It is often said that you only get one chance at a first impression. This is even truer in the business world. A hardy handshake can leave an indelible mark on a new client or underline confidence in an old customer. But, often times, greetings in the workplace can put you in an untenable position. Engaging with the wrong person at the wrong time could bring about severe malaise, chronic boredom or even death!
Below, I’ve listed several types that you must avoid greeting at all cost in order to have a productive day at work.
You’re a happy-go-lucky guy. Coffee not needed here — the entire act of waking up invigorates you. You say “Hello” to everyone but you mistakenly say, “How’re you doing today?” to a Cornerer. It’s not your fault, they’re sometimes hard to distinguish from a regular, normal human being. Asking how they are doing invites a Cornerer to drown you in a deluge of things that you just don’t care to talk about nor have the time to listen to. Just start to open your mouth and a Cornerer will jump into a conversation about:
- A tuft of hair growing out of their elbow or some other unseemly place on their body
- How their cat died and the sucky weather is making grieving worse
- How it’s cold/hot/smells/marshy/unsafe in your building
- Roping you into buying Girl Scouts Cookies
If you allow these people to drone on about their lives, you will have lost an average of 3,700 hours a year, according to some estimates. And, if you don’t ask them how they are doing, the Cornerer is sneaky enough to engage you by asking you about the state you are in. And, as soon as you answer, they have you in their web because they know that common courtesy dictates that you must ask how they are doing. Seemingly, there’s no way out…or is there?
The only foolproof way to not engage a Cornerer is to lie. You MUST become really good at lying. It not only helps to avoid a Cornerer but it prepares you for an upper management position. You do this by carefully crafting an alibi. The easiest is claiming that you have a small bladder. You don’t need a doctor’s diagnosis and it’s hard to prove, especially if the Cornerer is of the opposite sex. You must let the Cornerer see you carrying a container of water. Depending on the age of the building that you work in, it is not necessary for you to drink this water! It is merely a prop. As the Cornerer sees you carrying this water around everywhere, you’re offering up the illusion that you drink copious amounts of water. When a Cornerer tries to engage you, you state in a hurried voice, “Sorry, I have to go to the bathroom!” and then scurry away. Practice the hurried voice. If it sounds more pained than hurried, the Cornerer will immediately diagnose you as having kidney stones, which will free them up to rambling on about their experiences. This is a fate worse than death.
The Repeater is someone we’ve all experienced. These people tell you the same story over and over and over again! Unfortunately, these people are usually bosses, so you’re forced to listen to their repetitive crap stories. They will tell you about the car accident they were in while driving through Colorado. Or, was it Kansas. Or, maybe it was Ohio. You don’t know because this car accident is magically traveling to states you’ve never been. You just know that the rest of the story is the same. You may try to outsmart the Repeater by saying, “Oh, yeah! I remember you telling me something about this.” This doesn’t work because their memory CD is skipping on Track #7. You’re stuck listening to the car accident story, which has now happened in Quebec and includes a moose.
The water escape trick doesn’t work here, because a Repeater cannot stop the story once it has begun. So, they will walk you to the bathroom until every syllable has fallen out of their face. There’s only one way to break a Repeater’s repeating: pull out your cell phone and pretend that you have a fake call. As you’re backing away, hold the phone up with your hand over the speaking area and tell the Repeater that you’ve just closed the account for those people at that one place. You don’t need to use names because the Repeater hasn’t stopped talking. For one, if the Repeater is a manager-type, they’ll respect your phone ringing because it shows that you’re important. However, you’ll appreciate this lie working because it means that you are expanding your lying capabilities, which are a benefit if you want a management position. If you overplay your hand, you will get a management position…but under your current manager because you’re such a good a good listener and go-getter. This is a fate worse than death.
INTERNS/FRESH OUT OF COLLEGE EMPLOYEES
It’s okay to say hello to these people. And it’s easy to engage them because they can always be found together, like a pod of dolphins. Conversing with them shows them manners, respect, and how adults interact. But, under no circumstances should you speak to them on a Friday or Monday morning unless you want your feelings hurt. Because these people’s conversations are about three things:
- How much sex they have, have had or about to have
- How much alcohol/drug/gaming they do, have done or are about do
- Shopping for new clothes, mainly because they’ve left them somewhere after a one-night stand or at some bar
Speak softly to this group. Talk about projects that you need them to do, sports and food items. DO NOT go into any story about what you used to do when you were their age. For one, what you considered ‘cool’ when you were their age is being shown on Nick At Night, which itself is not cool by any stretch of the imagination. But, secondly, you could be seen at a Cornerer or Repeater. This will lead to you to also being called “Mr.” by them — a fate worse than death.
Please study the avoidance exercises daily. If done correctly, you will lead a happier, more productive and less stressful work life!
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