5.19.2005

Counting the straws






Office stress management system


Today I devised a particularly liberating and demonstrative program to combat the legions of lost reports and fluorescent migraines.

All jobs involve a certain amount of stress, particularly the enjoyable ones as there is more emotional investment. My plan is most suited to the office/cubical, but I’m certain it could be adapted to any workplace.

It is built upon the supposition that the longer one works at a job, the more late hours and effort, the more photos, private reference books and other personal detritus build up in your little corner of the maze. Minimalists and neat freaks need not apply.

In any movie dealing with a job loss through firing or resignation, there is the requisite “putting all the personal stuff, one thing at a time, into a box” scene. By system is based on this. The more crap that gets spilled on you, the more blame shifted, and the more asses kissed you get closer and closer to just walking out the door. These theatrical moments are somewhat diluted when you have to come in the next day to box up your Muscle Men figures and baby pictures.

Here is what I propose:
Any time your have a significantly stressful event—the boss loses a five hour project or a coworker spreads the rumor that you are dating a 12 year old—instead of swearing or stabbing the bastard in the face, simply take a personal item home with you that day, size of item based on size of event. Big event: take home that big Employee of the Decade trophy. Little event: ceremoniously throw away that “Hang in there!” kitten poster.


As good things happen, or at least a significant period of time passes before another bad thing, items will once again accumulate and you stay in your job. If your workplace ever reaches the point it is as clean as the first day you arrived, the job isn’t worth the stress you are putting up with. Coworkers and employers, without you vocalizing your plans, will quickly realize what is going on and, hopefully, work to make your job less horrendous. If they make it worse, then, once again, that isn’t a healthy environment.

I believe that people feel too chained to their jobs, to dependent on constant health care and fat paychecks. They give you money and benefits; in exchange they get 40+ hours a week and your best efforts. They get nothing more, not your happiness, not the right to make your
opinions, not the right to determine your social life. Loyalty is a choice, and often required where it should be earned.


This allows you to metaphorically remove the doubts and reservations that might be keeping you shackled to a bad job, at the same time as making your possible departure easier and cleaner.

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