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CorporateLand: The Deportment Department, or How to Behave
Published 10/03/18 by VasiliyZaitzev [0 Comments]

CorporateLand: The Deportment Department, or How to Behave

TL;DR: How to stay out of trouble in social situations at work, plus some other random shit.
The Number One way to fuck up your otherwise awesome career. It used to be we’d all go out, get hammered, misbehave and there was an unspoken agreement that, the next day, everyone would pretend it didn’t happen, even if a late night call for bail money had to be made. Sadly, those days are Way Long Gone. Now, you will get fired for that shit…or even the appearance of that shit.
How, then, not to get too drunk and behave like an asshole? Happily, there are a number of ways. Read on.
First, I read somewhere, once, about how the father of [famous person whose biography I was reading] always had a glass of alcohol in his hand at parties: the same one he was handed by the host when he arrived. He would simply nurse that one for hours. Fine if that’s what you want to do.
Second, if you set a limit based on your tolerance and comfort level. That limit should be 0-2 drinks, inclusive. After that ask for a glass of soda/tonic with a lime wedge. Nobody will know the difference, and, after a couple pops, you won’t either.

Third, if all else fails, never be drunker than the 3rd drunkest person there. You do not want to be on the medal stand. The gold medalist will draw the most shit on the next business day and the silver and bronze guy will catch some heat, too, but if you’re 4th or lower, you should be mostly ok.

Holiday Parties
These are joyless affairs that fit nicely into Hobbes’ description of life: Nasty, Brutish and Short. Well, except for that last one. They are often interminable. And the plot comes down to, as Chinese Gordon said, “People who don’t like each other standing around uncomfortably, eating food they don’t want to eat, drinking things they don’t want to drink and talking about things they don’t want to talk about.”
So what to do? I treat holiday parties like I treat family reunions: get in, tell a couple of jokes, relive the old times, and then get out before it blows.
Typically these things are structured as dinners. Fine. Eat, drink (a little) and be merry (but not too merry) and then get out. If it starts by 7 or 8, your goal should be to get out by 9 or 10pm. Your mum was right: Nothing good ever happens after 10pm. If you have a date, and someone doesn’t want you to leave, then it’s because she’s not feeling well. Men (older men like bosses) will never question that because what if it’s, um, ‘female troubles’? Exactly, we treat that shit like kryptonite. Or you can just leave.
A couple of cautionary tales.
I used to work with a guy we will call Jack MegaDouche, because that’s what his name should have been. Jack was a great guy. He was a great guy even when he was drinking. Until he got to “a drink too far”. Then he became Evil Jack. Seriously, it was like a Jekyll/Hyde thing. He’d go from being your best buddy to getting the evil “Private Pyle” look from “Full Metal Jacket” and taking a swing at you. It was like he’d dropped off a cliff.
So at the office Christmas party, I see him by the bar, and I stop and say hello, just as the Telltale Drink arrives. About the point that shit was going to get bad—like he was going to take a swing at me for no reason, and I was going to have to step out of the way so his follow-through carried him past me—one of our co-workers arrived, and I took that opportunity to beat feet. So anyway, two guys tried to put him into a cab, because he was hammered and he took a swing at them.
So the next day at work he had a shot at saving his job, but he came in Still Drunk and started arguing with his boss, who stopped the meeting after 5 minutes and fired him on the spot. Don’t Be That Guy.
We also have a guy who brought a couple of escorts last year. He has a $100M book. They were actually discussing firing him.
Let me repeat that: he has a $100M book. That used to make you bulletproof. As in taking a dump on the CEO’s desk would probably be forgiven. No longer. Now, we didn’t fire him, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
The Sphincter Police—you know the type… “But…but…but that might look bad!!!” …the kind of turds you want to punch in the face for being turds—have ruined corporate gift giving. So basically when it comes to gifts and (more commonly) business dinners, everyone ass-rapes their corporate policy and STFU about it. We also have a “per person” cap on business dinners, so what happens is the guy running the dinner just adds people.
Business Dinners
Another thing the pencil pushers have tried to ruin. The third of fourth time my current firm got bought, the new owners put in a per-person limit on dining expenses. The solution? Suddenly, there are twice the number of people at dinner. I asked a VP once if he enjoyed dinner last night at Maison Trop Chere. He demurred that he had not been at it, to which I replied, “Oh, well…you’re going on the expense report.” This was in front of the CEO, who chuckled.
Your enemy in all this is the Evil Expense Goblin. They are little pinheaded morons who think they have total scored by disallowing an expense. They beat off at night at the thought of catching someone charging an in-room movie. It’s that bad.
The best thing you can do to up the quality of your meals is have a VIP customer with you. We have a guy who sends us 8 figures a year, and that first number isn’t a “1”. He gets whatever he wants. If he wanted to go to a French restaurant, in France, I am pretty convinced we would find a way to make it happen. The more unassailable your companions are the easier your reporting life will become.
I used to have a friend at Amex who would jump me ahead of people on short notice at hard to get into restaurants. The kicker was I’d have to use my personal Amex because he knew my account backwards and forwards and if he ever caught shit for it, he needed to be able to pull up the numbers, show his boss that we’d dropped a lot of $ on wine, etc. The Expense Goblins no likey. Why? Because we had gotten corporate cards along the way and it was thereafter VERBOTEN to use personal cards for corporate expenses thereafter. 1
So what to do? This is one case where I asked permission first, rather than begged forgiveness, after. I am the “go-to” guy at the company for the upper right-hand part of the country. If it happens north of DC and east of Indiana, it’s got my fingerprints on it. I shot a note off to our CEO, Daddy BigBalls and he approved it. I forwarded this note off to my admin and everything was cool. The dinner went great, client was happy, and my expense report….
…got rejected. That was Five Large on my personal card. Fuck. Now, the Expense Goblins are not known to be creative thinkers. That’s why they do what they do. So my poor admin had been trying to get this approved and kept getting nowhere, mostly because she’s a sweet girl. So I have her forward the email chain to me, and sure enough, all the way at the bottom was the approval. So I shoot a note back to the Goblin in Chief with the following note:
“Pls. scroll to the bottom where you will find the following message: ‘Approved. Daddy BigBalls’. That’s who my next phone call is going to. Let me know how you wish to proceed.”
Translation: “Hey, fuckhead. I realize that you have a brain the size of a walnut…a very small walnut…that has never been used, but you have ten minutes to get your head out of your ass or you’re getting fired. I’m counting backwards, starting now….”
5 minutes later, I get a note back “This is approved”. No shit it was approved. Now go back to gazing at your navel, or whatever losers do when they’re not fucking up.
= = = = =
1 Most corporate rules are fucking stupid, but this one actually makes sense. Why? I could, conceivably charge up a lot of shit, get reimbursed for it, and then return it. Is that fucking stupid? Sure. Yet people do it.
Sex, Religion, Politics
Topics to be avoided.
It’s work, not a singles bar. Sure, it’d be fun to nail Amanda in Accounting who plays tennis all summer, has a savage tan and superbly toned ass. Maybe it’s worth it to you to nail her, I don’t know. OTOH, all it takes is her feeling “weird” about you one day and your ass is grass.
If you do want to fish off of the company pier, it would be better for you to pick someone who has more to lose than you do. I used to bang a 23 y.o. Admin. She pretty much had the “Rear of the Year”. Dat Azz was PERFECT.Anyway, she also had a fiancé, so the last thing she was going to do was rat me out. We had a fun time, then she got married, and it was hands off. I am pretty sure he’s the father of all of her kids. Pretty sure.
Note: Engaged women seem to go through a phase b/w Acquisition of Engagement Ring and Wedding Day where they need constant validation of their continued appeal to men who are not their future husbands. Maybe not every one of them, but it’d definitely a trend. So you might score or you might have her pull a “What?! You KNOW I am engaged to be married!” Just be careful.
Oh, and here’s how crazy women can be. I know a woman who works at a Famous Wall Street Bank. If you name the first four of five big financial institutions you can think of, it will be one of those. So she's an admin and starts fucking a guy at work. And she's totally cool about it. The guy's wife finds out and raises Holy Hell. She basically forces the guy--who is, as it turns out, a total pussy--to make it a work issue (she also rats out my friend to her husband; they were amicably separated and in the process of divorcing and he couldn't have given a shit, but that's how vengeful this bitch was).
So what happens? The guy was actually on track for big things. HR calls my friend in and asks "What do you want?" And pretty much what she wanted was going to happen. Think about that for a bit. She basically said that she wanted all the bullshit to go away, and to keep working there, and she wasn't going to complain and would basically be a good citizen.
They transferred the guy from HQ to an office that was maybe 45 minutes away, but it might as well have been Alaska. Or the moon. He was going to make the $ he was making, but his fast track career ended the day he let his crazy ass wife start making work decisions for him.
So yeah, there is a >99% chance that you can bonk a chick from work and nothing catastrophic will happen. But it's like a kidnapping; it's a low frequency/high impact event. And Bob MegaStar might survive it, but you, noob, are not yet Bob MegaStar.
As the Italians say, "Don't shit where you eat" (only they say it in Italian.)
If you’ve found God, great for you. Ask him WTF is up with cancer in children and why he seems to send tornados to destroy trailer parks, and finally: Women. Massive design flaw or did he do that shit on purpose?
Then ask him if He can make a rock so heavy even He can’t lift it and watch him vanish in a puff of logic.
The only acceptable mentions of religion are “the wedding is at ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility’ parish in June,” or “The baptism will be held at St. Trinian’s Church for Wayward Girls” or “The funeral mass will be at 77th Baptist on 76th street at 7pm.” Otherwise, nobody gives a shit, and those that do will be “offended” about it.
This is also a no-go these days. It used to be that if you disagreed with your neighbor about politics that was ok. You’d make fun of each other and go back to being friends. Now everyone gets their Man Panties twisted up over it.
I was out with a hard core right wing evangelical that I work with, who quite sensibly understands to keep his opinions to himself, for the most part. The two guys on the other side of the table were from a consultant, and one of them chose to lead off with his deep abiding hatred of George W. Bush. He even knew he shouldn’t have, because he said so, all while his partner was looking at him like “Will you, for god’s sake, STOP FUCKING TALKING?!” So I waited for a pause and said “Yes, but on the other hand, I understand he has a fine singing voice.” So the guy looks at me like, ‘Wut?’ and I say, “Oh, I have no idea if he does or not, but you were clearly trapped in some sort of death spiral and I was trying to spring you out of it” that broke the tension and the conversation moved on to business.
You never know what the beliefs of your customer/counterparty/business partner are and these days you don’t want to find out in the wrong way.
How to Recover if You’ve Stepped in it
A few months ago, I was out with a business partner, and this time it was me who had too much wine and we really got into it about some or other politics thing. In the context of our long relationship, this was “ok” but not great. All within the realm of civilized society, of course, but still. Neither he nor I ‘punish’ other people for having different views. So anyway, the next day he rang me to ask about some things he already knew the answer to, but really he was taking my temperature to make sure I wasn’t still hot about whatever it is we were arguing about. It worked out fine, and at the next dinner I made some crack about going easy on the wine lest some of my more obscure views escape out of my mouth and everyone laughed. But you can’t count on people being cool anymore.
The one office lib decided to wax poetic about Bernie Sanders win in NH – and no surprise, everyone in CorporateLand regards Bernie Sanders as something between a joke and a bacillus – and you could just see the collars heating up. So I interrupted the guy and said, “My biggest concern about Sanders is, if he’s here, who is going to help Marty get Back to the Future?” Dumb joke? Sure. But it killed that particular asshattery and the conversation moved on.
If you get juiced at an office function, you can expect to have to spend the next 4-5 such functions sober as a monk, unless everyone else was juiced, also.
Tip VasiliyZaitzev for their post.
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