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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