Thursday, April 03, 2008

Time To Focus On The Work Place

It’s holiday time again (sorry Kat). However, today we need to focus on two holidays you might not be aware of (sorry again Kat). Don’t worry though; you’ll only need to buy one card since the holidays are kind of related. First, April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month. I know it’s already the 3rd, but there’s still plenty of time left to celebrate be aware.

It’s also Laugh At Work Week. I won’t focus much on this one since it’s pretty explanatory. Not that you have to copy me, but I’m going to do what I did last year and ‘roast’ each of my employees and my boss each day this week. The only difference this year is that I will remember to tell them I am ‘roasting’ them in good fun before I walk up and start making fun of them with no warning at all. Something tells me it will go over much better this year.

As far as Workplace Conflict Awareness Month goes, I guess you really shouldn’t ‘celebrate’ it. Just like the issue of the structural degradation of Liberace’s piano at his museum, workplace conflict is one of the most important, but yet least known issues facing us. Do you have a workplace? See, it’s important to you now, isn’t it. While many people don’t want to work, they have to and no one wants to work in a contentious workplace. And I should know. I work in an office where workplace conflict runs rampant. Trust me when I say that celebrating Laugh At Work Week is very difficult to do when there is conflict in the workplace. Unless of course you work with Female Coworker, who happens to laugh at workplace conflict, thus combining these two very different holidays into an orgy of laughter and sadness and pain. Is it because I just used the word ‘orgy’ that makes me feel like I have to now type ‘that’s what she said?’ I shall resist the urge. That’s what she said. Oops…

I do need to take the time here though to make sure that you realize the difference between conflict in the workPLACE and conflict in the workSPACE. The workplace is the greater (and I use that word very hesitatingly) office space where you are required to work with others, meet deadlines, shop up on time, walk around and where you make copies ( or coffee). The workspace is where you can play your Ipod, blog, use Facebook, forward inappropriate emails and decorate with tasteless items like mini-pink flamingos, Far Side comics and stress balls in the form of Dwight Schrute’s head. I’m kidding, really. That was just an amalgam of all my coworkers’ workspaces. MY workspace has nothing but motivational posters, all of our company bulletins, 5 different hand-painted versions of my company’s logo and all of my work files neatly organized by date in clean manila folders with no personal belongings displayed whatsoever.

Since it seems that no one wants to discuss the ugly topic of conflict in the workplace (at least that is what I am assuming since I’ve never heard anyone speak of it), I feel that we should champion the cause. The question however, is how to raise awareness of conflict in the workplace. My first thought was to hire a skywriter to write something catchy like ‘Be aware of conflict in the workplace’ over office buildings, like mine for instance. That’s somewhat costly though, so I didn’t go with it. Did you know that you have to pay per letter? I had been originally told it was pay per syllable. Ok, I made that up because I couldn’t find a skywriter in the phonebook and was too embarrassed to say so. Then I thought of an eye-popping billboard featuring a really hot woman in a workplace conflict with another really hot woman (you know, to catch people’s attention in order to make them aware of, uh, um, shoot, I forgot what I was writing about...).

Since I got distracted with that idea, I finally settled on going around to other offices and reenacting workplace conflict for them. Imagine the shock factor when I and my fellow coworkers walk into a complete stranger’s workplace in the middle of the work day and begin yelling at each other about the fiscal impact of buying generic Post-It notes and where we should go to lunch. Then we’ll throw a few fake punches, release our pouches of fake blood and bow. (By the way, this is where you cue the dream sequence of me and my coworkers bowing amid standing ovations, weeping ladies and roses being tossed to us). After we bow we will explain how horrible workplace conflict is, how we should all work together and then I’ll pass the tip jar. You don’t think the tip jar is overdoing it, do you?

Well, I am going to wrap this up so I can prepare my skits workplace conflict awareness performances. Wish us luck as we try to turn the spotlight towards this worthy cause. After all, that whole global warming this is getting old. I’m kidding. I’m kidding…BANISH WORKPLACE CONFLICT!!

16 comments:

Valerie said...

Wow, office politics. A concept foreign to me until I started my new job!! I've found that spontaneous jumping jacks take care of a lot of tension.

citizen of the world said...

I'm so thankful to be away from office politics. I liked having a lot of co-workers to chat with, but all that silliness was too much. Now it's just me and my ex. Yeah, I know.

chefmom said...

Does Workplace Conflict mean I can fire my children when they don't agree with me???!!! Or at the very least, listen to me?

meleah rebeccah said...

thank god I am not at work this week.

On a limb with Claudia said...

Dude, I'll have to stop fighting with myself, since I work for myself. Maybe the dog.... but I don't fight with the dog. Oh wait a minute, middle child - I don't fight with anyone.... But I do work!

Hey I did my TT on your 6 word statements - you should check it out because people wrote some awesome ones.

Patti said...

Like Claudia, I work by myself, just not for myself.

My only conflicts are with my wacky cats, who DON'T LISTEN to me.

OK, I feel better now.

okie sister said...

To quote the great philosopher Hank Hill, "That boy ain't right."
But you do crack me up, man.
Carry on!

FRIGGA said...

Wow, I should get you in contact with my HR manager - based on some of the "meetings/seminars" we've had to go to in the past, this seems like it's right up her alley!

Happy Friday :-)

FRIGGA said...

Wow, I should get you in contact with my HR manager - based on some of the "meetings/seminars" we've had to go to in the past, this seems like it's right up her alley!

Happy Friday :-)

Odat said...

What's a workplace?????????????? ;-)
Peace

Dr.John said...

Wow! Your workplace must be really wild.

Selma said...

I am still laughing at the pouches full of blood. Hahaha. Have you tried fake vomit on the edge of your desk? It reduces conflict every time. Your co-workers think you have an intestinal problem or an eating disorder (too much cheese) and offer you sympathy instead of cutting remarks. I would recommend it!

magickat said...

This is a great entry all around. I agree with Selma - the blood pouches are a great touch.

Thank you for apologizing about the "holidays". I think laughing in the work place should be a year long holiday put into practice on a permanant basis. Always. It should be a requirement upon hire.

meleah rebeccah said...

cant we just Banish The Work Place all together?

Just telling it like it is said...

Can't we all just get along...or at least fake it!!

Jackline said...

Hi Nice Blog .I think HR understands the importance of other people tracking time--IT, Lawyers, non-exempt employees, but struggles with the idea of web time clock .