Friday, October 7, 2016

Make it look natural!

I worked until I didn't have to anymore, and ran for the door with my retirement paperwork trailing behind me like the white cloth that trails down the middle aisle at a wedding.

But in my days as a volunteer firefighter, grocery clerk, radio disc jockey and news guy, broadcasting school director, 911 supervisor, Health Dept facilities manager and public information specialist, I learned a thing or two about getting through a day of work without too many contusions or abrasions.

Two of them came to mind the other day when I was listening to the radio documentary The History Of Howard Stern, and I thought I would share them for the benefit of people just starting out in the world of work.

Norris, Dell'Abate, and Stern 
In the documentary, Stern show producer Gary "Baba Booey" Dell'Abate is describing how he and Stern sidekick Fred Norris had to retrieve Howard's tapes and old scripts from WNBC radio after The King Of All Media was fired there in 1985.  They went back to the station late one night and were hauling stuff out in box after box on a handcart when, on the last trip down the elevator, a security guard walking through the loading area yelled "Hey!" at them.  They were sure he was up to busting them for everything but the Teapot Dome scandal, but decided to play it straight, and as it turned out, he was only looking for change for a twenty.  

They worried for nothing!

Lesson To The Young: No matter WHAT you're doing in the workplace, as long as you make it look like it's what you're SUPPOSED to be doing, no one will call you on it.  I mean this. You can walk into the office of the CEO (Chief Embezzlement Officer) in your firm and start carrying out his fire extinguisher, Keurig machine and potted ferns.  If someone says anything, just say you're there to "take 'em out for PM," which is the inside term for preventive maintenance.  But those magic words are the golden key. Just look like you're supposed to be there, and no one will question a thing.

Especially if you're carrying a clipboard, and quite ostentatiously making big check marks on a piece of paper for every item you haul away.

Folder + furrow = freedom

Bonus lesson to the young: Let's say it's late in the day on a Friday, and you want to get out early.  At lunchtime, you take your lunchbag and jacket and leave them at the reception area in the lobby, and then, long about 3:30, you pick up a manila file folder stuffed with many papers and storm down the hall with a firm grip on the folder and a furrowed brow.  Be sure to say, "Man, things are all screwed up in Accounts Payable.  I'll be back..." and then make a beeline for the door.

See you Monday!

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