Friday, March 31, 2006

Escape from New Dork

Since I started my current job, I have had a problem with some of my co-workers. The problem is that some of them aren't very busy. The other problem is that they have years of experience disguising this fact. Thus, I am one of the few people that knows that these people don't do much on any given day. How do I know this? Because they come to my office almost daily and spend 20 to 60 minutes (1.75 hours is the record) talking to me. Every hour that they spend babbling is an hour that I either have to stay late or work at home.

It would be different if they wanted to talk about work related topics or even something remotely interesting. Instead, I have to hear about their latest medical procedure, what they saw on TV the previous night, or, my favorite, how busy they are. I've tried solutions like shutting the door, ignoring them, and strategic fan-enhanced flatulence, without success. Yesterday, all of that changed.

This is a functional prototype of my Office Safety Valve. Here is how it works: When a habitual babbler walks into my office to tell me how smart her kids are or some such foolishness, I reach over and flip a switch on the green board that is on the leftmost thingy. After a 90 second delay, the rightmost widget sends an e-mail, via our SMTP server, to my co-conspirator:

From: TFG's_Gizmo
Re: Rescue Me

You are receiving this e-mail because TFG's office has become infested by serial babbling. Please page TFG to the electrical department, via the PA system.

Excrementally Yours,

Once my helper makes the page, I politely excuse myself with a "production emergency" and walk out to our shop. Then, I briefly trade clever insights
with shop employees regarding their familial origins, and return to my office. Meanwhile, the babbler has moved on to his/her next victim. Yesterday, the system was employed twice with success. I look at the 2 hours I spent developing this not as wasted time, but as a long term time management strategy that helps maximize my efficiency. There is no i in team, but there is one in prick.


At 8:47 AM, Blogger Broadsheet said...

You blogged this from work didn't you?

At 9:16 AM, Blogger tfg said...

No, I don't post from work. I don't get left alone long enough for that.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Cham said...

Who do the shop employees find to page them when they need an escape from you?

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Antonio said...

Nice work there. I don't have a problem with employees bothering me at my job since I'm not the approachable type.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger TheIdleReceptionist said...

You're a fucking genius and prolly getting underpaid. Its kinda sad when I can't even track with your posts most of the time.

You should patent your gizmo. Call it the Babble Buster. I claim royalties on that!

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a sick man for messing with that Siemen's stuff. Replace the switch with a photoeye so they don't figure it out.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger elcapitanhink said...

I created a quite similar device, but I used a fancy .bashrc entry and sendmail.

[$ user @ systemV] 666
/etc/init.d/sendmail is running...
Sending Emergency Action Message...


At 2:22 PM, Blogger tfg said...

cham-The shop employees don't try to escape. They just throw things at me.

antonio-Teach me, master. Get me onto the Righteous Path,

idle-Babble Buster is an excellent name for it.

anon-Siemens is good stuff once you get into it. Instead of a PE, I've got an infrared switch that I might add. If it senses 98.6 degrees it will make the input.

hink-There are many ways to skin a cat. I thought about using a 100dB klaxon but I figured that might seem a bit offensive.

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, i've got an even simpler approach. i just quickly text myself through email to my cell phone. most providers have a function like this, where you can email to your phone. that way my co-dorks don't see anything other than a few keyboard strokes, and then when the message comes in, i look worried and say that i have to make an urgent phone call or whatever.

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Stephaine said...

I wear earbuds and ignore the fact that they are standing there. By the time I decide to look up at them they have lost some of their hot air and I just tell them I'm in the middle of something.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Attila The Mom said...

Absolutely brilliant!

Now if only I could get one of those things to use on my mother.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger riskybiz said...

Nice work!
I think that I would tell them to shut the hell up and leave me alone.
Or maybe not shower for awhile!
Maybe that's why I'm a truck driver and I work alone.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

There's no "i" in team, but it does spell "meat" and "mate" and "tame" when you rearrage the letters, frequently causing people to say, "Tame my meat, mate."


I forgot what we were talking about.

At 10:11 PM, Blogger John said...

You're my hero. I once emailed the Network Admin in our building a button that said something like "Click here if you want to be in my NCAA Pool" We used Lotus Notes and you could put a simple formula behind the button to send email from the unwitting button presser to whomever you wished saying whatever you wanted it to. I had it send email to the two wankers across the hall from me saying "I have a new laser mouse for you, disconnect your old one and bring it to me to receive your new one" Within ten minutes I had the joy of watching the aforementioned wankers pulling their desktops out, disconnecting their mice and walking them down to the office of one of the biggest bastards ever. That was one of my best days there.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Charles said...


Good strategy! neat trick

At 3:42 PM, Blogger NPR Junky said...

Absolute Genius. Can you send me one of those, too? I have ALOT of wastes of air by my cubicle...and they talk alot. Could you make it relay a message like "the FDA is going to do a spot audit of our office in 15?" or something?

Then they'd stop talking about their f-ing shoes all the time.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger blog Portland said...

Excellent. I'll take two.


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