While it’s fun to act like I don’t take anything seriously, there is a blinding contrast between finding something to smile about in a humorless setting, and approaching the austere with self-centered apathy.
Those who do the latter, while making for good blog fodder, are otherwise frustratingly, entirely useless. I’ve been mapping out the practices of these human paperweights for a while now, and think I’ve got it down to at least a modicum of chemical accuracy.
Disclaimer: These observations have been amassed over seven or so years of working for different companies, in different capacities and positions. None are specific to my current, or any particular past, employer.
But behold, the credo for the guaranteed unsuccessful. One must:
Apologize. Even if the error is not your fault. Especially if the error is not your fault. Just be profusely sorry for every misstep, mishap, mis-communication and missed opportunity. Setting yourself up as the company scapegoat is the truest way to quash any hopes for maintaining respect you may have carried with you as a weapon when you entered into the cubicle coliseum.
Talk about your personal life, particularly the unsavory details, like the time you got an STD on spring break in Miami, or the fact that your molars are actually dentures because you bit down too hard on a jawbreaker as a kid. It also helps to leave things like overdue bills, nasal spray, and condoms strewn about your desk space.
Be sick a lot, with something exotic like, “Pan Avian Boil Syndrome” or “The Bubonic HIV”; the more complex and disgusting, the less seriously anyone will take you, and the more transparent your hypochondria will become. But don’t call in. Just spend the day loudly sneezing and lamenting that, “You wish you had the time to take a day off.”
Date (or just sleep with) your coworkers. Nothing screams, “Don’t ever take me seriously!” like dipping your dick in the company horse, or however that adage goes. This links back up to the above point on bringing your personal demons into office hell, but begs its own bullet point for a few reasons.
First, boning a coworker ends one of two ways; you break up, or you get fired. Because office romances don’t end in anything but disaster. Yes, I’m sure you have a cousin who met the man of her dreams as an intern at JG Johnson’s Insurance LLC, but she’s the exception and everyone else is the rule.
Haven’t you seen He’s Just NOT That Into You!? I’ve only blogged about it, like, five times.
Also, when you’re bedding someone you share an office with, you’re bound to spend a lot of your pillow talk discussing work. It’s natural– you’ve never known each other as anyone but Brenda from HR and George from editorial. And nothing ruins the post-coital cuddle quite like, “Oh man, did you see Debbie’s pants suit at the company-wide meeting this morning? Totally gave her a mom ass.”
Don’t ask for help, even if you have no idea what you’re doing. This will give you more to apologize for (again, see above).
Of course, if all of the aforementioned tactics leave your coworkers still respecting you as both an individual and a company asset, you can always–
Get offended, take things personally, don’t speak up for yourself, and cry in the bathroom.
Because if you can’t get others to disrespect you, you can always just disrespect yourself, instead.