Archive for September, 2008|Monthly archive page

The rules

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 30, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Here are some of the rules I follow to help me cope at Dunder Mifflin.

1. As I mentioned yesterday, never go to the break room while Michael is away from his desk. The chances of getting cornered in a conversation you don’t want to be a part of increase infinitely if you can’t revert to your phone or the pile of work on your desk to escape it. Sure, Michael could get up after you get up, but every little precaution helps.

2. Don’t take a day off when Michael is out of the office or on vacation. It’s like wasting your off days. Days in the office without Michael are the second best thing to vacation days. So plan accordingly so you can experience as many Michael-free days as possible.

3. When going to the print station, take the long way around. The shorter way takes you right past Michael’s open office door, infinitely increasing the chances he will call you over to show you something funny he found online (which you will not find funny) or ask you if you’ve finished something you couldn’t have possibly have had enough time to finish yet.

4. Never start telling a story while Michael is within earshot. He will force himself into it whether or not he has anything to add. Every once in a while, his presence is relevant. Most of the time, he just makes things uncomfortable or changes the subject to something the people who originated the conversation aren’t interested in.

5. Never leave early on Fridays. Not 20 minutes. Not five minutes. Not even if every paper purchaser in the country is out of the office for the day and the electricity is out in the building and you find out your apartment just burned down. Dwight will find you. And he will make you pay…with a lot of drama.

6. Don’t contradict Michael’s professors. It doesn’t matter if most of them are probably dead and that your professors taught you different rules based on a changing business environment. HIS professors will always be right. Even if everyone else in the industry is laughing at us.

7. Don’t take personal calls at your desk. Oh, we’re allowed to take personal calls. But Michael will make reference to details in your phone conversation in the future. “So you’re going to Scranton Park this weekend?” “So your husband isn’t feeling well, huh?” Things that you won’t say to anyone and could only be known through eavesdropping on your call. Of course eavesdropping is hard to avoid, but that doesn’t make it any less creepy when people try to elbow their way into your private life.

8. NEVER bring treats in when Michael is out of the office.

9. On the other hand, never bring treats while Michael is in the office either. He will not be able to stop talking about it for the rest of the day and will see it as the ultimate form of camaraderie.

10. Always do the parts of your job that involve Michael first. Yes other tasks might be more important or more pressing. But your week will run much smoother without him asking every hour “Do you have this done yet? Do you have this done yet?” Get all Michael-oriented tasks done Monday and Tuesday and spend the rest of the week doing the parts of your job he has no idea even exist. It’s the only way to keep your sanity.

11. Always keep a pair of headphones and headache medicine at your desk.

What rules have you created to help cope at your office?

Escape from the breakroom

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Oh my GOD! You didn't watch "Dancing with the Stars" last night? Were you ill? Did someone die?

I broke one of my rules last week.

And I paid for it.

Never, never, never go the the breakroom unless Michael is in his office. If Michael is on the prowl, any sign that you are not busy with work (like getting a cup of coffee) is an invitation for disaster. And the breakroom is small and easy to get trapped in.

Silly me.

Michael had been away from his desk for about 20 minutes. I didn’t know where he was and was dying for my morning tea.

By the time I realized what I had walked into, it was too late.

Michael and Kelly were talking animatedly in the breakroom about the one thing they have in common: their love for reality TV.

“Well it’s a shame because they do all that work and one couple won’t even get to perform their dance!” Kelly said.

“Yeah?” Michael asked.

Dancing with the Stars. Ahh the fall season has begun. I ducked low and slipped between them to where the hot water dispenser was. Michael LOVED to torture me with gobs of details about TV shows I don’t watch, that he KNOWS I don’t watch. I have nothing against the shows, but come on, I don’t bore him with details about Lost or (ironically) The Office, neither of which HE cares about.

Maybe since he had a friend to talk about this show with, he would leave me alone.

Kelly kept chattering about details from the show. Michael leaned over to me as I opened a bag of tea.

“The ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season premiere was last night,” Michael said just inches from my face.

“Mmmmmmmmm,” I said moving more swiftly and skipping my beloved sugar.

“SHE doesn’t watch it,” Michael said to Kelly shooting his thumb in my direction.

Thanks Michael.

“Oh my gosh, but it’s SO entertaining,” Kelly said.

“Oh I believe you,” I told her walking toward the door, which she was halfway blocking.

“And THIS season, Cloris Leachman is on the show, and oh wow what a cute little thing she is,” Kelly squealed. “I HOPE she makes it!”

I started waving my hands in protest and slid past her out the door.

“She’s running for her life!” Kelly giggled.

“And it wasn’t even ME this time!” Michael chortled with glee.

Yes Michael. You were so innocent in the situation. Hooray! You got to see me squirm! I’m glad I made your day.

I vowed to never never never break my rules again.

Tomorrow, I share with you some of my other rules.

Safe keeping

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm
What paperwork? And why do you have that look on your face?

What paperwork? And why do you have that look on your face?

Michael cannot keep track of anything to save himself. So if it’s important, he’ll often give it to me to look after.

“I need you to keep track of this paperwork for me,” he told me last week. He told me he’d need to fill it out later in the week, so to keep it in a safe place.

“Will do,” I said. Tucking it safely in my filing cabinet.

He talked to me about what he had to do with them and how he was going to do it. I remember thinking he probably could have just done it in the time it took to tell me that story.

Cut to four days later.

Dwight approaches my desk.

“Do you have that paperwork done yet?” he asks.

“What paperwork?”

“That paperwork that Michael gave you a few days ago.”

“What this?!” I ask pulling the “safe-keeping” papers out. “He never told me I had to fill them out. He just told me to keep track of them for him.”

“Well I need them,” Dwight said.

“I don’t even know how Michael wants them done,” I said scanning them over.

Dwight started explaining to me how Michael normally does them.

“No no, I’ll just talk to Michael about it,” I said, waving him away.

Dwight kept explaining.

“No I’ll talk to Michael. He told me he was going to do this.”

“Well someone has to do it,” Dwight said shooting me an annoyed look.


I walk into Michael’s office waving the papers.

“Michael did you need these papers back so you could fill them out for Dwight?”

Michael looks at me with disappointed eyes and says with a sad voice, “Oh, you don’t want to do them.”

“Don’t want to do them?!” I said exasperated. “You never told me to do them!”

“Okay, Okay,” Michael says. “I’ll take care of them for you then.”

For me?!?!?! FOR ME?!?!

“All you said was I had to keep them safe! I would have done them earlier in the week when I had time if I had known.”

But the more flustered I got, the more Michael stared at me with concerned eyes.

“Don’t worry about it, Pam. I’ll take care of it,” he said with a valiant expression. As if he’d just rescued my cat out of a tree.

How HOW did Michael become the hero of that story?

I’ll be home in a few

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm

What time will you be home?! 6:15??! No I didn't think so... yes 5:15 is more like it.

So Michael likes to play a little game called “how many hours can I pretend I’m at the office without being at the office.”

Here’s a hint: he always wins.

He established a thing called “front loading.” He says he front loads his hours to the most important part of the week, working one extra hour every day and then leaving at noon on Friday. So, he says, he works the same amount of hours, but but he works until 6 instead of 5 during the days we are busiest.

None of the rest of us do this because our jobs require a more consistent work flow throughout the week. Or we have kids and can’t work late. Or any other number of reasons. Plus, it’s kind of nice not having Michael around Friday afternoon.

But we started to notice something. When someone would forget something and have to come back into the office, Michael wouldn’t be there.

One night Jim told me he got caught up in a conversation with Andy in the parking lot and caught Michael — unaware that anyone was still there — leaving.

Stanley said he came back to the office at 5:30 because he forgot to send an important file one night and as he was sitting at his desk he got an e-mail from Michael that went out to the whole staff about something totally unimportant … and Michael was nowhere to be seen. We figured the e-mail was his evidence to us that, yes, he’s at the office late. even though now we know he’s probably sending these from home.

Now it’s gone even further. I will hear him on the phone with Jan just before 5 o’clock telling her he’ll see her in a few minutes, or that he’ll be leaving in another 10 to 15 minutes.

We all are infuriated by this and have each come on the edge of confronting him about it…

But god we like those Friday afternoons without him around.

Number 3

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 24, 2008 at 6:58 am
Hmm what about Jim? No, too cool. How about Creed? Nah he'd lead a rebellion.

Hmm what about Jim? No, too cool. How about Creed? Nah he'd lead a rebellion.

An over heard conversation from Michael’s office.

Dwight: You know Michael, I was thinking with me being out of town yesterday and you taking some time off soon, we need to decide who is our number 3 if we’re ever gone at the same time.
Michael: Our what?
Dwight: Who will be in charge is something happens while both of us are out of the office?!

They dropped into hushed whispers so I missed the rest of this gem of a conversation. But I quickly relayed what I had heard to Jim and Stanley.
“Oh no! What would we do?!” I asked.
We all agreed. Nothing would change if they both missed a day except that the chance of something going wrong would decrease exponentially and we’d get out of work on time. Oh the horror.


“Michael was here”

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 18, 2008 at 2:41 am

Whenever I leave my desk, Michael sees this as an opportunity to enter my work space. Besides my lunch break, I am at my desk for all but maybe 15 minutes to go to the breakroom or the bathroom.

But my goodness if he doesn’t take advantage of those 15 minutes.

When I return I often see him leaving my desk. Or there will be papers on my chair and he will be gone in the time it took me to get a cup of coffee.

Usually the papers are work related. He hates talking to me about work I have to do. He’d much rather give me a blow by blow of the golf game *yawn* he played on Saturday than explain to me details of an assignment he wants me to take on.

Call me … actually, don’t

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 17, 2008 at 2:59 am

Kelly asked Michael and Stanley for their cell phone numbers. They are both leaving for a paper convention in a couple weeks and she wanted to be able to get in touch with them if there were any problems.

“Isn’t it cool how women want our cell phone numbers?” Michael says to Stanley while Kelly is waiting for him to finish writing down his number.

Stanley glared at him.

“Well I’m a single guy, so it’s cool for me,” Michael said.

Kelly laughed nervously.

The final countdown

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 16, 2008 at 2:43 am

The sales people were on deadline, putting together a booklet of stats and sales figures for the year. Dwight was heading up the project and had decided he needed to have the final OK on all information submitted to the report.

“Do we have something we can replace these charts with?” Dwight demanded in the final hour before the deadline.

“No,” Michael said, annoyed.

“Well then we have a problem because I refuse to run these charts without a source for the numbers.”

“Well who put together the charts?” Michael asked.

“The intern did before he left,” Dwight said, butchering the intern’s name when he tried to pronounce it.

“Well he didn’t make the numbers up. It’s fine. He had documentation.”

“Well Oscar misplaced the original numbers, and we really need to find something to replace the information with.”

Dwight began his quest turning over every rock searching for either the original documents or new statistics he could add to the report. These charts had been part of the report for two weeks and Dwight decides that now, as we’re gearing up to go home, is the appropriate time to bring up his concerns.

And things were looking so good. Looks like another late night at Dunder Mifflin.

Human Resources

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 15, 2008 at 2:18 am

So at my office, we don’t have an on-site human resources employee. We have to contact our assigned rep at the corporate offices.

So I’ve been leaving messages and e-mails for Toby for a couple months and wondering why I wasn’t hearing anything back from him.

I asked Angela if she happened to know what was going on.

“Oh, yeah, Toby left the company and they haven’t replaced him yet. And no one bothered to tell us.”

She explained she only found out by accident … though I noted to myself she didn’t bother sharing this information once she obtained it. She said I’d need to contact the head of HR to see what to do.

So I started spreading this news to others in the office.

I approached Michael who was talking at Stanley’s desk.

“Hey guys. I just found out Toby left the company and no one told us.”

Michael laughed and grinned a bit.

“What?” Stanley asked.

“Yeah,” I continued, “I had been sending him e-mails for a couple months and never heard back from him and just found out it was because he quit.”

“Well it’s funny you didn’t get one of those response things to your e-mails,” Michael said.

“Yeah,” I agreed, knowing he meant an automatic reply one can set up on their e-mail account.

Michael felt he needed to explain. “You know, like the one we set up for you …”

“Yup I know what you mean, Michael.” I interjected.

“…when you changed e-mails after you got married.”

“Yup. Exactly.” I said.

“… Or, you know, like if someone goes on vacation and they want to…”

“Michael! I know what you mean!” I said a little too forcefully.

“Well, yeah, I’m just surprised you didn’t get one of those,” Michael said, a little bruised.

Why do I find it so hard to talk to this guy?

Karen and the almost lost vacation

In Entertainment, Humor, Television, The Office, Work on September 12, 2008 at 3:19 am

As soon as he heard the news, Dwight rushed into Michael’s office.

“How could you let Karen take a week of vacation next month?” Dwight demanded.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Michael asked motioning for Dwight to calm down.

“Because that’s the same week as our annual paper convention in Michigan!”

“But we don’t need Karen to go. We already decided we’d be sending you, Creed and Jim.”

“Which meeeeans we will be short-staffed here at the office.”

“Dwight, it will be fine. She doesn’t work with any of your clients and there will be plenty of other people here if a problems arises.”

“I don’t know about this Michael. It doesn’t seem right.”

“It’s fine.”

Dwight glared at Michael, feeling defeated. “Fine. But for the record, I don’t like this.”

He marched to Karen’s desk.

“OK Filipelli, I’ll allow it … but I don’t like it.”

“Uhhh thanks?” Karen said looking confused.