Message To Staff: “No Yawning”

October 11, 2007

We are currently at what is hopefully the tail end of a bogong moth invasion here in Sydney. There are (seemingly) billions of the little buggers in the city at the moment, lost on their way to their annual vacation in the Snowy Mountains.

Luckily they are more annoying than dangerous and don’t bite, sting or eat your clothes.

The kind management at ACP magazines has, nevertheless, issued a warning to their staff to ‘refrain from yawning’ lest the moths mistake their gobs for a mountain tunnel and fly in for some hibernation action! I’m not sure who that makes the bigger fools – the management for giving the advice, or their staff for needing it! I’m going to be charitable and assume the former.

What’s next I wonder?

‘Would all staff members please be aware of excessive blinking. Closing your eyes for too long may result in being hit by a truck.’
‘When licking your lips, be careful your tongue doesn’t accidentally come into contact with an electrical socket.’
‘Dear staff, please don’t smear your body with honey and jump into beehives.’

What do you think: health and safety gone mad? Or an office prank?

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Don’t Let Me See That

October 3, 2007

Whilst I was shopping for TVs the other day I saw something that at first was mildly amusing but then got me thinking.

I was in … let’s call the store ‘Hardly Normal’ .. when there was a bit of a commotion near the checkout. Two members of staff had got into a shouting match. It wasn’t clear what the fuss was about – I think one guy had interrupted another when he was with some customers. They were still shouting at each other when I left.

It did make an interesting sideshow, and the small crowd that formed near them appeared to agree.

On reflection though, I really didn’t want to see it.

If your company is dysfunctional, don’t let me see it. If your order processing and back office systems are crap, don’t let me see it. If your accounts department finds it hard to deal with your service department .. you get the idea. We may have to contend with annoying co-workers, crappy systems and inflexible processes but I don’t really care how hard you’re paddling under the water: please make it look serene on the surface (and then fix your other issues of course!).

On a related note I once saw a genuinely interesting (and scary) workplace incident in Thailand, when two kitchen workers decide to fight it out. One of them grabbed a knife from the sink. Luckily she (it was two women) was stopped before it got too out of hand.

Not sure why, but the restaurant burst out into spontaneous applause. Now that’s entertainment!