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Random Scenes from An Office



One of our loyal stooges recently earned rented and food money by putting in time at an unremarkable office. Here are some of the random brainstorms that trickled out during their tenure in the bleak, harrowing world of cubicles. They assure us that all scenes are fictional.


-whenever I adjust my tie, I imagine that I’ve just done some james bond level shit, having either broken the neck of a guy sent to kill me, stolen the plans of a secret weapon, or just banged some ridiculously hot woman who is the lover of the man I’m eventually going to throw out of a helicopter


-I’ve spent more time with my broken zipper than writing here this afternoon


-The difficulty with any project is not necessarily the desired outcome but the changing operational conditions.


-a work from home outsourcing agency: ‘Without Pants’


-small but surprisingly tough guy showing up a big computer guy. ‘can you write code with nine fingers?’ (breaks a finger) ‘how about eight?’ (breaks another)



An underlining shows his boss an idea that he thinks is good, but the boss ignores it. Later, in a meeting with the bosses’ boss, the underlining brings up the idea and the bosses’ boss likes it. After the meeting, the boss is livid:

Boss- you don’t fuck me like that, you understand? You do that again and you’re fucking gone.

Underling- if you couldn’t recognize that’s a good idea, then you’re the one who’s going to be gone soon. And since you’re only threatening to fire me, it means you’ve lost your edge.



-all our pictures of money are too big.


-our email server won’t allow for pictures bigger than 200 kilobytes.

-I’m sure there are smaller sized pictures of money we can find online.

-why can’t we just shrink the size of the pictures?

-they mean memory size, not physical size. And we can’t take pictures from online. They aren’t cleared. We can only use pictures from the database of approved ones on our network.

-why’s that?

-is it what I’ve been told. It has to be from stuff someone has apparently approved for copyright reasons.

-and the images of money we are allowed to use are all bigger than 200KB.


-that’s insane.

-we can just compress the files, but that-


-we can shrink the memory size of the files, but-

-well hell, let’s just do that and use the right photo.

-it’ll be a lesser quality version of the picture. Is bossman okay with that?



-a requested email edit from my superiors has placed two not-very-long sentences that each have the title of the company back-to-back. The repetition seems slightly awkward. I am unsure as to whether I should keep it as is, since that is what is written, or take a bit of initiative and turn one of them into a pronoun. Fuck it. This is the first step to being more assertive. (actually, really being assertive is telling the superiors that this new edit is sub-par because it takes too long to actually mention the company at all)


-want to understand what I do? Read the ‘business intelligence’ article on Wikipedia. My job is to make those blue hyperlink terms sound snappy and worth looking into to make your company save money. Also: a guy I’m preparing a brochure for doesn’t like the word ‘reports’. Find something else.


-work banter! Gotta get the lingo down, or you become a small talk pariah. I’ve been here a little over a month and have already done a full on cubicle switch (computer transferred over, emptying of the drawers) with one of my co-workers (X). Another co-worker looking on said, as X went through what is now my desk to remove the rest of his office supplies, ‘watch out, he’s robbing you’. I replied, ‘I’ve already gone through the drawers and kept the good stuff.’ Mild, almost polite chuckles ensued, but then, that’s work banter par excellence. You aren’t expected to be funny. You’re just expected to not be creepy and weird. It’s the dullest social lubricant. Necessity with a hint of world-weary cynicism about the office world.


-I saw a guy fired today. Right in front of me. It just happened, right out of the blue. You know it happens, but you never really think about it much until ‘bam!’. For so long there’s a guy sitting right over there, slowly typing his way through the day, padding his schedule and playing a bunch of solitaire, and then, just like that, he’s gone. And you realize, ‘that could happen to me’. Some powerful force in a more expensive suit can just walk up to me and say, ‘no. Your third quarter output does not meet management’s reconfigured standards.’


-after two guys in suits have an epic fight, the victors wipes any blood or dirt off himself with the loser’s tie




-Scene: a company’s top salesman in a meeting with potential customers:

‘And to close my presentation, ladies and gentlemen, let me just say that if you do not purchase our software today, I am going to kill myself right here.’ (he calmly pulls out a gun and places it on the table (at other meetings he pulls out a bottle of wine and sleeping pills). He is willing to haggle, but then promises to wound himself if they lowball).


-‘hello John. Hey, just before we get started, I’ve determined, quite independent from any comment or feedback by your co-workers, that you’re a royal shit.’


-the best time to work in human resources would be on ‘dress like a pirate’ day. H-aRRRRR!!!!!


-regarding sales: ‘okay, I’ll be willing to switch to your product for a trial period to see if it’s better than the one I’m currently using, but if it’s not, I get to break your legs. Deal?’



- Regarding Sales Training from the Rapid Learning Institute: advertising philosophy/strategy/psychology is possibly the most vile, insidious intellectual development of the twentieth century that masquerades itself as ‘just business’, as an innocuous and harmless part of capitalism. But what it actually does is cripple the psychological mindset of the client/customer, making it more difficult to tell the difference between need and want, reality and illusion, and essential and superfluous. (could be worded better, and it’s obviously better than certain political ideas that involve wiping out other races and cultures)


-hatchet man sounds too planned out. He’s really just a dick.


-‘I think he would smile as his children were murdered in front of him if he was told it would be good for business to look positive’



a young forgettable underling is finally at his big meeting. The highest ranking guy there is quite the asshole. Obviously about to chew out the middle men, the young underling is tersely asked to leave. The young man assents, but before he does, he takes out a sealed but thick envelope from his folder and hands to the asshole, telling him to open it when he gets back to his desk. The underling nods pleasantly to the middlemen he knows, then leaves the meeting room, then leaves the office building, never to return. The asshole chews out the middlemen, goes back to his desk and without much thought opens the envelope. He spends the next five weeks desperately trying to find the underlings, who never returns to work, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. What was in the envelope?



while being yelled at in a meeting, the yellee calmly stands up and begins to walk out. The yeller yells: “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?! I’m talking to you!” Reply from the yellee: “No you’re not. You’re just exercising. You’re giving your lungs, vocal chords, and pent up anger a work out. Give me a call once you move on to your cool down stage, and then we can actually talk like adults.”


-telling an executive who is chewing you out: ‘hey, I got this job the same way everyone on my floor got their job: by fucking your wife.’


-co-worker conversation: two guys are saying how much music they download illegally, then complain that there aren’t any good record shops around anymore


-sometimes I forget the process of busy work, the creation of what might not be useful but is still the point of my existence at this company; my supporting and interaction with certain departments and certain goals (even obliquely, and including nothing more than ‘spending the budget’).

-if everything is slightly marketing, then everything is slightly poisoned with intent.

-mission statement: don’t go bankrupt/company vision: not going bankrupt

-if you spend more than two minutes on a mission statement or company vision or list of values, you’re deadweight. At least read an article or magazine related to your field (learn more!) if you’ve got nothing to do.

-office work! Making conclusions so broad they’re practically useless. Actually, this is the realization that you aren’t doing anything that valuable. It’s like that Far Side cartoon with a cow in a pasture angrily realizing: ‘hey, we’ve been eating grass! They have us eating grass!’ Of course, it’s important that from time to time you forget that the busy work is just busy work, so you actually try with all your heart to get it done, and done right, and on time.

-youthful employee to older, powerful employee in a meeting with a lot of people: ‘that’s a stupid idea. I know you’re the executive and I’m the junior nothing, but that doesn’t make the idea any less stupid. And maybe you got to where you are because you were smart in the past, but now you’re stupid. And maybe what I’m saying is going to get me fired, but I’m going to use your stupidity as inspiration for me to build a bigger and better company, and run it right over you. Which is going to be easier a couple years down the road, because by the way things are going, you’re going to be even stupider then.

‘do I look stupid?’

‘not really, but appearances can be deceiving.’


-‘think business. Or die poor.’

-instead of stress-ball, certain offices offer a stress-bong

-your job may suck in an extremely meaningless way (as opposed to a difficult job that is extremely meaningful and essential to the functioning of society, such as soldier, doctor in warzone, garbage man), but simply being employed provides an essential service to the community. One, you’re actually off the street or out of the house and not simply sucking up resources. In the most basic sense of the term, you’re working. Two, your salary – and your spending of it, from the basic like food, shelter and clothing, to anything beyond that – keeps the worldwide economy pumping.

-Underling to boss: ‘don’t be ashamed of your shitbag-iness. You’re a high powered executive. Being a shitbag is practically a job requirement. You care more about success on your terms than the thoughts and feelings of the people around you. I’m not saying you don’t care about people. You just care about some other things more. And it’s extremely hard to do that without having shitbag qualities. Don’t get too hung up over it. Someone has to do it.’



Boss: ‘can you do this? Can you juggle all your tasks? Do we need to bring in a juggling expert to teach you?’

Underling response 1: ‘Hey, as long as I have time to rush off during lunch to fuck your mother, I’ll be fine’

Underling response 2: ’I’ve been able to juggle work with fucking your wife and your mother, so one more thing isn’t going to be very hard. Just like your dick, I’m told.’



executive to new employee: ‘sorry, I don’t know your name.’ new employee: ‘that’s okay, I don’t care what yours is.’


-voluntary recall notice: “HappyEarth’s organic infant cereal causes babies to explode. Please return for a full refund (with receipt only) if you wish your baby’s insides to remain contained within its skin.”

-(throws a pen at a co-worker) ‘you’re an important part of this team!’


-increase time! Lower problems! Hurrah business!


-‘so what’ says the cubicle, ‘you were here and now you’re gone I’m used to this it’s the circle of life I’m not even alive in the same sense you are you’re just giving me these qualities to make the changes seem slightly more meaningful even as you claim you want this whole endeavor to be brief and almost completely meaningless.’ 


-apparently ‘leasing of intangible assets’ is a primary industry


-the subconscious awareness of the master/slave relationship consistently transcends the modern business relationship between all employees



A guy gets fired for making up statistics and falsifying reports. At the firing meeting: Guy: Man, this is the worse birthday ever.

Boss: Really? It’s your birthday?

Guy: No. that was just a reflex.



A: Do you suffer from mush-brain?

B: No.

A: Of course you do, one of the main symptoms of mush-brain is denial.

B: I really don’t think I have-

A: Self-doubt is also a clear sign.



-when firing someone in their twenties, the guy or gal response to the bosses, ‘what am I supposed to tell my grandkids?’


-business criticism: you are both under-message today


-in business lingo, metrics is the new paradigm


-when Bob laughs, someone else probably feels bad about themselves




-doing everything that is asked of you breeds contempt in your superior’s heart. They think, ‘don’t they have the spine to tell me to fuck off?’


-is this semantics?/no, I’m right


An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, but how many of us deserve to see in the first place?