Thursday, July 24, 2014

Always Make More Coffee

Rule #1 in Corporate America: Never get caught not making coffee.

If the people you work with find out that you're the jackwagon responsible for not making a fresh pot of coffee, they will get all Liam Neeson in Taken on you; they will find you, and they will kill you. And it won't be a quick death. It will be the kind of death where you die as a result of dehydration from all of the crying you're doing because the co-workers you thought were nice have strapped you down and are pulling your nose hair, toenails and fingernails off of your body one by one.


I've done all kinds of stupid things in my work life. I've deleted critical files that couldn't be recovered, made the occasional bad decision that has probably cost a fair amount of money to fix, said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and a host of other things. But not once have I felt that anyone was more upset with me than the time that a little old woman I worked with caught me shaking the coffee pot to realize it was empty and then starting to walk out without starting a new pot. I felt like I was in something similar to the opposite of a Snickers commercials with Betty White. I thought this nice, little old grandmotherly lady was going to morph into Shredder, summon the Foot Clan and take me out. She barked "Make another pot" as I was walking out. It wasn't a yell, but it was very raw and had what can only be called "old person authority" behind it; it's one of those things that you just blindly respect when you hear it. Needless to say, I turned around and put on another pot; I wasn't happy about being called out, but I did it. I do remember thinking that she was so old that she probably needed the caffeine to keep her angry heart going. Ultimately, I had no relationship with that woman prior to that. We saw each other in the hallway, and every time our eyes met I could see her remembering that I was the jerk who wasn't going to put on another pot of coffee -- a moment that served as the entire context of our sour corporate relationship. Everyone else at that workplace at least appeared to move on from the various other things I'd done to make their lives miserable, but I don't think that lady ever got past me not making another pot of coffee.

All that being said, I think about that lady and the importance of not being the person who gets caught not making coffee when I see the following note above the coffee pot at the place where I work now. It's a warning that getting caught walking out on an empty pot of coffee is a stigma that will stick with you in the workplace (from www.passiveaggressivenotes.com):


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