I Hate You... :-)

Emoticons have their place...on my phone, in lovey dovey text messages to my boyfriend, in silly posts on my 10 year old cousin's soccer team blog, and in emails to my teenage sister.

They do not, however, belong in my work email in-box and instant messages.  I say this, because I work with several remote employees fairly regularly.  There is one, in particular, (we'll call her Petunia) that I honestly have no idea if she hates me, loves me, thinks I'm the stupidest person on the planet, or hails me as a genius, because of her less than predictable use of emoticons.  She is an over-winker, for sure.  It follows instructions, greetings, scoldings...I'm not sure if she wants to date me or thinks I'm an idiot.  Sometimes I want to ask her if her computer has something in its eye.  I can overlook a friendly smiley or confused face in the office, but if the end message looks like my 2nd grade daughter wrote your email with a box of crayons because of your emoticon use, you might consider cutting back a bit.

Kick the Smiley Habit... 

Yes, I Can Hear You Now...


Yep.  Good morning Monday.  Good morning angry lady who sits on the other side of my cubical wall.

In all fairness, she is a perfectly delightful lady.  (One of my favorite co-workers, in fact.)  One thing she is not, however, (as ANYONE in our cube farm can attest) is quiet.  She will be the first to admit that she is a loudmouth who cusses like a sailor, and quite possibly the worst cube neighbor in the world to most people... Personally, I love to hear the whacky stuff that comes out of her mouth sometimes, so I'm not looking to move any time soon, but apparently, not everyone shares my affection. 

A few days ago, she came to me with an embarrassed look on her face.  She had just returned from a lunch meeting with a customer that she speaks to on the phone quite frequently - and quite candidly.  As she said, she has been "cussing up a storm," during phone conversations with this guy for months now.  It wasn't until she had lunch with him that she discovered that he is actually a very religious, spiritual fella, who has always been a bit uncomfortable with her foul language. 

As funny a gal as she can be, my extraverted co-worker could have just cost us a customer...or more.  She could have just cost herself a job.  

It is sometimes hard to know where the line between friend and professional aquaintance stands.  It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the way you speak to people in the office. 

Talk loud & carry a big stick.

Professionalism Doesn't Take Breaks

Ever met that guy at work who constantly complains about being passed over for a promotion despite the fact that he shows up on time, does his job, and really knows the widgets and whatsits that he tinkers with all day?  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess THIS guy may have been one of THOSE guys...

Guess what genius?  The boss keeps his bottled water in that fridge too.  I bet he was REALLY impressed by you when he saw this...as he was walking by the breakroom with his important potential new client that he was trying to impress.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the straight-laced, uptight type, and I appreciate a good office prank as much as the next guy.  It is important to keep in mind, that your intended audience isn't necessarily the only person that becomes an audience to communications posted throughout the office.  So stop posting nasty notes about leaving the copy machine jammed, missing sandwhiches, and messy microwaves, and find a more productive professional way to fix the problems. 

Innovators get promotions - duh!

Facebook Face Palm

I have, in fact, proclaimed that works sucks, that my ex is stupid, made fun of myself and some dumb thing I did, and posted pictures of me and my drunken friends in a karaoke bar in Texas at my going away bash on Facebook for all the world to see...well, all of my tiny little world anyway.  That's right, my mother doesn't see pictures of me in questionable situations with far more questionable fashion decisions, and my ex doesn't get to see any of my pictures that don't contain our daughter, and I don't post anything that I am not 100% okay with everyone on my friends list reading.  That being said, Facebook should be used responsibly.  A few things to consider:

1.)  It is fairly standard practice for employers to search social networking sites to creep job applicants.

For this reason alone, I changed my privacy settings.  

2.)  If you anger a co-worker that you have friended, they will likely show your boss all the posts you made from the beach the day you called in "sick," that one time you tweeted about hiding in the break room to avoid doing any actual work, and the day you pointed out what an idiot your boss is in a blog post. 

Like with all writing, step 1 should be to consider your audience.  Before accepting or sending a friend request, consider any potential housekeeping you should do to your social networking sites first.

3.)  If you post a picture of yourself doing something obnoxious, lame, or inappropriate, on a social networking site that co-workers have access to, be prepared to see it on the break room fridge come Monday morning. 

Social networking sites are a great place to connect both personally and professionally when used responsibly.  Think before you post, or you'll wind up on one of my favorite blogs to read:

The failure of others - Learn from it.

A Rose by Any Other Naming Convention

What's that?  The noise a frustrated Contract Administrator makes when data mining becomes mind numbingly manual, that's what!  Today I spent two hours matching up data from 3 different systems at work, in order to cross reference all of the data necessary to create a much needed report.  Why would something that 10 minutes of SQL coding in Access or an even easier vLookUp function in Excel could extrapolate take me two hours you ask?  Well, my problems all started many moons ago when some unknowing souls began entering data all willy nilly into these systems, with no consideration for the future.  I can't stress this enough:  When entering mass amounts of data that might even possibly be used, sorted, coded, queried, filtered, reported upon, or read by me, 

Using a naming convention simply means that you use one standardized method for entering the data.  The data that was causing me fits today was a list of Site Names.  I was attempting to compare contract data from System 1 with cost data from System 2 and add CRM identifier numbers from System 3.  The problem was, none of the systems had the site names listed in the same format.  To make matters worse, there wasn't even a convention between each system.  Instead of writing code to specify that I wanted to pull data from each system for the site names that matched the site names (or portions of the site names) in system 1, I had to run a report from each system and copy and paste them all manually...Can we say, "nightmare???"

Take a look at a sample of what I was up against:

Are you growling now too?

An ideal naming convention for this particular field would have been:

[ParentCompany][SiteIDNumber][City] (with no special characters or spaces...that's important.  I don't want to type a bunch of brackets when I code later.)

That would give us one concise list:


Job done in a fraction of the time, which means time for an extra cup of coffee (or six) for me.