The thing I love about the workplace, and this applies to any workplace, not one in particular, is there is always someone hellbent on making a sign or three to ensure you’re sitting up straight, not talking with your mouth full and keeping your hands to yourself.
First – There always seems to be the obligatory refrigerator sign – it may be laminated with clip art or scrawled on the back of some recycled retirement sign and haphazardly taped – but it’s there glaring at you when you walk into the breakroom and making noise about how your mom doesn’t work there (it’s creepy how it knows these things) and it insists (sometimes in all caps) that at some pre-determined hour, usually on a Friday, a fridge troll is going to have a party with anything you left behind, then finish off by licking the insides clean. You will never see your treasured frozen turkey medallions again!! I’ve read these signs over and over again as I stood nuking some poor dish to death, because it’s either that or the post about my rights as an employee – and really, the fridge thing is more exciting (but trust me, I’ve read them both thoroughly). On occasion, one of those little sign gems will have a typo, so you get the added entertainment of getting to read what the spelling police had to say thanks to some pent up rage, a ball point pen and the loss of some dearly beloved Tupperware. (Hey, it’s not like you hear about those parties nowadays. How are you going to replace that? It’s not like avocado green is always in fashion.)
Thankfully, these guys are fairly prolific upon realizing they have truly great and amazing skills at using both Word and a laminating machine and they like to spread the word – their word. The next thing you know, a host of signs spring up around the office declaring exactly how they’d like you to behave. (I’d really hate to see their house.)
Second – This is the one that’s got me going right now – when the fridge guy migrates over to the bathroom to become the dreaded bathroom rules nazi. Fortunately, at our office, this person has limited themselves to one set of bathrooms. I suspect something terrible must have occurred in one of those stalls, because clearly this person’s hackles have been raised and 36pt. bold font just isn’t enough to thoroughly express their rage. The list, which swears at you while you’re quietly secluded away, demands that you: “DON’T PEE ON THE SEAT”. That made me uncomfortable. I mean, if they’re that mad about it, does that mean there’s a crazed seat pee-er running around rampant through the building? Should I be concerned if they decide to move onto something other than seats? like chairs? countertops? floors? Please, tell me they won’t move on to floors!!!! Oh, the humanity! The note reminds you that not only is it “nasty”, but it is also “unhygenic”. I made notes: “seat peeing is nasty” – whew – now there was a faux pas waiting to happen – I’m glad we got that cleared up. The next one up on the list was something about watching everything swirl down through the plumbing system. By golly, you will stand there until the water has returned to a more placid (and clear) state. Ok, I know, peeing on seats and leaving “remnants” is not something I enjoy, but do we really need a huge sign? Finally, you break free of the angry little stall, wash your hands and race for the door and there’s one last sign slapping you around which says something like “your co-workers like folks who take the time to wash their hands” – only it’s a little nastier and more pointed. Great, so on this floor we have seat-peeing-remnant-leaving-potty-hands who are obviously too simple to know that all of the above is BAD. What kind of people work on this floor? I swear to you, I haven’t been to those sets of restrooms again and when I am forced to be on that floor I eye the women who work in that area suspicously, because I know it’s one of “them” – the “seat pee-er” – they probably just said “hi” or dear God, did they pass me paper? I need to go wash my hands! I suspect it’s just a matter of time before the sign maker slaps the offender with a new and bigger sign declaring them the “Seat Pee-er!” with an arrow pointing straight at their head. They’ll be forced to wear the scarlet… no make that golden letter “P” on their chests so we’ll know them on sight.
Now, I realize I may be in the minority, but I really don’t need a sign to tell me not to let my food fester in the fridge or not to stuff socks in the toilet or even how to share a communal bathroom or breakroom, but I think it’s time I added my own special sign – at least to the bathroom. Here’s what I think it will say:
In fact, I think you could just replace all of the signs with just that last bullet – “Follow MY rules”, which is really what I think they’re aiming for… except for your nasty food – clean that up or we’re pitching it.