scam. I could have been interviewed for this New York Times article.

What’s in store for me down the line? Will I be one of those little old ladies on Dateline crying about how some alien on the Interwebs stole all my money?? Maybe not… there were a few extenuating factors at work:

  • Evil genius marketing: I think I just couldn’t get past the name of the site. After all, it has the word FREE in it. While most e-commerce sites are named after their products, was named after its gimmick, which is a “free” report looped in with a nine-day trial of the actual product, a rather pricey - and useless - credit monitoring service.
  • Irrational rage: The reason I was checking my credit in the first place was because I had convinced myself that evil, evil stalker cable company RCN, which had unleashed bill collectors on me for absolutely no reason other than their own stupidity and evilness, was out to ruin my credit and my life. Little did I know that my preoccupation with mitigating the evil of one company would leave me vulnerable to yet another!
  • Trial trickery: Although I have no memory of entering my credit card information or ignoring the Welcome e-mail (most likely due to rage-induced temporary insanity discussed above), I must have skimmed over some text describing the trial membership I unwittingly signed up for…. So I should have known better, BUT isn’t a free trial usually followed by the OPTION to extend? Since when does NO ACTION mean, “Yes, please charge my credit card for something I don’t need. Monthly.” Any halfway decent company would at least send you an e-mail alerting you that your trial period is over and that your credit card is going to be charged. Shady.
Of course that’s their intention — to confuse and take advantage of consumers.

From NY Times: “Evan Hendricks, who used to serve on the consumer advisory panel for Experian [credit bureau that owns the site] and is now the editor and publisher of Privacy Times, said the company knew the Web site’s name would sow confusion. ‘We had these roaring debates, saying you can’t call it because it’s not free,’ said Mr. Hendricks, who has also been an expert witness on behalf of consumers suing to correct errors in their reports and has testified against Experian. ‘We had put them on notice,’ he said. ‘But the money spoke louder.’”

FYI: To actually get a FREE credit report with no strings attached, go to Federal law guarantees access to a free report from each of the three reporting agencies every 12 months. Why are consumers STILL at the mercy of these deeply flawed and rather evil credit reports? That's a whole separate rant.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Feeling unsalty

Newsflash soupmakers: Soup needs salt. Stop torturing America with your low-sodium impostors. First Trader Joe’s discontinued its delicious tomato & roasted red pepper soup in favor of a low-sodium version. (Me: “Oh, pooper. Is the low-sodium one good?” Trader Joe’s employee: “Um, I guess – it just needs salt.”) But that’s to be expected from the fickle store, whose inventory is constantly playing with my emotions. Plus, I only really opted for tomato & roasted red pepper when I was feeling fancy.

But the betrayal I experienced today when I dipped a freshly grilled cheese sandwich into America’s beloved Campbell’s tomato soup is UNFORGIVABLE. I knew something tasted fishy, er, unsalty, upon my first slurp and initially assumed my boyfriend accidentally picked up some crap low-sodium version of my staple sandwich companion at the grocery store. I was just about to G-chat him to let him know he ruined my day lunch when I decided to check the label before making accusations. What I found was even more disturbing than having to fish it out of the kitchen garbage.

The front of the can looks the same, but here’s what it says on the back: “The famous taste… with less salt! The soup with the famous taste you know and love is healthy, because Campbell adds a naturally flavorful sea salt that helps us use less salt.” Ah yes, I remember seeing commercials about sea salt and thinking it sounded like a good idea. I was wrong.

The tomato soup I knew and loved has been dead since August, according to this press release. The recipe that has “remained largely unchanged” since it was introduced in 1897 will never taste like childhood again. So thanks, Campbell, for making me healthier – and depressed.

Photo courtesy of PR Newswire

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chirp Lit

I never really thought about my stance on variations of the word "said" until I stumbled across a (really old...) post on Nathan Bransford's blog - apparently it's something of a debate among real writers. The literary agent puts himself in "camp said," arguing that alternatives are actually more distracting than descriptive because "a reading brain doesn't really register the word 'said,' and readers only need to be reminded who's talking. It should be apparent from the dialogue and context whether someone is 'shouting' or 'whispering' or, yes, even 'enumerating,' and using 'said' keeps the reader's attention on the dialogue."

So thanks, Nathan, for alerting me to this subpar writing tactic. Now I can pinpoint what exactly irritates me about books like my latest questionable read: Celebutantes. I should have just stopped after reading the following on page one: "'Please, Paulie, just one of the four of us,' her blood red lips purr." Ick.

In addition to the use of various animal noises, Celebutantes may have even coined some new said alternatives, such as "trill" (used in conjunction with both humans and cell phones) and "sing-song."

Perhaps more distracting, however, were passages like this:
"We swerve past B.D. talking to Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera and Alfonso Cuaron by the mosaic tiled pool. As Carolina crouches down to admire B.D.'s beloved Jack Russell, I can't help but admire her electric blue croc mini-Kelly."

~My inner dialogue~

"What's going on here? Shoes, bags, celebrities? All of the above?" the reader exclaimed to herself, twirling her unstyled hair in befuddlement. "Am I that clueless?"

"There's nothing wrong with shopping at Target," the angel on her shoulder chirped. "It's like, responsible and stuff."

"But Forever 21? You're almost 27," hissed the devil on her other shoulder. "I'm a little embarrassed for you."

"Eh, who cares - just keep reading and get to the inevitable happy ending!" the reader concluded, with more enthusiasm than she'd like to admit.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin