We spend most of our waking hours at work, assuming you’re required to remain awake at your job. That’s why it’s important that our time at work be as enjoyable as possible. Here is a sampling of questions from those on the front lines of the workforce, fighting battles for those of you who are too chicken to do something about your miserable 9-to-5 existence.
Dear It’s Not Just a Job, It’s Your Life Person:
Recently my company adopted a “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” policy that allows people to bring their dogs into the office the second Tuesday of each month. That was fine at first, but then I talked to my friend Tina who has a gecko. “Why can’t we bring our pets in to work?” I asked her, and she agreed it was unfair. So Tina, who is more outspoken than me, raised it with our boss, describing her gecko, “Bob,” and he–the boss, not the gecko–agreed we could bring our lizards to work if we wanted to.
So Tina brings “Bob” in and lets him run all over her desk, and I bring in my Komodo dragon “Sparky” who is very friendly but happens to be a big eater. Well, Sparky ate “Rocco,” the dachshund who belongs to our HR Administrator Mary Lisa Florentino, then barfed him up on the reception area rug.
Not Just a Job Person, I have now been written up with a warning for violation of our “Dignity in the Workplace” policy but there was nothing in our office manual about bringing a carnivorous lizard in to work. I hardly think this is my fault because A, “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” was not my idea–B, I was not the person who pushed for lizard rights, it was my friend Tina–and C, I forget what C is.
Please help me out as they want to dock me a day’s pay, and I don’t think dachsunds cost that much.
Cheryl Lynne Adams, Quincy Mass.
Dear Cheryl Lynne:
I think you are overlooking–consciously or not–one very important point. Lizard barf stains are very hard to remove from carpet, unless it’s a dark Oriental that you can just sort of smush it into the pattern and no one will notice. “Bring Your Lizard to Work Day” may have seemed like a cost-free idea when your friend first brought it up, but American businesses are competing against third-world nations where lizards in the workplace are not allowed, unless they can crank out 100 pairs of “Hello Kitty” pajamas an hour.
Dear It’s Not Just a Job et cetera:
I work on a recreational vehicle assembly line, and six months ago the company added six robots to do spot welding on the frames. The union got all upset but I didn’t mind because they gave the robots all the hard-to-reach joints, which if I have to do them I always end up getting industrial strength glue on my apron.
Things were going along fine until a few weeks ago when one of the robots started making whirring noises at me when I’d lean over to move the pneumatic staple gun (you don’t want to know how flimsy camper vans are). I checked the quality control print-out tape at the end of the day and while I am not an expert at technology there were some comments that I would consider harassment, such as “Nice knockerz!” and “I’d give my right wing nut for 15 minutes alone with you.”
What I want to know is, are robots subject to employment discrimination laws?
Velma Jean Ritter, Lake Taneycomo, Mo.
Dear Velma Jean:
While you are unfortunate to be stuck in such a hostile work environment, robots are exempt from sexual harassment fines and sanctions because they have very powerful lobbyists who get loopholes written into our laws. You can write your Congressperson, but he or she probably spent the weekend at some all-expense paid golf outing with a fat-cat robot.
Dear It’s Not Just a Job, It’s Your Life person:
I remembered what “C” was–I don’t give a damn.
Cheryl Lynne Adams
Dear Cheryl Lynne:
With that attitude, you’re lucky they don’t just fire you. Komodo dragons are not a protected group under state or federal law.
Hey there, It’s Not Just a Job Columnist:
I am a dishwasher in a very busy restaurant, and I “job share” with a woman, whose name I will not mention in this letter. She refuses to rinse the dishes before she puts them in the Restaurant Pro II model that we have, which is not big enough to handle the volume we get on weekends. When I come in at the end of her shift the drain is always clogged up and I tell her–”Linda”–that is her first name but I won’t mention her last name–”if you would rinse the dishes first this would not happen.” She always just takes off and says–”It’s a dishwasher–it’s supposed to wash dishes.”
Not-Just-a-Job, I have complained to our shift manager but he says “I can’t make Ms. Markey stay late otherwise she’ll get overtime.” If you could think of a compromise solution I would really appreciate it.
Christ, I realize I just mentioned her last name.
Lloyd Knox, Paducah, Kentucky
Speaking of “compromise”! You have improperly compromised the name of a co-worker who is entitled to her privacy both on and off the job! This is why “pseudonyms” are required by advice columnists across the country, to protect the innocent who may be tarred by unfounded accusations. Please re-write your letter using a fictitious name for Linda Markey.
Dear Mr. or Ms. It’s Not Just a Job:
I work “under” a female supervisor, who happened to come on to me at our office Christmas party. One thing led to another, and pretty soon we were back at her place for a “sex-a-thon” that lasted the better part of a weekend.
Things were going along fine until this week, when she gave me my annual review. In the area where it says to write down where people “need improvement,” she wrote “foreplay.”
I’m thinking there’s got to be a law against this sort of discrimination in the workplace. I can’t afford a lawyer so am writing to you.
Ernst Tremblay, Shrewsbury, Mass.
There are currently no laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of inadequate sexual performance, so you will have to live with the consequences of your foolhardy holiday lapse in office decorum. I would suggest you bone-up on your technique by checking your local library for back copies of soft-porn magazines such as Playboy, Penthouse and National Geographic.
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”