Is it Okay to Ignore a Staff Member?

Today’s question concerns office hierarchy. Is it okay to be rude?

I am an Office Coordinator, (office manager), Technical staff memeber has a visitor from the outside in.
Tech staff is going around making introductions and totally side steps me – do I have a right to feel upset and annoyed with him?  He made me feel very unimportant and worthless. –SH

I hear you SH, there is nothing more insulting than having someone who is making introductions walk right past you as though you are invisible. You have a couple of options,

1. You can get upset and proceed to sabotage future projects/deliverables/connections for the offender. You are the office manager, you probably have access to behind the scenes things….

2. You can calmly connect to the offender, face-to-face (email just won’t work here), and let him/her know that you appreciate feeling a part of the team (give an example of a time when he/she made you feel a part of the team, really stretch if you have to) and would he/she mind also introducing you to visitors so you can continue to contribute as a team member. Key word to use is appreciate. You appreciate him/her. Second key concept is to plant the idea that having you know who the visitor is will help you help the team.If you have to, approach it from the angle that the visitor may want to know who you are because you can help him/her get settled in if necessary – an extended visit for example.

3. You can rattle to HR about the offender.

So, based on amount of text alone, you can probably guess my advice, #2.

As much fun as #1 is to think about, it won’t help you. If anything it will set you into a negative passive aggressive cycle that brings everyone down. More likely it will get you fired . . . quickly.

As for #3, forget it. Yes, you can get a negative file started, but you just don’t have the pull that a more technical and or senior staff member has. The reality is that an office manager in theory is easier to replace than a technical staff member. Mind you that is IN THEORY.

I think a great office manager is gold and practically impossible to replace. You want to become that kind of office manager if you aren’t already. Really get yourself inserted into the revenue value chain – can you help the grant writers? Can you help the other staff members who are bringing in the research dollars? Get yourself valuable to the folks who actually control the incoming cash for the company.

SIDE NOTE: I recognized the company SH works for – they are a research firm that depends (Largely? Completely?) on “donated” monies. The last bit hold for everyone though, get as close to the incoming cash as possible. If you generate revenue or are vital to those who do, you become very, very hard to replace.

By the way, I am looking for an office manager. In Dallas. For real.

A fun look at office etiquette and more

It’s a regular work day, and everything seems normal in the office.

John walks out of the kitchen, but something looks different in his eyes. What is that emotion? Is it anger? Revenge? He sits down in his cubicle, eyes slitted and watchful, staring at the kitchen entrance. Ryan walks through. John’s interest is perked.

Some time passes,
and out Ryan walks,
looking satisfied and full.

He’s even wiping a crumb from his mouth. And then John sees it – a Schlotzsky’s wrapper – in his hand. Ryan walks by the bin and casually throws the wrapper in. John ‘s face reddens with anger. That was his sandwich!! What will come next?

For those of us who have or are working in a corporate environment, we know there are unspoken rules when it comes to the break room and lunch. There are a few things we all must do in terms of office etiquette in the kitchen that helps everything run just a little smoother. Wash dishes after you use them, wait your turn to use the microwave, appropriate work conversations, and so forth.

But the biggest rule of kitchen office ettiquette – Don’t eat other people’s lunches.

It’s a big don’t.  And when the mighty rule is broken, what avails?  Passive aggressive behavior of course. It seems in most cases, passive aggressive behavior in the office amounts to a lot of awkward moments and funny notes. So, what else is there do but enjoy them.

Office Prank (*from

Here’s a gallery of office notes from, and yes, they are all authentic.

Here’s the link:

And, if  that didn’t satisfy your  funny bone. Maybe this will. Unnecessary quotation marks. Oh,  how those two little lines muddle meaning and put a bit of existentialism into any situation. Such a pleasure to think about.

Unnecessary Quotations Marks:

Have fun!

Before you approach your boss for a Bonus . . .

So your holiday bills are rolling in and you realize, dang, I need some cash, FAST! Maybe your boss will give you a bonus, right? Well probably not, if all you have to back you is your need. What have you done for your boss lately?

If you have been working diligently – making your boss’ life easier, then you have a fighting chance. However, if you’ve been goofing off or distracted, do not go ask for a raise! In most cases the, “It never hurts to ask,” mentality is good, but when it comes to getting your manager to part with a few pennies . . .

The logic is this: you have a finite number of opportunities each year to request an upgrade, i.e. a bonus. If you squander those opportunities, well, you are totally out-of-luck no matter how great you are. There is a certain seasonality to the process. February – just after the books for last year are closed and your boss knows if there’s some extra cash. July – as your boss budgets for the forthcoming year and enjoys the Northern hemisphere summer, and late-October as your boss’ College Football team is heading for a National Title (a few weeks later if NFL fans). Sure, it seems ridiculous, but there are generousity spikes at those times during the year. I studied and put that very information to use myself while running a not-for-profit years back, grew our donations 5000%, seriously. . . .

But here’s the catch. You have to have been extraordinarily productive in the months just prior to the request or your opportunity is null and void. You will be much less successful (i.e. fail) if you’ve been slacking off just prior to one of these “generousity inflection points,” GIPs. To maximize your GIP potential, work your tushie off for the 2+ months prior to the GIP. For the February GIP, make sure you work extra hard December and January. Got it?

Of course what I really advocate is working your tushie off, excelling beyond comprehension ALL THE TIME, but if you’re one of those folks who has to pace himself, well, use the GIP guide.

So what do you do if a GIP is not soon enough or you know you have to wait out this GIP? First, become very aware of what your boss needs so that she looks awesome to her boss. Second, do it, or at least help her do it. Find a way to insert yourself into your boss’ career path so she can’t help but appreciate you. Avoid passive-aggressive tendencies . . . if you are helping her, do it without expectation of gratification.. You are creating the foundation from which you will be able to approach her for more: money, time, responsibility later.

Go forth and be prosperous!