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FUNNY BUSINESS: Holiday favorites-and not-so-favorites-liven up work

Mike Redmond
December 18, 2006
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On the first day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

One allegedly funny memo written in the style of Clement Clarke Moore: "'Twas the night before Christmas and all through Accounts Receivable, not a creature was stirring, isn't that unbelievable?" It goes on like

this for 27 stanzas, representing at least four hours of someone's workweek.

On the second day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Two half-gallon cartons of eggnog for the kitchenette refrigerator, where they will go untouched until April, when Building Security takes notice of the smell and calls in a HazMat Squad to remove them; and another memo written in the style of Clement Clarke Moore:

"'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the Marketing Department, not a creature was stirring, as usual-ha ha this means you, Tim."

On the third day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Three cans of Authentic Danish Butter Cookies the boss picked up while waiting in line at the drugstore; two cartons of (bleah) eggnog; and yet another memo written in the style of Clement Clarke Moore: "'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through Human Resources, not a thing was being processed, especially not those end-of-the-year vision claims."

On the fourth day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Four forwards of an e-mail about the true cost, in today's dollars, of the Twelve Days of Christmas ($18,920 without repeats, $75,122.03 if you buy the items-lords-a-leaping, swans-a-swimming, calling birds-each time they're mentioned); three cans of crummy cookies; two cartons of egg (gag) nog; and yet another of those lame takes on "A Visit From St. Nicholas": "'Twas the financial quarter before Christmas and all through Accounting ..."

On the fifth day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Five memos from corporate beginning, "In lieu of bonuses and a party this holiday season ..." Also, four dumb e-mails, three cans of stale cookies, two cartons of Holiday Gack and another poem, this time from Legal. Good grief, don't these people have anything to do?

On the sixth day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Six notices saying every member of Senior Management will be out of the office until the fourth of January and that no more time-off requests will be processed this year; five letters telling me I'll get a frozen turkey instead of the money we used to get at Christmastime; four e-mail forwards with "Read This - FUNNY! J" in the subject line; three cans of what appear to be dog biscuits; two cartons of either very old eggnog or very young egg salad; and-I can't believe it-now Security is getting in on the Christmas Poem act.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Seven invitations to pitch-in lunches grouped by (a) department, (b) floor, (c) seniority, (d) cubicle number, (.) first letters of last names, (f) college affiliation and (g) dietary restrictions and/or preferences ("Gluten-Free/Nut-Free/Fatfree/Processed-Ingredient-Free/Flavor-Free Christmas Goodies in the Fourth Floor Conference Room!"); and all the rest of that nonsense.

On the eighth, ninth and 10th days of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

A boss who wandered around the office with a dark look on his face, muttering about how nothing ever gets done around here in December and wondering why nobody has touched the cookies, while employees made gagging faces and insulting hand signals behind his back; and ... well, you know the drill.

On the 11th day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

Eleven irrational e-mails from some boob fulminating about how Christmas is under attack because he saw a sign that said "Happy Holidays;" a clueless boss; invitations to ptomaine pitch-ins; managers cherry-picking the good days off; coupons for year-old surplus poultry; silly forwards about the adjusted cost of geese-a-laying, drummers drumming and golden rings; cans of inedible cookies; cartons of a dairy product that is now making a hissing noise in the back of the refrigerator; and yet ANOTHER "Visit From St. Nicholas" knockoff, but in a foreign language: "...

and all through IT, not a creature was stirring except the blade server Quad-Core 64-bit Xeon® processors with 2x4MB L2 Cache running SAN compute nodes, HPCC applications and database front-end."

On the 12th day of Christmas, the workplace brought to me:

All of the above, 12 times over-plus a partridge in a pear tree ($144.99). And the thought that I might want to start looking for a new place to work next year.



Redmond is an author, columnist and speaker, and a consultant on business writing and workplace issues. His column appears monthly. You can reach him at mredmond@ibj.com.
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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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