April 29, 2010 / 6:29 PM / 10 years ago

Office survival guide sees humour in job misery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sometime during the recession, work — or the lack of it — became funny.

A broker reacts while trading at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai October 8, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta

From oversleeping and missing a job interview to being fired for no reason, job woes are now a great source of humour, say Gregory Bergman and Jodi Miller, authors of “WTF? Work: How to Survive 101 of the Office’s Worst F*#!-ing Situations,” a new book that offers tongue-in-cheek job advice.

Workers forced to switch jobs due to the recession gain an outsider’s perspective and may find humour in office politics or water-cooler dramas they may not have noticed before, said Miller, a stand-up comedian in Los Angeles, as is Bergman.

“People are in need of a good laugh, and they enjoy listening to stuff that has to do with jobs and lack of jobs,” she said. “Misery loves company.”

“Now when I make a statement about being poor or I don’t have a job, people identify with it and they like it,” she said. “Before, when I’d say I don’t have a job, they’d say ‘loser.’”

The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in March, about double what it was two and a half years ago.

“People are a little more vocal about not having a job. They’re less embarrassed,” Bergman added.

Their book addresses workplace scenarios, from dumbing down a resume to get a menial job to what do if the receptionist hates you for no good reason. Or maybe you’ve crashed the company car, or you’ve landed a construction worker job but you don’t know how to cat-call.

“We like to mix real advice with ridiculous stuff that actually make you laugh out loud,” Bergman said.

If you’re job hunting and realise you had sex with the job interviewer and never called her back, tell her you liked her so much you were afraid of getting hurt, they say.

Other suggestions:

* If the boss keeps calling you by the wrong name, change your name to match the one he is using, they say.

* If you don’t know how to use the office copier, destroy it.

* If everyone passes their work on to you, do it poorly.

* If someone keeps taking your stapler, booby-trap it with explosives or glue it to the desk.

“WTF? Work” was published this month by Adams Media, a division of F+W Media Inc of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Editing by Michelle Nichols and Paul Simao

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