Up the Organization

Feb 3, 2011

Dear Dave,

After six years of working in the same mind-numbing hell-hole of a job, I’m moving on. That’s right, I’m taking a new position with an up-and-coming company out in the suburbs.

This place is like one of those companies you read about in the Wall Street Journal; they have showers for the employees (I just hope those security cameras are waterproof!), a basketball hoop in the parking lot, and a big bowl of Toostsie Rolls in the reception area (no one counts how many you take, evidently, but they do ask that you be considerate of others).

Sound like heaven? That’s exactly what I thought, but what’s even better is the fact that I’m crawling out of this virtual Shawshank completely unaided, under my own power. The grunts I’ve worked with all these years have no clue as to how they’ve made me suffer, what with their low-brow sense of humor and their gross insensitivity to my tweedy intellect. Think I’m going to miss hearing these cachucamundos review the latest YouTube fart videos every Monday morning in the break room?

Think again, mister!

It’s been a long, painful slog (Those interviews! The rental suits alone cost me a small fortune and they chafe!), but there’s light at the end of the tunnel now… at least I think it’s light.

But this missive isn’t about sour grapes, actually. What I’m worried about is how to handle myself in corporate. The company I’m going to work for is v-e-r-y elite—after all, they make the world’s finest elder-care products—and I’m a little daunted by the culture. After years of laboring away in Little Dogpatch, I’m afraid I might embarrass myself in my new position.

Can you give me a quick rundown on proper corporate etiquette?


Hoping to Remain Anonymous for at Least Most of My Probationary Period

Dear Steve,

I’d be happy to help out. After all, we don’t want to see another one of those situations like you had in the New Hampshire Junior Rangers, do we? Talk about misreading your audience! Ever see so many attorneys in your life? Amazing.

Lets start with socks. You can actually buy them in stores now, so, by all means, change them at least once every fiscal year. The suits love stuff like personal hygiene (go figure), and you’ll earn big points by spending a little more time in this area.

Your friends. As much as you’d love giving them a tour of your groovy new office (Watch your head! That pipe is super-hot!), it would be a huge mistake letting them within sniffing distance of your new employer. Tell them your office is in a secured area and that they’ll need security passes to come visit (as if anyone would steal trade secrets from the solid-waste vaporization unit, ha!). I suspect, given their records, your friends won’t want anything to do with background checks, fingerprints, and breathalyzers. Lay it on heavy here, this is important.

While it’s nice getting to know people in a new job, and while making small talk around the water-cooler can help establish networks and good working relationships, we’d recommend avoiding all conversation in your case. Especially in your case. We still remember that time you used your best French to compliment a co-worker’s wardrobe. Insecte malodorant remplis poubelle might sound mighty nice on paper, but unless you want to be restricted to your cubicle for three weeks again, stay away from things like words and sentences.

Also, we’re willing to bet that, at your new job, playing “pocket whickets” in meetings will be seriously frowned upon. (We’re still not even sure how you kept score.)

We certainly don’t mean to scare you, though, Steve. We have every confidence you’ll do fine in a corporate setting… Actually, that’s a lie. Truth be told, we’re keeping your office open and we’ve put your clothes hamper back in the men’s room where it belongs.

Oh yeah… and please bring us some Tootsie Rolls when you come back. We love those little buggers, Lord help us.