These are excerpts from a presentation I gave to my local International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Chapter dinner meeting. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did in the telling...
ALL WORK NO PLAY, ALL PLAY NO WORK
When I told my boss I had started a blog and was naming it Laughing All The Way to Work, he didn’t get it and said, "That doesn’t sound very professional Patricia." So I explained that it was similar to the phrase, laughing all the way to the bank. I told him it was a blog to give tips and to share my experience in the office in the hopes that it would help and encourage others. I felt if we were prepared and equipped to do our jobs, it could seem like we were laughing all the way to work...but I also like to have fun at work too.
MONTY PYTHON: One of my former bosses said at times working with me was like being in a Monty Python movie... My current boss says we get along like a house on fire. With references like these how can I lose?
ASSWORD: I had only been working in my new job for a few weeks. I was sitting at the front desk to relieve the receptionist when my boss walked by and asked what the password was on a site he needed to log into. The password was LRGPassword, but I told him to remember it was case sensitive and started to spell it out for him -- "Capital LRGP and then..." but stopped when I realized what the rest of it spelled. He looked at me with a knowing smile and said “Yes, Patricia, continue...”
ONE WORD CAN CHANGE EVERYTHING: It’s amazing how one word can change the whole meaning of something. I booked one of my former bosses on a flight to Toronto. I printed his e-ticket and had everything prepared for his travel. When I arrived in the office the next day I had an urgent voicemail from him saying, “PATRICIA! Who the hell is Linda and what is her name doing on my ticket?” Linda (our travel agent) was obviously having a bad day. She had put her name down as the passenger and my boss’s name as the agent. No doubt, he had a hard time explaining to the airport authorities that he was indeed the one who was supposed to be on that flight.
This boss also prided himself on being self sufficient and liked to type his own letters. I thought it was wonderful until I read one. He relied totally on Spell Check so you can imagine what typos were missed. He was a lawyer and in this particular letter he was writing to a prospective client. He wrote in one sentence that he had "expensive experience" instead of "extensive" and in another wrote "tits" instead of "its." Good thing I checked... I wonder what kind of service the client would have thought he was offering!
HIGH TECH? Years ago, when I worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), I took a training course on a Telex machine. During a break in the class, I was sitting at my assigned Telex and it started typing. This was such new technology back then and I was surprised that it was typing on its own. I looked down and read, “I AM WATCHING YOU.” Which seemed a little spooky, and then it signed off --“GOD!” I must have had a complete look of astonishment on my face. Then I heard the snickers. I was the only woman in a room full of police officers who had conspired to play a trick on me. Needless to say -- it worked!
I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO WINNIPEG! Again, when I worked at the RCMP, I went on a training course for a machine to do criminal record checks. In those days it wasn’t a computer where you could see a face on the screen, but the information was printed out on paper and if you wanted a photo, it came in the mail a week later. Definitely not like the CSI shows of today. For fun, one of the officers asked me to put my name and birthdate in to see what came up. Well, apparently, there’s a hooker in Winnipeg by the name of Patricia Robb and with the same birthdate! For the rest of the day they kept teasing me, “Are you sure you have never been to Winnipeg?”
LOOK UP, LOOK DOWN: While an EA was talking to the CEO, her skirt slipped down and landed at her feet. Now how would you handle that situation? (I bet they never asked you that question at a job interview). This girl didn’t bat an eyelash and quickly reached down and pulled up her skirt and continued talking to her boss as if nothing had happened. I can imagine what her boss said to his wife that evening, "Honey, you will never believe what happened at the office?"
AIRPORT RESTROOM: My friend was very tired. She had been commuting from Ottawa to Toronto and was on her last flight of the week. At the airport she went to the bathroom, but when she went to wash her hands afterwards, she couldn’t seem to get the sink to work until she realized the problem -- it was a URINAL! She quickly scooted out of the men’s washroom.
SUGGESTION BOX: We had a new woman working in our office and my friend and I were showing her around. My co-worker mentioned that we had an office suggestion box if she ever wanted to put ideas for improvement in it and told her it was in the kitchen. She seemed surprised as she said she had been in the kitchen a few times, but had never seen it. My friend said, “Yes, it’s in the corner by the fridge -- right over the, uh, GARBAGE CAN.” Up to that point neither of us had realized the significance of its location. This of course prompted me to write the following thought of the day on my blog, "The location of your Office Suggestion Box can give you a good idea of how important it is to your organization. If it is located near the garbage can, don't expect your suggestions to be taken too seriously."
OFFICE CONFIDENTIAL: I went to the gym after work on a Friday evening, worked out and went back to the office to get my purse. I always take my gym laundry home on Friday to wash over the weekend so on Monday morning I was madly trying to find them while scrambling to get out the door on time. Did I not bring them home? Where were they? I left for work thinking perhaps I had left them in my gym bag at work. When I walked into the office and got to my desk, there they were -- on my desk with my bra sitting right on top of the bundle. Ugh!
Since I got in at 9 and my boss was in an hour before me, I knew he had probably seen it already so decided to suck it up and just go in and ask him. In between spurts of laughter, he said he hadn't been to my desk yet, but I should go and see Anthony as he had sent him to my desk earlier to drop off a letter. I left his office to the sound of his chuckles behind me. What a start to a Monday morning...
HANGERS ON: One morning while walking from the bus to my office building, I noticed a woman in front of me with a coat hanger hooked to the back of her coat. She obviously didn't realize it was there, but I was wondering to myself how she could have sat on the bus and not noticed. I thought somebody ought to tell her, so I caught up to her and it turned out to be someone from my own office. When I told her she thought I was joking, but to humour me she reached back and with a look of surprise and dismay slowly brought out the metal coat hanger. The look on her face was priceless. Of course I had to tell everyone at the office.
I called someone in another office. Her voicemail said “Hi, I’m not at my desk right now, please leave a message.” She didn’t identify herself and I had no idea if I had dialed the right number because I had never spoken to her before. The woman who sat next to me told me I should have left the message, “Hi, call me back.”
At another office I needed IT assistance so sent an email requesting help. I received an out-of-office message from the IT guy saying that he was in Vegas partying, if he won we wouldn’t hear back from him, if not, he would be in on Monday.
BEAUTY SCHOOL DROP OUT: As many of you know, I was a hairdresser for a few years in the early 90s, but left to return to the office. Here are a few stories from that time.
KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS: When I was in beauty school, I was taught different ways to remove facial hair. I thought I had the best answer when I discovered facial hair bleach. No muss, no fuss and no pain. One day after using it, I was at a children’s club at my Church. A six year old boy was looking over at me curiously and finally blurted out, “Pat, do men have black moustaches and women have white?” Geez!
ADULTS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS: When I was working in a hair salon, if another hairdresser happened to be at the reception desk when a customer came in, they would take their name and say to the hairdresser who had the appointment, "Your Bob is here," or "Your Muriel is here," or whatever name was appropriate. I was cutting someone’s hair, but noticed one of my co-workers going to the counter to greet a customer. I was expecting my next customer so I knew it could be him. After taking his name and asking him to have a seat, my co-worker called out, "Pat, your John is here." -- You could have heard a pin drop as all the customers turned to look at me. When I told my current boss the story, he said, “Good thing his name wasn’t Dick.”
You see, working can be fun. Enjoy your day!