Printwear

October '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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112 | Printwear O ctO b e r 20 1 4 Last Laugh by Dan Danbom Dan Danbom is a former speech writer and communication manager whose freelance work has been published worldwide. His book reviews for a number of publications have motivated thousands to give up reading. Nonetheless, he continues to write and is also a principal at Danbom & Sons Books, an online bookstore headquartered in Denver. | | | | O ffice workers are becoming increasingly testy about their co-workers' behavior. A recent survey showed that 89 percent of office workers consider incivility to be a workplace problem. Ninety-nine percent, however, say that they are personally civil, which underscores our worldwide lead in self-delusion. Part of this sense of "you need fixing" is attributable to today's high-stress work environment, which contributes to testiness and bubbles up like some sort of emotional lava. Part of it is because workers are asked to work more closely together in increasingly com- pact offices and cubicles. In a more serene time, you could go into an actual office, close the door, and engage in annoying behavior without fear of offending others. Now, anything you do is subject to ob- servation. In one office, a worker's co-workers complained to management that he talked on the telephone while clipping his fingernails. While the offending employee simply thought he was "multi-tasking," his co-workers believed that fingernail trimming was best done in the privacy of the restroom or in someone else's place of work, namely a manicurist's. As a life-long fingernail trim- mer, I find the attitude of the complainers to be intolerant. So long as flying fingernails don't cause any eye injuries or are allowed to accumulate in unsightly "out" boxes, then I say that fingernail trimmers ought to be left in peace. I can't say the same for of- fice workers who, for what- ever reason, don't wash their clothes, or, for that matter, themselves. Apparently, this is a big problem in some offic- es because advice columnists have addressed it. Their solu- tion is to install air fresheners in the cubicle of the person who is stink-enhanced. I once worked with a graphic artist who seemingly lathered his body with past-expiration-date carp. He'd walk by and leave a waft of aroma that said, "This is what people smelled like in the 11 th century." Attempts to engage him in conversations about improved personal hygiene (i.e., "Wow, that new body-wash stuff is awesome. Want some?) went nowhere. So one of his office mates put a bar of soap in his mail slot. Offended, he went to human resources where they launched an investigation to find the person or persons unknown who created a hostile work environment for their bathing-averse colleague. Rumor had it that he later had the soap for lunch. On the other end of the spectrum are the people in the office who apply perfume or cologne with paint rollers. Never are these fragrances ones that you find pleasant. In- stead, they are invariably cloying, industri- al-strength concoctions that can cause you to have an irregular heartbeat. The worst of- fenders are the guys who put on too much of a cologne named "Studly" or "Lo- thario" or "Hai Karate" and then in- sist on shaking your hand, thus trans- ferring the offending odor to you and challenging you to find a way to get rid of it. (Soaking in medium-grade gasoline works for me.) Or the woman who has doused herself in "Enchante" or "Pre-Day Nights" and then wants to hug you, and for the next two weeks, your spouse looks at you suspiciously. Of course, there's more to offensive office behavior than personal hygiene. Refrigerators invite all manners of mis- chief, including leaving cottage cheese for so long that it's mistaken for broc- coli. Refrigerators also invite larceny, as a certain sub-species of co-workers seemingly cannot help themselves from eating others' lunches. If this happens to you, one thing you might try is to make a sandwich with bread, meat, cheese, and a thick coat of cattle laxative, and then leave it in the refrigerator and wait for the fun to begin. In a short couple of hours, you'll know who stole your lunch be- cause they'll be monopolizing the restroom. May want to have some spray Hai Karate on hand if that happens. i'm Okay, You Smell Bad pw

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