Archive | January, 2014

Interpreting Your Boss part 2

30 Jan


Before CNY rolls along, let’s take a moment to revisit our favourite bosses and the bullshit they said the past year. Remember kids, bosses don’t mean what they say. Much like Inception, we have to go deeper.

1. Boss says: Let’s get to the bottom of the issue

Boss means: I have no idea what we need to do but I’ll be damned if I didn’t ask you to do something

2. Boss says: We must be ahead of the competition

Boss means: Do some research on whatever shit we are doing, oh but you’re not getting any budget to implement this. I am saying this to mostly make you guys feel bad.

3. Boss says: You must think and act like an entrepreneur.

Boss means: You know, even though you’re supposed to work from 9-6, you really should work longer than that. You need to surrender your personal time to the company at no extra compensation so that you can become a decent employee.

4. Boss says: Give me a plan and I will give you a budget.

Boss means: Give me a plan that costs money and I will drill a new hole into you.

5. Boss says: Even though you are not a specialist in xx field, I still expect you to think like a specialist.

Boss means: We aren’t going to give you any training for what you are doing, and if you can’t produce what I want, you are an unfit worker.

And that’s all I have before Chinese New Years! To summarize,

You must think and act like an entrepreneur. Even though you are not a specialist, I still expect you to think like a specialist. Just give me a plan and I will give you a budget. Remember, we must be ahead of the competition, so let’s get to the bottom of the issue.

Happy CNY!


Money Not Optional

29 Jan



Interviewer: So why do you want to work for us?

You: Well… education has always been my passion.

Interviewer: Could you elaborate?

You: It’s a passion in the sense that it pays my bills.

Why do we work? It’s so that we don’t have to live under the bridge. Perhaps it’s not exactly this superficial, but you aren’t going to deny that you are working for money. Because if we could, we would sleep much more than we do now.

You work and you toil, and you produce the results your boss wants, or at least you do something that your boss wants. Your boss tells you a million well-dones and good-jobs for your labour. You feel good about yourself.

Finally, the year-end financial results get posted, or not posted in the case of private enterprises. Everyone gets excited and starts throwing the anticipated bonus figures in the office. Everyone gets a laugh and nothing gets done because we are too hyped up to calm down. Hey, it’s money we’re talking about here, so cut us some slack.

Amidst our excitement, the HR suddenly comes by and drops the nuke on us,

Don’t look forward to a bonus. There won’t be any this year.

BOOM. A flash of light comes across our eyes before we were all wiped out by the blast. The resulting explosion formed a mushroom cloud that could be seen from the back of the office.

As the dust settled, our brains finally rebooted and someone asked what everyone else was thinking,

Are you kidding me!?

I wish I was.

That was the lifeless reply. Then it hit us dead in the head. We knew deep down what we had to do then. Nobody said a word, and promptly returned to their seats. The fallout has begun.



It’s not that we don’t care about what happens to the company, but we would like some recognition for our hard work over the past year. A little extra isn’t going to kill, and at least we know we have something to look forward to. But, the damage has been done.

Spin’em Words

28 Jan


Today we venture into the darker arts of language. As I was saying yesterday, sugarcoating your words is one of the best things you can do at the office.

Blasphemy! You scream. You should always tell things as they are!

A good point there, you have. But why settle a good point when you can have an excellent point by reinforcing the theme with a positive element? It’s the difference between calling someone a well-rounded professional and a so-and-so who knows a bit of everything. Which one would you rather be?

As a guy, when you are trying to woo a lady, you gotta use the words that she likes to hear. I have heard people say some amazing stuff, and by amazing, I mean pretty damn stupid. Here’s an example.

Girl: Do I look fat in this pair of jeans?

Man: I think you need a size up.

Needless to say, there was no happy ending to this. Many faces were palmed in unison.

It’s the same deal when you talk to your boss. You don’t want to flirt with your boss or anything, because that’s just plain annoying to the others. But, you do want to make sure s/he doesn’t hate your guts.

I know, your boss might be a cheap ass who insists on making you stay behind on Friday evening, or makes a habit of standing at the office entrance at 5:55pm, but you still want to show that you don’t hate their living existence. So, when they ask you for a personal opinion on them, you may not want to say

You are the cheapest life-sucking bitch I have ever seen, you are the bane of all that is good, you are why the flowers don’t bloom, and the sole reason people are running from this godforsaken place. Go jump off a building.

That may be your true feelings, but let’s try the following,

You have given me so many opportunities for all these additional duties. You definitely have a keen eye for talent and I feel very excited for all the work I am doing, and I am very happy for the advancement here. I thank you for your tutelage. Those who don’t understand are certainly missing out. I’d make you a saint posthumously if I could.

You might actually want to leave out posthumously to hide your intentions, and try to keep a non-sarcastic face when saying it. You can turn an acidic spray of hate into a flowery cannon of sarcasm if you play your cards right. Here’s something you might like though – if you want to leave on time with her standing at the door, try this.

I must engage in market research that must be conducted outside of office, and prepare notes for a report that is in progress. This will allow us to acquire field knowledge and thus equipping ourselves against competition.

How to Interpret your Boss

27 Jan


Ever wonder what the flipping heck your boss is trying to say to you? What is this Inception shit they are trying to spout? Let’s find out, shall we?

1. What bosses say: I need this by tomorrow morning.

What bosses meanGive this to me by 5 so I can pretend to look at this overnight and give you some bullshit feedback tomorrow.

2. What bosses say: Be creative.

What bosses meanI can’t think of anything good, so do something. But make sure your idea meets my subjective needs! Oh what do I need? Oh I don’t know… be creative!

3. What bosses say: You must be in tune with our company culture.

What bosses meanDo your fucking work and stop complaining, grunt.

4. What bosses say: blah blah blah… so what do you think?

What bosses mean: Be a good sport, and agree with me, but make it sound like you got an opinion.

5. What bosses say: I don’t care what you have to do, just get it done!

What bosses mean I have no idea what’s going on, so you had better give me an answer! And no, “no” is not an answer. Don’t even think about claiming expenses for this.

There you have it. What bosses say. If you can think of anymore, post it in Facebook or WP comments and I will post your contributions on the next “How to Interpret your Boss”!

As a good underling, we must always remember to sugarcoat everything. Every boss enjoys being revered by their grunts, one way or another. Rub them the right way, and you will be the office queen.

Lunch Ritual

24 Jan



You walk into the office, have breakfast, read the paper, watch a video or two, check your emails, selectively reply, and check your watch. Suddenly, lunch time approaches! After a productive morning, you are ready to chow down again. But wait! Have you decided on a restaurant?

The one beside the office building? Nah, had that yesterday.

The one across? The food sucks.

OK, how about Vietnamese or Thai? Not really in the mood for that today.

Japanese? Too expensive

The place with the awesome set lunches? We had that three times this week already!

And now you are stuck in a dilemma. Someone will be unhappy regardless of the choice. You have gone to all the places in within walking distance and it’s all becoming stale. What do you do?

Find new ones? That takes time you don’t have!

Order in? You really wanna be stuck in the office all day long?

Not eat? Is this even an option?

We used to have this problem until my brilliant colleagues came up with a simple but ingenious solution. We ask for divine guidance. If you have been to Chinese temples, you would’ve seen people kneeling on the ground shaking a bamboo canister full of bamboo blades. If you wait long enough, you will eventually see a blade fall out of the canister. That, my friends, is how we seek divine guidance from the gods. This is how lunch destinations are settled in our office.

Instead of using bamboo blades and canister, you can use a simple mug with sticks of rolled up paper in them. Preferably a dry mug, and one you won’t be drinking from. Write your lunch destinations on the roll of paper and dip that side into the mug. You will want to have more than a couple of destinations to make this more fun.

Now start shaking the mug with the long side about parallel to the ground (so the sticks will actually fall out). The first stick that falls out will be your destination. Now here is the best part – no one is allowed to contest the result! It’s divine guidance! If you get the same restaurant three days in a row, too bad! If you gotta have McD’s on Friday, then hey, the gods will it. That’s what makes the game fun.

So next time, if you find the office unable to reach a decision for lunch, ask for divine intervention. It works.

Going Home

23 Jan



Got your attention, didn’t I?

The notion of going home hit my mind so many times, so today is definitely not the first, nor will it be the last. Just telling you guys though, Canada will always be home.

It’s been 5 years since I went to Hong Kong, but you bet your ass I still remember ALL the roads. I still know how to get to my friends’ houses, FMP, Yorkdale, Woodbine Beach, Port Perry, etc etc. Give me an address, and I can go there.

My driver’s license expires this year. Let’s see what happens.

Lunch Money parte deux

22 Jan



Everyday I am crudely reminded that money is nearly everything. Money can’t buy happiness, money can’t buy love, money can’t buy friendship. For everything else, there’s Mastercard (and cash). Every penny counts.

Don’t be such a scooge! You accuse with a shaking fist in the air.

Hey, you know as well as I do, you gotta have money to put food on the table. When the Monarchy takes our money away, heads will roll. Kings have fallen because his people starved. Never underestimate the power of angry peasants. The peasants will be even angrier if the Monarch fails to repay the loans of the citizens.

Of course, today’s case in point comes from yesterday’s story. To recap, Cathy lent QB $160 and only got half of it back. That was over a month ago.

This story did eventually reach a happy(ish) ending, but not without tall hurdles. A frustrated Cathy eventually wrote the amount in her monthly expense claims. Our nice colleague in accounting took it up to QB, and asked her nicely to pay Cathy back. It could have been so simple, but with most things here, it never is that simple.

QB [surprised]: I don’t have money. All I have are big bills. (1000s)

Accounting Girl [stares in QB’s wallet]: you have a hundred dollar bill

QB [frowns]: Well I need that.

AG: But she needs her $80.

QB [frown intensifies]: Well I need that cuz taxi drivers don’t take big bills!

AG [frustrated]: But she needs her money!

QB [haughtily]: Fine! Give her that hundred! I didn’t need it anyways!

I could almost see red in QB’s eyes. Her power level was rising way too quickly. It may or may not have been over 9000. Accounting Girl, unfazed, carried on her quest.

AG: I will break that 100 for you then.

QB [angry]: Forget it! Just give it to her! I am generous.

AG: … I am sure I have change in the petty cash box.

QB: … [unintelligible]

What a confrontation. All along that time I could feel the heat in that room raising. The aura of the battle spread far to the far reaches of the office. I had the privilege to listen in to the conversation because her door is open and I sit close to her office. I guess that’s the only perk I have at my seat. Accounting Girl, I salute you for bravely getting back what is rightfully Cathy’s.

There you have it! My colleague only got her money back thanks to AG’s courageous intervention. AG, if you are ever reading this, you have my utmost respect.