Time Out

“Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Tony Fross, Think/New Ideas

* * *


General Motors doesn’t have a “help line” for people who don’t know how to drive, because people don’t buy cars like they buy computers, but imagine if they did . . .

HELPLINE: “General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?”
CUSTOMER: “I got in my car and closed the door, and nothing happened!”
HELPLINE: “Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?”
CUSTOMER: “What’s an ignition?”
HELPLINE: “It’s a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine.”
CUSTOMER: “Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?”
HELPLINE: “General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?”
CUSTOMER: “My car ran fine for a week, and now it won’t goanywhere!”
HELPLINE: “Is the gas tank empty?”
CUSTOMER: “Huh? How do I know!?”
HELPLINE: “There’s a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from ‘E’ to ‘F.’ Where is the needle pointing?”
CUSTOMER: “It’s pointing to ‘E.’ What does that mean?”
HELPLINE: “It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor, and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you.”
CUSTOMER: “What!?” I paid $12,000. for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!”
HELPLINE: “General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?”
CUSTOMER: “Your cars suck!”
HELPLINE: “What’s wrong?”
CUSTOMER: “It crashed, that’s what went wrong!”
HELPLINE: “What were you doing?”
CUSTOMER: “I wanted to run faster, so I pushed the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. It worked for a while, and then it crashed — and now it won’t start!”
HELPLINE: “It’s your responsibility if you misuse the product. What do you expect us to do about it?”
CUSTOMER: “I want you to send me one of the latest version that doesn’t crash anymore!”
HELPLINE: “General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?”
CUSTOMER: “Hi! I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and power door locks.”
HELPLINE: “Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?”
CUSTOMER: “How do I work it?”
HELPLINE: “Do you know how to drive?”
CUSTOMER: “Do I know how to what?”
HELPLINE: “Do you know how to drive?”
CUSTOMER: “I’m not a technical person! I just want to go places in my car!”

* * *


Advancement opportunity
-Lousy job

Entry Level
-Really a lousy job

No experience necessary
-The mother of all lousy jobs

Administrative assistant
-Lousy job with a title

Ground floor opportunity
-Lousy job with a company that will file bankruptcy within a year

Progressive company
– Employees get to wear jeans every other Friday

Team player
-Must deal with dangerously territorial coworkers with rabid personalities

Upbeat personalities
-Must neither threaten us with any kind of lawsuit nor use the drug alcohol rehab benefit within the first year

Word processing skills essential
-There is a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome in your future

Public Relations Receptionist – Professional appearance important
-$20 K a year job that requires a $100K year wardrobe

Pleasant telephone manner
-Be the voice of 1-900-suck

Earn up to $300 per hour
-Be 1-900-suck

Salary range $24K to $32K
-The salary is $24K

Jeans job!
-Minimum wage temporary job in concentration camp office

Will train
-Prior conviction of a felony or two, no problem

BA required, MA preferred
-Must be a MA willing to work for a BA salary

Civil service
-This job was filled from the inside six months ago

Women/minorities encouraged
-White males need not waste a stamp

Outstanding benefits package
-Health insurance

Tons of variety
-We took all of the heinous tasks no one else would do and rolled them into one job

Top notch communication skills

Beautiful offices in attractive locale
-Brand new tacky windowless office where picture frames match the carpet

-Woman only job with the responsibilities of management and the wages of a migrant worker

Executive secretary
-The most powerful position in any company

-You’re looking at a minimum of 80 hours a week until we force you into early retirement

Salary commensurate
-We’ll pay you whatever the hell we feel like

Salary negotiable
-We’ll take the lowest bidder

Competitive salary
-We’ll pay you up to 10% more than your last job — period!

Competitive starting salary
-Ten cents above minimum wage

Pleasant atmosphere
-A staff of pod people

Professional atmosphere
-Zombie pod people

Fun, creative atmosphere
-Pod people from hell

Dynamic atmosphere
-Zombie pod people from hell

Gal Friday
-Anyone who actually applies for this job deserves it

Self starter
-Open to very broad interpretation, since no one really knows what this means

* * *

Quotes taken from UK performance evaluations.

(After working in the UK for 3 years, I can substantiate the British are brutally honest in their performance assessments.)

“Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”

“His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.”

“I would not allow this employee to breed.”

“This associate is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won’t be.”

“Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”

“When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there.”

“He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.”

“This young lady has delusions of adequacy.”

“He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”

“This employee should go far — and the sooner he starts, the better.”

“This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”

* * *

The Master Plan

In the beginning was the Plan. And then came the Assumptions. And the Assumptions were without form. And the Plan was without Substance. And darkness was upon the face of the Workers. And they spoke among themselves, saying, “It is a crock of shit, and it stinks.”

And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and said, “It is a pail of dung, and we can’t live with the smell.”

And the Supervisors went unto their Managers, saying, “It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it.”

And the Managers went unto their Directors, saying, “It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.”

And the Directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another, “It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.”

And the Directors went to the Vice Presidents, saying unto them, “It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”

And the Vice Presidents went to the President, saying unto him, “This new plan will actively promote the growth and vigor of the company with very powerful effects.”

And the President looked upon the Plan and saw that it was good. And the Plan became Policy.

And this is how shit happens.

* * *

True Story:

A guy decided to put up his own web site for his one-person company. He did it himself. A nice, simple, clean design. Nothing fancy. Still, not bad for what he could manage with his meager and extremely limited html skills. Every morning when he’d come to work and access it, he would discover someone had hacked the site the night before and graffitied it. He would then have to spend a good part of his morning having to fix it. After a week of this, he had had quite enough and struck upon a brilliant solution. One night, before leaving the office, he added a caveat to his site: a simple warning to whoever it was who was hacking his site that he now had a virus hidden somewhere in it. The next morning he opened to his site and discovered that, for once, it was clean: perfectly unaltered except the caveat about the virus hidden somewhere in the site had been removed and replaced with the message that now there were two.

* * *
A mother, accompanied by her small daughter, were on Ninth Avenue in New York City. The mother was trying to hail a cab, when her daughter noticed several wildly-dressed women loitering on a nearby street corner. The mother finally hailed her cab and they both climbed in, at which point the daughter asked her mother, “Mummie, what are all those ladies waiting for by that corner?”
The mother replied, “Those ladies are waiting for their husbands to come home from work, Dear.”
The cabbie, upon hearing this exchange, turned to the mother and said, “Ahhhhhhh, C’mon lady! Tell your daughter the truth, fer crying out loud! They’re hookers!”
An angry silence settled on the speeding cab, broken by the daughter asking, “Mummie, what’s a hooker?”
Noticing the gleeful look on the cabbie’s face as he watched her through the rear-view mirror, the Mother realized that if she didn’t explain he would, and she couldn’t have that. So she sighed and delicately explained about the world’s oldest profession.
“But, Mummie, don’t the hookers have any children?”
After glancing at the face in the mirror, the mother replied, “Of course dear. Where do you think cabbies come from?”