6.11.2009

Office Safari Guide: Issue 3

Today's Office Safari Guide focuses on an elusive quarry. It's not that they're rare in the office; it's just that once they're spotted it's usually a brief matter of time until they're forcibly removed from the premises. I speak of course of the Colossal Screw Up.

"Hey, real quick: What's Microsoft Word again?"

His last job was driving a forklift at a meat packing plant, but he knows a guy who knows a guy so now he's your team leader on the Sales floor, despite apparently never encountering a computer before. It can be tough to spot a Colossal Screw Up in the wild since they take great pains not to be discovered. But eventually their idiocy boils over and you'll realize you're dealing with a person who might not even know what it is the company does. Luckily (not for you), management will be at least six to 10 months behind you on this discovery.

He's late. His clothes are wrinkled. His hair is never combed and he's high pretty regularly. You made the mistake of befriending him your first day at work because you thought he was being nice, but he just wanted to borrow cash for lunch. And he routinely does things like attempting to de-frag his hard drive with a screwdriver and putting bologna in his printer. He's a nice enough guy, but you just know being in his vicinity is going to end in disaster.

But what to do? It's not like he's a jerk, so when he (repeatedly) asks for help you don't want to just stonewall him and be an asshole, but you can't dedicate five hours of your day to helping him figure out how to turn off his screen saver, either. You want to rat him out, but your coworkers all say he's a nice enough guy and you don't want to screw somebody out of a job just because they don't deserve it. So keep a low profile and avoid being seen with the Colossal Screw Up. And understand that the day you pay for his lunch is the day before he'll get fired and you'll never get your money back.

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