Friday, January 06, 2006

Office Shenanigans

I'm a positive person. I like to create a humorous, light environment wherever I go. Work is no different. Now don't get me wrong -- I know there's a time and a place for fucking around, but I don't think it's a huge crime to have a good time at work.

In Japan, it's generally the opposite. Work is work. It's not for fun. It's where you work. I read a quote by Ichiro Suzuki, the baseball player. He said something along the lines of, "I don't have fun during games. Baseball is work. Fun is for afterwards."

I guess that's one way to live your life.

While I do not work in a corporate setting, I'm very much in an office setting. Chained to a desk, if you will. The fact that my job is not for monetary profit makes the shenanigan level increase exponentially, because no one loses money if we take it easy for a couple days. As long as our work is done, no one really cares.

At my job, my workload is pretty much determined by how much the Japanese people "under" me are working. Since they've been gone for the last 2 weeks, I really have nothing to do. So right now, the Japanese employees here are working diligently, sprinting up and down the hallway (they like doing that, it looks very "hard working"), and generally making a huge display of busting their humps, while I spin around in my chair, dance around my office, text my friends on my cell phone, surf my daily blog list, and walk around talking to people.

Anyway, for a new person entering an office environment, a huge piece of advice I would give them would be this: CHECK YOUR DISTRIBUTION LIST. Always look at who is on the "To:" part of your office emails. I'm sure all offices have weird shit floating around their email server, and people are left off the To: list for a reason. This is especially applicable here, because while most of the Japanese people I work with are ultra-serious about their jobs, there are some more relaxed ones too. If their bosses knew they were having a good time at work or interacting with the Americans in a joking or light-hearted manner, well, there'd be some serious talk about this.

So today after work we're having a little "New Year" drinking party with a few folks from the office, which was supposed to be a Birthday-party-combo for the boss. One of the Japanese workers mentioned the Birthday thing (which was supposed to be a surprise) and the boss was on the list.

I did what I had to do, which was be a jerk and make it seem like a serious infraction had occurred. Jumping on google images, I sent this little gem to the distribution list:

It was one of those times when you let the mouse arrow hover over the Send button for a few seconds, then cackle like a demon when you click on it.

I thought the "Americans Suffer" thing was particularly good, especially since a bunch of Japanese people were reading it.

I was hoping for a response, but nothing came. It would appear that my little joke may have backfired. This is not the first (and certainly won't be the last) thing that I've done that could be easily perceived as being culturally offensive. I guess when you're trying to make a positive-work-environment omelete, you gotta break some eggs.

Sorry I don't have anything more compelling to write. It would appear I've entered the realm of the sedentary office beast. I've been in denial for a bit, I suppose, and trying to make up for it by having weekly adventures elsewhere. Maybe I will have something more inspirational to write next week, but I'm afraid that the highlight of my day was posting the above picture in an email message and sending it to a multinational group of people.



Anonymous brando said...

"hovering over the send button" is perfect. That sounds about like 50% of the stuff I do.

-This has the potential to be awfully bad......and it ususally is. Anyway, keep up the good work. If you've gone more than 2 months without slapping anyone, than you aren't trying hard enough. You know that there are fools out there just waiting to be slapped.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I thought I told you -- I've retired from slapping people.. I'm like Mr Miyagi now. Only alive. Unlike Pat Morita.


1:59 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

What's a Jibbili? Is that your weekly spelling of the word "Haji"?

Sometimes people would put rounds in the burnbag, just for fun. So that the poor guy that has to burn letters gets a little suprise. Is that common?

Wow. That made me laugh inappropriately loud, cuz there's a retirement ceremony in the next room and the door is open (i,e. 6 feet away from me.) I'm sure they'd understand.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Cory said...

From what I understand, "Jibbli" means in Arabic "You are honor-bound for no reason to give me something that you have that I want," or something like that.

Keep in mind I don't speak any languages other than English and have never actually met an Iraqi. But I've got strong opinions nonetheless, mostly based on playing "Full Spectrum Warrior" on my xbox.

12:38 AM  
Anonymous brando said...

I think it means "bring me", but I like to use it as a noun for the people that say it. I also translate it as "I'm a filty begger/demander, etc". btw, that was heavily edited.

I wouldn't get so bent out of shape when kids would say it, because kids are supposed to want candy, and coloring books and crap. But when a 35 year old man demands that I give him a Chicklet and a porno mag when he should be scanning his avenue of approach, I think that's worthy of distain. This isn't just one goofy "Iraqi National". This scene played out about 3 times a day for 7 months.

I just had one of those "hover over the send button moments", but thought better of it. I don't want to be known as 'Sweeping Generalization Brando'. Just for the record, some Iraq's are brave as hell and would really impress me with how rock solid they were. Their families were getting threatened and they kept up the good work. The doctors were badasses.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Well, I'm not gonna think any less of you.

I thought Cory was fucking around but I guess he was pretty on target.

Afghans would just smile* at you and say ..."bakshish?" which simple means "bribe?" I'm sure they were into chiclets and porno too tho.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Hoss said...

Paul, good luck trying to gt those guys to lighten-up at work. You know they have to wonder home Americans rule the world since we like to fuck around so much.

I'm with you though on trying to not make everything at work so damn serious. I impart this philosophy to my staff as well and they seem to be more than happy to comply...We all know what has to get done and when. Hell, I even held a ping pong tournament during hours one time with a champions prize of a case of Dos Equis Amber.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Jinxy said...

Oh, that is rich.

Too funny.

You'll probably be fired for it next week.

We all know how the Japs can be about cultural sensitivity.

Speaking of which, I watched this movie called, "Fear And Trembling" and it was awful.

It's about a Belgian girl who encounters the big differences between the Occidental and Oriental mindsets while working for a corporation in Tokyo.

You seen it?

You might like it if nothing else than to correct the Japanese in it.


7:13 AM  

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