Things About the Workplace I Don’t Wanna Understand

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

This is what they teach in the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

But (as I mentioned in a recent post), there are certain things that are so inherently screwed up and so WRONG…that I just CAN’T bring myself to understand them.

Nor do I WANT TO.

Especially, when it comes to the work place.

(Disclaimer:  I mean, ANY workplace in general: not necessarily mine, no sirree, Bob!)  😉

So without any further ado, here’s Friar’s list of:



– Rectal Managers who hold four-hour meetings, right through lunch without so much as a coffee or pee break.   And expect everyone to do the same. (Ah…How nice.  Another graduate from the Marquis de Sade School of Leadership!)

– The No-Lifers who work late every day, bring work home on evenings and weekends, but don’t claim any overtime or extra time off.  Even when it’s in the Collective Agreement and they’re rightfully entitled to do so. (For Chris-sakes…give us your overtime pay!  We’ll put it to good use!)

– The Betty Brown-Nosers who deliberately skip meals to meet a minor deadline.   Then proudly announce in a meeting that they’ve barely eaten in 24 hours, because they were working so hard.  (Excuse me…WHOSE FAULT is THAT? )

– Those Touchy-Feely-Group-Hug Team-building “Courses” you get sent on, where they make you play “Interactive” games like solving jig-saw puzzles with sign language, and running relay races with Koosh-Balls.  (Umm….what GRADE are we in?)

The Walking Brain-Dead who really “get into” these above-mentioned games.  (A mind is a terrible thing to waste…)

– Company Borg who ENJOY communicating in Corporate Thought-Speak acronyms. (Sigh.  Yet another one assimilated by The Collective.)

– The Money-Bag Pensioners who haven’t had enough work after 30 years, so they return as consultants at $100 an hour. (Thanks a lot…THIS is why there’s no money left to give the rest of us decent pay raises, or hire new staff!)

– Why some bosses think it’s okay to openly scold a staff member in front of their peers, to the point of almost making them cry. (Just WHERE did you learn your leadership skills, again…?)

– The same bosses who get upset and take it personally, when the person they repeatedly scolded transfers to another department. (Well, DUH.)

– Fake-Green Companies that lecture you on recycling, reducing waste, car-pooling and saving the planet, but will not permit any telecommuting.

– Big Brother Wannabees who actually wear those company-propaganda laminated plastic cards that are supposed to be hung around the neck like dog tags. (Sit, Ubu, sit.  Good dog!)

– Workaholic Insomniacs who routinely answer emails at 3:30 AM.  (I’m sorry, whether they’re just finishing their workday, or starting a new one, it doesn’t matter.  That’s just SO WRONG!)

– “Safety” consultants who feel the need to teach us Life Skills 101.  Like reminding us to wear a hat and mittens when it’s cold outside.  Or how to wash our hands.  Or to eat sensibly over Christmas.  (Again:  Umm…what GRADE are we in?)

– Don’t forget the Soup Martyrs and Standing-Room Only’s.

– Obsessive supervisors who badger a subordinate to put in extra hours.   At the boss’s house.   On a long weekend.  (Get a life. Seriously…GET A LIFE!)

– …and any subordinate who is HAPPY to do this!  (Oh, no, another candidate for the Management Chip-Implant Device!)


….Nope.   I DON’T UNDERSTAND any of these things.  None of them make ANY SENSE to me.

(And I’m PROUD of that!!)

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35 Comments on “Things About the Workplace I Don’t Wanna Understand”

  1. Writer Dad Says:

    Friar, I feel like driving to Canada to give you a high five for saying, “Sit Ubu, sit. Good dog!”

    Every time I try that, I only get blank stares. Sigh.

    Good times.

  2. Brett Legree Says:

    Hey Friar, I didn’t see you taking a picture of me today… where’d you get that?

  3. Friar Says:

    @Writer Dad

    Heh heh. I wondered if anyone would get the Ubu reference! 🙂

    Oh, I tapped into the spy camera in your office!

  4. Deep Friar,
    YOU SIMLY CRACK ME UP. and I can so see how you were in trouble a lot as a kid, and why this blog says you are usually in trouble. How does your wife tolerate your misbehavings? 🙂

  5. Karen JL Says:

    @ Harmony/Goldenzen – Wife? WIFE? Oh, God don’t get him started…

    @ Friar – And of *course* I get the ‘Sit Ubu sit.’ reference. Cause I’m old too. *sigh* Nice touch tho. 🙂

    As far as the post goes…you have my pity. Really you do.

  6. Kelly Says:

    Friar/Writer Dad,

    I will *never* forget Ubu. It scares me.


    The Marquis de Sade School of Leadership! LOL! Best best for me is the (work) emails at any hour. This year my kids’ teachers said blah blah, they prefer to communicate by email, blah blah, they check it at bedtime and when they get up in the morning, blah blah when they get a thought they like to send it to us…

    Okay, folks. This is a job you are supposed to *leave behind* at 4:30. The rest of us are supposed to be jealous of you. NO WAY do I want your random thought at 11:30, and I definitely do not want you thinking that I’m going to write back. If your thought is important, call me or write me a note to send home with my kid, whom you see EVERY DAY. Any thought can wait a few hours.

    So, I told her teachers I don’t have email.

    At her new school I’m “that poor technophobe who doesn’t want to jump into the modern world.”


    (The really funny part is that while other parents are letting teachers rule them with mass emails, not *one* thought from any teacher has turned out to be important enough to rate either a note or a call. I knew that.)



  7. Friar Says:


    I’ve worked in some pretty high-stress hazardous areas before. Sometimes on very rare occasion a phone call at 3:30 AM is warranted. If (and only if): Is it a MAJOR SAFETY concern and someone could potentially DIE? Is it something that needs to be fixed NOW and will cost tens of thousands of dollars if we wait till morning? Do people’s JOBS depend on this…will anyone get FIRED between now ant 8:30 AM?

    Invariably, the answer is 99.9999% “NO”. Meaning, GET A LIFE, and stop emailing people at 3:30 AM.

    I’ve met teachers who don’t have a life either. What’s SO damned important that you have to contact parents at home?

    (“Please have little Roger and Susan bring extra pink construction paper to class tomorrow”) ….?

    OOOhh.. Better label that “Urgent”, that one! 😉

  8. Friar Says:


    Wife? WIFE….???

    WHAT wife? (Don’t get me started) 😀

    Yep, you me and Writer Dad are revealing our age with Ubu.

    (But you don’t need to feel bad for me…like I said in my disclaimer, this could be ANY workplace. This doesn’t necessarily reflect where I presently work. No sir. Nuh-UH. Of course not. 😉

  9. Steph Says:

    Friar: I found myself sinking lower and lower on my chair reading this, crushed by the weight of recognition and truth of it, despair hitting me like the hammer in your cartoon as I realized I was actively seeking to actually descend back into that situation in looking for a job right now. Against my gut, against my will, against all that is good and dreaming and hopeful and free in me.

    Ugh. This calls for a visit to Which by the way, has a blog. With some very funny new demotivators on it. Here’s one you can hang in the halls at the Widget Factory:

    TRADITION: Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid.

    I’ll be emailing you and Brett something shortly. A guy writes about his “promotion” in the very same voices you guys use…(Colin emailed it to me or I would send you all the link…)

  10. Friar Says:


    AHAHAHAH! I love those posters! (I actually printed a few out on a small 8 x 11″ sheet, and stuck them on the wall in my office…nobody noticed!) 🙂

    Don’t feel too discouraged…this list shows the Worst of the Worst. Not ALL companies are like this.

    (Actually I worked at a really great place 10 years ago….the only problem is that it paid crappy!).

    Sigh. It’s so hard to find that balance of good pay, good people and good job. Seems there is always one out of the three that’s F*cked up, which ruins the other two.

    If you ever do find that perfect balance, just LATCH ONTO that job, and DON’T LET GO!!!

  11. Steph Says:

    I think I’ll find that only working for myself! 🙂

  12. Fake Green Company! AGHHHHHH!!!!!
    My husband works for a *green* company that he commutes over an hour EACH way when he can do his entire job most every day from our home office.
    Don’t get me started.

  13. Friar Says:


    Does your husbands company also make Widgets, by any chance? 🙂

  14. Evelyn Lim Says:

    With such vivid and accurate descriptions like these, you must know them from the people around you!! Poor thing!

  15. Friar Says:


    I think any large company (over 500 people) has at least of each of these chartacters.

    I think it’s part of their Corporate Mandate! 🙂

  16. Amy Derby Says:

    Friar, this is TOO funny. Oh my god, I’m dying over here.

    I say “sit, ubu, sit” all the friggen time. Then people look at me like “Huh? Are you on crack again?” and I have to go through the whole “Don’t you remember when at the end of the movie they’d be like ‘sit ubu sit. good dog’?” and they’ll be like “What movie?” and I’ll be like “Nevermind. Stop looking at me like I have three heads. Just sit the f-ck down.”

    But I must admit; I’m guilty of being a workaholic insomniac. 😦

  17. Karen JL Says:

    @ Amy – Was it at the end of movies too? I only remember it from Family Ties.

  18. Friar Says:

    @Amy and Karen

    Yeah…I only remember it on Family Ties.

    I find this Ubu nostalgia hilarious.

    I could have probably just written “Sit Ubu sit” on this post, and left it at that. 🙂

  19. I enjoy working extra hours. But I get paid for it. The only way I would do something for free is if it was a favor that would be repaid.

  20. Friar Says:



    I dont’ mind working extra for Uncle Big Brother if I can i) take more time off at a later date or ii) I’m paid extra $$$$.

    But to do it for FREE…..when the company’s WILLING to compensate you…well, that, I just DON’T UNDERSTAND.

    Martyrs. Some people just like to be martyrs.

    (What’s dangerous, is these martyrs set a bad precedent, and eventually, the rest of us will be expected to live up to those standards).

  21. Beth Says:

    Friar, you should be proud you don’t understand them.

  22. Friar Says:


    If I ever start to understand people like this, it’s time to put me out to pasture (or check me into the loony bin!) 🙂

  23. Friar,

    They buy widget making companies and take them over and add them to their widget collection. His company is in over 140 countries and eating up the world I think. Who knows, maybe they will eat your widget company next!

  24. Friar Says:


    Just that the attitude of your hubby’s “green” company sounds a lot a certain Widget Factory I know.

    They talk the talk but dont’ walk the walk.

  25. “Why some bosses think it’s okay to openly scold a staff member in front of their peers, to the point of almost making them cry.”

    I have seen this live and in living color. Years ago, I worked for a company where this was common behavior for one of the managers. The funny thing is that except for scolding workers in meetings and expecting reeeeaaallly long hours from his team, he was a pretty cool guy. Which just goes to show, not all people are cut out for management and in some cases, a position like that brings out the worst in people.

  26. Friar Says:


    Oh, I hear ya. I’ve seen “normal” people, who you respect and like working with, suddenly SNAP once they become managers. They start pulling stunts like this and reveal their true colors.

    Years ago, I had a manager who openly chewed out an admin assistant in front of the team. She was almost ready to cry. It was embarrassing (for him) because everyone knew she was right, he was wrong.

    She was never the same after that…her enthusiasm was gone, and within a few months, she had transferred to another group.

    Heh. The same exact thing happened to ME, a few months later. I got chewed out, and I left.

    With the exact same boss.

    Some people never learn, eh? 😀

  27. Amy Derby Says:

    Hm, now I’m wondering, maybe “sit ubu sit” wasn’t on at the end of movies and that’s why folks look at me like that. LOL I know it was on at the end of Spin City. And yeah, Family ties. I can’t remember what else.

  28. Friar Says:


    I brought up “Ubu” at the family dinner table and everyone “got it”. (We were all 38 and older).

    The younger whipper-snappers might not get it though. 🙂

  29. Ed Says:

    My factory has some “managers” like you described. They put on a great show of total dedication for the factory. Yet the people working for them seem to do poorly. There is one particular manager that I’ve had the misfortune of working for, that has greatly hurt my career. Yet the last two mega-projects he has led have both crashed with people like me having to scramble to find replacement work withing the factory. The first time I ended up in a low level job that couldn’t hold me back when I secured an outside assignment. That assignment was my career re-starter that got me an immediate promotion. The second time his project crashed and burned, he redeployed me in another low level job. Fortunately, this position left me free to apply for another position. And this one again resulted in a promotion for me. This manager repeatedly tried to put me down, yet other managers in the factory thought me worthy of promotions. I suspect this problem manager will again lead another project at the factory and it again will crash. I will try much harder this next time to avoid again being on his team. Why, if this manager thinks so little of me, does he always seem to suck me into his team? BTW, I sought out and got additional outside assignments that would have been great for me while I was on that last doomed project, but he would not free me up so I could take them. My new assignment has me working with Branch and Division managers as my peers so I’m getting to know them well. I’m happy to find that none of them are like the problem manager above, so there is hope for the factory.

  30. Friar Says:


    Huh. Sounds typical. Managers who treat employees like crap, but then hold them back because they don’t’ want them to leave.

    If your “factory” is something like mine, it wouldn’t surprise me if they PROMOTED your old boss! 😉

  31. Kirstie Says:

    I completely agree!

    Brad Montgomery, humorist and motivational speaker, is hosting a “Humor in the Workplace” Blog Carnival. Would you consider this for submission? If so, please click here:

    Thank you!

  32. Friar Says:


    Hey, that’s a good link. Thanks…I’ll check into it! (I have lots of posts, acutally on Office Humor)

  33. […] On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Three angry workers, one office prank and a contract for Christmas parties. (one, two, three) […]

  34. […] Thanks (and apologies) to DeepFriar and Havi Brooks for unwittingly planting the seeds of this post in my mind.  Go read their posts; […]

  35. […] Thanks (and apologies) to DeepFriar and Havi Brooks for unwittingly planting the seeds of this post in my mind.  Go read their posts; […]

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