Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Office Professionalism

With all of the focus in the contemporary workplace on productivity and efficiency, it is easy to overlook the significance of professionalism in business communications. Not only is this true of discourse, but also with respect to modern mediums such as e-mail. It is important to remember that the opinions of your peers and superiors are formed, in part, on the basis of these exchanges. Consequently, I have included some example corporate communications that I have participated in.

One particularly troublesome aspect of e-mail is the fact that participants can draw the conversation off-topic. This significantly compromises the efficiency of the communication and muddles matters for everyone involved. In the following e-mail exchange, notice how I keep the participants focused:

From: TFG
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 2:15 PM
To: Purchasing Manager
Subject: Employee Purchase

Purchasing Manager,

Can I buy (1) of 08-1955 at $145.82/ea?


From: Purchasing Manager
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:48 AM
Cc: Inventory Manager; Accountant
Subject: RE: Employee Purchase


Yes you can. Pay Accountant and then go see Inventory Manager.

From: Accountant
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:53 AM
To: Purchasing Manager; TFG
Subject: RE: Employee Purchase

Is TFG running a side business? Should we charge him additional for our time? Maybe TFG should buy us something pretty.

From: TFG
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:58 AM
To: Accountant; Purchasing Manager
Subject: RE: Employee Purchase

What does my work down at the Hippo have to do with this?

From: Accountant
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 9:09 AM
Subject: RE: Employee Purchase

Of course you’re familiar with the Hippo.

From: TFG
Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 9:21 AM
To: Accountant
Subject: RE: Employee Purchase

I'm not certain that providing value-added services to Hippo clientele constitutes "familiarity," nor does the plaque that's engraved with my name in their restroom.

Another common trap occurs when you are communicating with difficult coworkers. Although it may seem tempting to sink to their level of unprofessionalism, it is important to remain respectful and amenable towards them at all times. As the business guru Peter North once said, "Nobody wins an argument." The next e-mail demonstrates the practical application of this concept:

From: TFG
Sent: Tuesday, March 1, 2006 11:05 AM
To: Phone Manager
Subject: Phone Logs

Phone Manager,
Have you set up the outgoing call log on the new phone system? If so, can you tell me if I called (XXX)-XXX-XXXX from extension XXXX on 2/23?


From: Phone Manager
Sent: Tuesday, March 1, 2006 11:09 AM
Subject: RE: Phone Logs

Why do you need to know that?

From: TFG
Sent: Tuesday, March 1, 2006 11:15 AM
To: Phone Manager
Subject: RE: Phone Logs

As you know, the company's sales were off during the previous month. I want to ensure that I'm getting the most from their phone sex dollar. I'm just trying to do my part.


It is also important to remain aloof of off-color or politically incorrect conversations. Topics such as politics, religon, and sexual preference should usually be avoided. The last thing that you want to do is offend an associate's moral values, so it's best to politely recuse yourself from these topics:

TFG: Did you order that kit yet?
Coworker: No, I couldn't find it.
TFG: How come? I sent you the link to their website.
Coworker: I couldn't find where to place an order.
TFG:Yeah, a lot of gay guys have trouble with that.
Coworker: Real funny.
TFG: Sorry. Go to the webpage and open the sitemap. Click on products.
Coworker: (clicking) OK, here is the kit. I still don't see how to place the order.
TFG: Yeah, it's that gay guy thing again.
Coworker: Jerk. I don't know why you people think that's so funny. I'm not gay.
TFG: You're right, it's not funny. I'm sorry. It won't happen again. Click on the online tab and you can order the parts.
Coworker: I see. I guess I'll have to create an account first.
TFG: Maybe or you might be able to make the order with only a credit card.
Coworker: OK, I'll do it after lunch. I'm going to Panera. Do you want to go?
TFG: Well, I'd like to, but I can't. I'm afraid that if people see me with you, they might think that I'm gay, too.
Coworker: Asshole.

Additionally, you need to remember to excercise good phone manners while working. Regardless of how busy you get, you need to project a professional and cheery attitude towards callers:

TFG: (picking up phone) WBDB. You're on the air.
Caller: Haha. What would you have done if I was a customer?
TFG: Nothing. I wouldn't have picked it up. That's the beauty of caller ID.
Caller: Good point. Did you look at the drawing I sent you?
TFG: No.
Caller: Why not? You said you'd look at it as soon as you got it.
TFG: I say a lot of things. I've been telling you for months that I'm the inventor of electricity. Why did you pick today to start believing me?
Caller: Well, could you look at it now?
TFG: OK, I'm opening it. Wow, it's uglier than a hatful of assholes. Is there anything else that you needed?
Caller: (laughing) I wonder why I bother calling you.
TFG: Well, then it's unanimous.

I hope that you have found these examples instructive. By following these simple examples, I have every confidence that your coworkers and superiors will be impressed with your professionalism. Consequently, you may find yourself promoted to a position of responsibility, like myself. I can assure you that I would have never made Deputy Assistant Toilet Hygienist without these valuable lessons.


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I nearly died when I read "hatful of a__holes"

At 10:26 AM, Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

Typically I just run around with a bag on my head and my cock in my hand. That pretty much keeps everyone from communicating with me.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take it that you are homophobic.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger tfg said...

anon1-That's a midwestern saying.

ACW-That wouldn't fly where I work. The dress code strictly prohibits bags.

anon2-No, but the guy I had that conversation is. Several of us find it mildly amusing to altenatively profess or deny our romantic intentions towards him.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger fatrobot said...

all lies

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Dr. Zombie said...

It's a wonder you get any work done with all the assholes you work with. The things you have to put up with...

At 6:45 AM, Blogger tfg said...

Actually, my workplace is a pretty laidback place. There are some wankers, but most people are pretty cool. All of the e-mails/conversations in the post were sent in jest.

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous JennyGags said...

As one goes thru life, one finds that there's always someone worse off than oneself in almost every given situation. For example, in experiencing the highs & lows of my fiance's chemo treatment, we're learning that having something treatable makes one better off than someone who doesn't.

So in comparing my office existence [heretofore likened to my personal purgatory], I now feel I can get thru the workday with just a little more dignity & sanity intact after reading this post and many other Assclownopolies.

Thank you, TFG, for this great public service on behalf of officekind everywhere.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger TheIdleReceptionist said...

Is it your gay friend's hatful of assholes?

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a dumbass. Peter North is a porno star.


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