Oops Brief: Padding the Truth

Image: Pixabay

Louisa glances at the time on her computer. A quarter of an hour before meeting with the company president! Quickly, she takes her purse and suit jacket, stopping by the restroom to freshen up. She gives herself a once-over at the waist-length mirror. Her self-inspection halts at the perspiration soaking through the sides of her blouse. She rushes to rub her armpits with a paper towel. A vision of sweat seeping through her thin, light-colored suit jacket concerns her. Just then her eyes land on a mini-vending machine for sanitary pads.

With growing annoyance, she tries to attach the sticky side of the panty liner on the slippery lining of her suit jacket’s armhole. She’ll just clamp her armpits down on the makeshift sweat shields. She heads out to meet with the president.

The meeting begins without a hitch and some people come in to join them. As the meeting continues to go well, Louisa finds herself relaxing and enjoying the group. Toward the end, the tone starts to lighten up. They start getting up, sharing anecdotes, with one trying to be funnier than the other.  Caught up with the others showing off their wit, Louisa thinks of a perfect tale. She makes grand gestures as she tries to impress her audience. Immediately, she realizes her mistake. One panty liner lands on the floor, while the other barely clings on to her skirt. This will be one story everyone will be talking about in the next meeting.

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Oops Brief: Executive Blind Spot

Image: Pixabay

The meeting adjourned and the people started getting up to leave the Boardroom. As Sarah rounded the table, heading toward the door, she saw the CEO, who had just gotten up from the table, walk toward her.

“What do you think of the new way to approach our target market?” The CEO asked as he neared her. Sarah walked back toward the table as he moved in closer, extending his right arm. At first anticipating a handshake, which never appeared, as Sarah drew closer to the CEO she then figured he intended to hug her. Not really knowing what to do and hoping to avoid any personal display of office emotion, she reached out first to deflect his extended arm, wrapping her left arm around the CEO’s waist in the process. Then she lightly patted his back. Suddenly she saw from her peripheral vision that he had been reaching over to push the chair that was near her back under the table. So much for the hug.

Subtly stepping back from the CEO, Sarah enthusiastically voiced her thoughts about the meeting. Then she asked some questions, hoping he would fail to notice, or forget, that she had nearly embraced him. Toward finishing their brief conversation, Sarah reiterated her excitement about the business strategic changes, as she subconsciously weighed the importance of making some changes of her own–like being more aware of her blind spots.

Corporate Handbook

Image: Pixabay

Touch not your fellow co-workers,
Serve well both internal and external stakeholders.

Shred all confidential information,
Lock your computer when going to the john.

Stifle your yawn at meetings,
Imbibe lightly during business gatherings,
Be discreet if you must ask,
“Has anyone seen my flask?”

Maintain a paper-free environment and don’t be dour,
Avoid socializing and merriment until after hours.

Be polite when you ask,
“May I please go home when I finish this task?”

Dealings in the Ceiling

Image by Anna

Charlie thinks he is doing his boss a favor when he mentions the sound of scurrying feet above their paneled ceiling.

“I don’t like that. Reminds me of what Johnson, that guy two doors down from us told me last month. He was eating his lunch and suddenly this monster rodent lands in his soup. He lucked out that his bowl of hot liquid got that disease monger good. Ugh.” His boss shivers and continues, “I want you to put some traps up there now. Go to that hardware store a block from us. They should have something appropriate there.”

“Why can’t Ernie do it? He’s the Facilities guy.” Charlie looks around as if Ernie would appear.

“I’ll give you three reasons why . . . first, he’ll take weeks to get to it . . . he’s always got a more serious problem to deal with. Second, he’s afraid of heights so he won’t climb a ladder. That will add even more weeks because he’s going to have to find help; and third, he’s out sick today, so who knows when he’s coming back.”

Charlie regrets speaking up and catching guff from his boss again. As he walks inside the hardware store, he asks the guy behind the counter for help and buys a few mouse traps.

When Charlie returns to the office, his boss tells him he doesn’t want the details. “Just take care of the problem,” he commands.

Charlie places the ladder right under the area where he’s been hearing the muffled sounds. While holding a plastic bag that contains the traps and other supplies, he climbs the ladder and carefully pokes out a tile from the dropped ceiling. He sets the tile aside, along with his bag, inside the plenum space.  He uses the flashlight on his smart phone to scan the surface. He can’t see anything over a foot from where he is, although the smell reminds him of sweaty socks.

As he reaches to place the traps in different parts of the ceiling, he hears a scuffling. From where he is, the sound seems heavier than the light scrabbling of mice. The hairs on the back of his neck stand out. His breathing is strained. As he prepares to scramble out of the area, he sees a large rat with red-rimmed eyes suddenly appear before him.

Lo and behold, the rat speaks, “Shh. I’m just bunking here for the week so I don’t have to take guff from my boss. You feel me?”

The Custodian

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

The clock strikes five. All the worker bees in Suite 320 suddenly come to life, shutting down their computers, tossing their empty coffee cups. Others lock up their drawers as if afraid somebody might steal their company-issued office supplies.

“Bye, Henry.”

“Have a nice weekend, Linda.”

“TGIF!”

Farewells among colleagues are exchanged; they give and accept their goodbyes like eager squirrels storing away their nuts for winter.

Less than five minutes later, the whole office is cleared. Sounds of rolling wheels break the silence as the little man behind a gray trash barrel comes in. As Head Custodian, he rips up all the computers, along with the desks and pitches them into the bottomless barrel. He has determined this last batch of worker bees does not work hard enough. They will not have a place to work when they return on Monday morning. He wheels away to the next floor to decide on the fate of the group in Suite 420.