Better Read Than Dead

A few years ago at work, we were required to participate in High Performance Training. It took a few afternoons a week of our time for several months (perhaps we were the remedial group) and there was a general sense of discomfort among my team over the whole process. I disliked it for different reasons which I'll perhaps get into later.

Apart from doing all sorts of team exercises and activities designed to pull us apart and put us back together, there were some interesting things we learned. We were able to identify and streamline processes that had previously seemed cumbersome but had 'always been done this way'. An example of how this occurs might work along these lines: You think you have a secret technique for cooking the best roasts and it's been handed down through your family. Cut the roast in half and cook it in two separate pans, it works every time and makes the most delicious roasts. You do this because that's the way Grandma always did it and your Mom always did it and they were excellent cooks. Then you ask one day how Grandma discovered her little secret and you find out she cut the roasts in half because she didn't own a large enough roasting pan.

For years there was a red bin near our fax machine at work and the staff member in charge of retrieving, sorting and delivering them put up a paper notice saying Please leave faxes in order and in the red bin. At some point, the bin was changed to an orange one and there was a new staff person assigned to the fax area. The paper notice got replaced with a nice new one that said Please leave faxes in order and in the red bin. It took a long time for someone to scratch out the word red and replace it with orange. This week, I noticed someone had scratched out orange and replaced it with hue of pumpkin.

I'm looking forward to seeing a new sign and how far back or forward we'll travel over this.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you'd like the waste some time here.

Mob said...

So when you say 'someone', do you mean 'Dale', you tail wagging merry prankster you?

Cup said...

What about a hint o' melon? It's such a springtime paper.

lulu said...

Oh Lord, I've wasted about 20 minutes on the website pinkyfluffyslippers suggested. Inspired!

Johnny Yen said...

Precision is always a good thing at the workplace.

I worked at a restaurant in the late eighties that had a drug problem so bad that management posted a sign:

"Drug sales are not allowed on the premises."

Oh. My. God. I just checked out the site pinkfluffyslippers suggested-- I got to the one about the filter on the dryer-- remember my evil roommate story? I actually had to post a similar sign-- which he of course ignored.

Jenny Jenny Flannery said...

I love to streamline processes.

Moderator said...

Do you work in a paint factory?

BeckEye said...

I liked pinkfluffyslippers' link too. The milk carton on the fridge door is priceless!

I wonder why they changed from a red to an orange bin? Does it have something to do with homeland security?

Tanya Espanya said...

And Dale, did you ever write about the "It's not customary" lady at your work?

And Pink Fluffy Slippers...why? Why did you leave that link so that I can spend the next few hours looking at all those notes?! Ohmygod, they're too much! (but thanks for sharing, too!) :)

Coaster Punchman said...

Oh my God, I have another post coming because of this.

Just kidding.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Very nice. One can only wonder where the colour-correcting avenger will strike next.

chelene said...

I always love your office stories, Dale. Everyone sounds so insane. You should set up a webcam.

Elizabeth McQuern said...


Joe said...

"High Performance Training"???

As if everyone in your office is about to compete in a triathlon, or some type of deranged corporate eco-challenge adventure race...I love that. It seems so...ambitious.

Is your performance higher now?

Writeprocrastinator said...

But where are you to put the red pumpkins, Linus?

X. Dell said...

Funny. You would have thought that people would have changed things simply out of boredom, rather than keeping up a cumbersome procedure. Does corporate life really stifle creativity that much?

Anonymous said...

I want to know who first cut the fax machine in half and roasted it in two separate pans. How little is the office you work in, anyway?


Dale said...

Looks like we all have taken a fair bit of time at that site Pink Fluffy. Thank you!

In this case Mob, no although I may now participate because hue of pumpkin isn't what the bin says to me. I'm working on a new colour for it.

Good suggestion Beth although the paper's plain old white. If they change the bin, I do hope it's hint o' melon though, there just aren't enough of those.

It was hilarious wasn't it Lulu?

That was a roommate from hell Johnny Yen and the sign in the restaurant? Wow! Ridiculous huh? PFS' site was hilarious fo sho.

I read that on a bathroom wall about you Flannery Alden but wasn't sure if I should believe it.

If only Grant. I work in a big dumb office, actually, the bin is probably the most colourful thing there, except of course me.

Hey Tanya, I haven't but maybe I will at some point. I haven't seen her around, maybe she's off retching somewhere although that manager is still there.

I resisted the urge to do teachers from hell recently if only to give you a break CP!

I'll have my eyes open Barbara, I'm surprised that someone if my office was clever enough to notice the change in colour of the bin at all although of course I did and just smirked at the original sign.

They're a pretty interesting group sometimes Chelene but only in a I can't believe I have to work with these people kind of way.

Yes Bella Rossa, very!

Who said there was anything wrong with my performance Bubs? What have you heard? The HPT was just to let us plow through a lot of bureaucratic processes, streamline (a la Flannery Alden) and save the company money while lining the pockets of the person who sold them the program. I'd already told them filling out 2 forms to get 1 thing done was crazy.

I've got an idea that involves Charlie Brown and his kicking foot WP.

It can I suppose X. Dell and it really depends on the management. The person at the wheel right now likes to exert power over little things which we just sort of laugh at.

It's a big office filled with big meatheads Holly. I'll tell you all about it in June. :-)

Saviour Onassis said...

How's this for a random, all-too-late comment:

I love the Smashing Pumpkins!

Seriously, though, color blindness is a horrible affliction, affecting about 21 million men and a couple of chicks, in the United States alone. It's a disability, like being crippled or blonde. A little sensitivity to those affected would be appreciated.

Can you fax this for me?

Dale said...

It's never too late Saviour. I will fax that immediately to everyone I can. I'm a little colour blind myself actually. But I love the Pumpkins too.

Old Lady said...

That's because all the adult, college educated, high fallooting, twerps at work think it is beneath their freaking dignity to freaking put the freaking paper in the stoopid box. They would rather irritate the miserable schmo that HAS to maintain the fax by reading all the faxes in the tray and then leaving them laying about like so many dead corpses after the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

No let's just forget any and all manners and consideration regarding community areas. Drink the last cup of joe and for heaven's sake don't make another pot!!!! Jam the copier and leave it with paper fusing and smoldering in it. Gee it only costs several Thousand dollars TO LEASE!!! Then we must absolutely must make copies with wet white out. Genius at work.

And lastly, machines LOVE to be slammed around and broken. Repair techs love to come out and replace expensive parts to the multi-thousand dollars machines and charge 120 per hour labor.

Issues like that Dale? Don't get me started on working efficiently. I can't wait for you to write more!!!

Dale said...

You work in my office don't you Old Lady? All I'm looking for in the fax bin amid all the stupid business stuff is great travel deals and cheap toner!

Office life, there's nothing else like it, unless you remember playing in the sandbox and fighting over toys.