Adelina’s Talentsquare Survival Kit
As a proud survivor of more than one year at Talentsquare, I can say I have some office culture wisdom to share, which will shed some light on the inner workings of our great ecosystem. In order to thrive in this kind of environment, here are some key things you might need to consider.
Let’s face it, the word office is an antiquated term which refers to the place where the coffee is. It has desks, computers, plants, even chairs if you are lucky, but these are simply coffee accessories. Why else would billions of people get out of bed every morning and travel to a place where they sit on chairs for hours? According to one story, the effect of coffee beans on behavior was first noticed by a sheep herder from Caffa Ethopia named Kaldi as he tended his sheep. Yes, sheep. There you have it. Everybody seems to be stressing out over broken printers, copy machines or computers, but nothing compares to a broken coffee machine. Take that magical appliance away from us and all the functioning printers in the world cannot save us from the nothingness and confusion of the world, or from being fired, since it’s our boss’ favorite thing in the world. If this is the case, what’s with all those people spilling coffee, you may ask? As one of them, I can confirm that is how we mark our territory. Since I spill my coffee on my desk at least two times a day, no one gets near it, since it is now officially declared a danger zone. You say reflex impaired, I say smart.
You may think you need pens to write stuff on paper but you cannot be more wrong. At least in this age. Pens have transcended their material function and have become some sort of deep psychological weapon of power. The more pens you gather, the more powerful you are. It’s a matter of status. No one will pay attention to a person with no pens on their desk. That person is inexperienced and weak. How does this work? You ‘borrow’ it from your colleagues while using sneaky techniques disguised as normal behavior. Well, more or less. For example, you may disregard the fact that someone has a pen in their mouth, but what you are not aware of is the fact that the pen was stolen and it cannot be taken back because, well, yuck. Smart move, Hugo, you earned it. I don’t even know where these pens found their way in our office in the first place, to be honest.
If I had to count how many foreign object get thrown at my head in one day at the office I would be extremely confused, since I haven’t actually studied Math in high school. For some reason people think it is funny to throw things at another person while he or she is not watching. You can get creative here. We have balls, but don’t let that stop you. Anything that doesn’t cause actual damage works. In order to survive, you need good reflexes. Don’t let them win. Ball thrown at your head? Reflex it out. Pen being stolen from you? Reflex it out. Coffee mug falling on your desk? Tough choice.
You might think this is far-fetched but if you have ever forgotten your headphones at home you know what I mean. While normally you won’t need them, when they’re missing, suddenly everything you need to see that day comes with sound. Your computer can smell despair and everything you click on sings or makes noises. Forget about asking someone for headphones, you might as well ask for a vacation in Barbados. It’s not going to happen. The silence is unbearable and you stand alone asking yourself what the meaning of life is. It’s headphones, my friend. At least that’s what the helpline for people who forgot their headphones at home would say if there were one, which there should. That, or at least a ‘forgot your headphones at home’ awareness month.
Even though the aspect of office culture is generally disregarded, it will eventually materialize. The question, therefore, is not IF it will happen, but HOW it will happen and what it will lead to. Offices are nowadays full of employees that would leave at the first opportunity to greener pastures, so make sure your pasture is the greenest by building a great office culture that promotes authenticity. This shouldn’t take considerable effort, since the office has somehow a life of its own. Just have fun.