Last summer we had Ryan “Crunchy” Miller join the IPB writing staff as an advice columnist (You can read his works here and here), and, being the highly influential bloggers that we are, the NHL took notice. They loved the idea, and asked us to help them install a regular hockey-player advice column on NHL.com. We received hundreds of applications from aspiring Dear Abbys from around the league, and were very excited for the project. Of course, the league ultimately decided not to run with it, and asked us to never speak of it again. We would have been more than happy to keep it all under our hats, but they promised us a magnetic playoff tracker for our troubles and never sent it to us. Feeling slighted, we’ve decided to run a week-long series showcasing the very best of the advice column efforts, written by a variety of NHLers, that the league never wanted you to see. We’re totally not making any of this up. Because we’re very serious, influential bloggers. Right, Mr. Balsillie?
I work for a family-run company that is very close-knit — the office is very friendly and convivial. However, in this difficult economic climate, management has been forced to downsize. Several beloved coworkers were recently laid off, and those of us who remain feel terrible about that. We have a tradition in the office of everyone contributing modest amounts of money to a monthly birthday pool, and we have a little cake for everyone whose birthday falls in that month. What would be a nice way to carry on that tradition this month, that would still be celebratory, but also respectful of the fact that there are some friends missing?
Thea, Lawrence KS
I feel like none of you people ever listen to me, because I have to keep telling you that your terrible eating habits are making you fat. Seriously, cake? Every month?? Your unemployed former coworkers are the ones who should be celebrating now that they’re freed from the tyranny of your “stuff your face” parties. If you really feel bad for your laid-off comrades, pool that birthday money together and head down to the nearest overpass — that’s where your former friends are living now. They should have some kind of coffee cup or tattered hat into which you can throw that money; my only caution is that they’re probably just going to spend it all on booze, which will make them fat. That’s what unemployed people do.
I recently applied for my dream job, but I was so desperate to land it that I lied on my resume. At the time I thought it was just something everyone does, especially in the increasingly tough job market. I do honestly think I am the ideal candidate for the job, but now that I’ve been offered the position, I’m feeling guilty about taking it. Should I take the job knowing that I will be good at it, or should I walk away and be honest when applying for other jobs?
Janice, Altoona PA
I think you’re a real stand-up person who’ll be the greatest professional employee this company has ever seen. I think you should never feel guilty for going after what you want no matter what you have to do to get it. I think you’re also probably very skinny. Oh wait, guess what? I LIED! HA! See how it feels?
I just graduated from college and have gotten my first job, an entry-level position at a company that works in the field I studied in school. I’m very excited for this job, but have never worked in an office setting before. Do you have any advice for a young professional setting out in the world?
Gloria, Las Cruces NM
I am assuming, because you are apparently employable, that you are not fat. As a skinny recent college student, what your life is truly lacking is cutting edge fashion from The Refinery.com. As long as you’re wearing all the latest looks from The Refinery.com it won’t matter how your perform or behave in your job; the sassiest summer boob hoodie makes it so you don’t have to do stuff like “be on time” or “do the tasks you are assigned” or “get along with your coworkers” because you’ll look so damn hot that no one will care. I noticed, though, that you said it’s an entry-level job that you’re starting. There’s good news and bad news with that. The bad news is that you can’t afford anything but your The Refinery.com wardrobe on an entry-level salary. The good news is that if you can’t afford food, you won’t get fat, so you’ll be able to fit in all of it. I think you’re going to go far. Shop The Refinery.com.
Help! I had a drunken one-night stand with a coworker, and now I’m too embarrassed to go to work! What should I do?
Marni, Salem OR
Why are you coming to me for advice with this? I wouldn’t know anything about it. I mean, would a GAY MAN have drunken one-night stands with his male coworkers? I didn’t think so.
I have a coworker who keeps giving me small gifts of potted plants. I hate plants, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. How can I politely but firmly make it clear that I am not a willing recipient of her generosity?
Wendy, Gainesville FL
This coworker is a sociopath, and politeness isn’t going to get you anywhere with her. Next time she tries to hand you a potted plant, refuse to take it. Let it drop to the floor. Stand stone-still and fire the full force of your most withering glare at her without speaking. Hold this pose for as long as it takes to make her extremely uncomfortable. When she starts to squirm, explain in a quiet but forceful tone that you never asked for her stupid plants, you don’t understand why she was ever so dumb as to think you wanted them, and that she better stop spending so much of her precious workday bothering you with this idiocy. Tell her you’re going to report her to the boss for slacking off all the time to give you unwanted gifts. Then tell her that you’re doing everything you can to be the best professional employee possible, and she’s not carrying her (doubtless enormous) weight in the office. If she wants to be contributing to a winner, she needs to stop spending all her time driving around buying plants and start focusing on giving 110% to her job.
I’m a pretty easy-going person, but lately I’ve been pushed to the very edge by my cubicle-mate. She hums while she works, she chews loudly while eating very pungent snacks at her desk, and she engages in loud, personal phone calls all day long. I don’t want to rock the boat, but my work requires me to be able to focus on my tasks and these distractions are making that very difficult!
Ronnie, Spartanburg SC
There’s a tried-and-true method for solving this problem that my colleagues and I have perfected, and it’s easy to boot. Simply make a deal with everyone else in your office to agree to let your job performances dip so low that your boss has only one recourse — rearranging the cubicle sea. Works every time. You’re probably worried about that poor sap who’ll get stuck with your current problem, but no worries. Those pungent snacks are going to make that nuisance into a fatty so fat she can’t possibly share a cubicle with another person. Done and done.
I’ve been having a problem lately at work. Someone’s been stealing my lunch! I clearly label my food in the shared staff kitchen, but it hasn’t stopped a thief from taking off with my meal. I like the idea of saving money by not going out for my lunch, but my staff-wide emails asking the thief to stop aren’t making a difference. What should I do?
Lana, Montpelier VT
Do I really need to answer this? Don’t. Eat. Lunch. Duh! Fatty.