Friday, February 09, 2007

The Power Coup

The Power Coup

An Endless Battle to Communicate

This used to happen to me a lot when I worked in an office. I particularly remember one instance where all I needed was to ask my boss a quick question, but they refused to even acknowledge my presence. It was a definite message: "You wait for when I am ready. Whatever you have to say can't possibly be more important than whatever I'm doing, you little wiener."

I'm still not really sure what the proper etiquette is. My personal feeling is that if someone walks up to you while you're having a conversation, it's probably best to excuse yourself from the previous conversation, and see what the newcomer wants. If they only need a one-word answer, give it to them. If they need to ask you a whole bunch of stuff, tell them you'll come find them after you're done your previous conversation. Then return to your previous conversation. Your specific relationship to the people you're talking to always dictates whether or not to allow an interruption. It's a rather complex situation. Much like deciding whether or not to high-five your dad in public.

In the end, if you have to interrupt a conversation, make sure that whatever you have to say is important enough to warrant the impropriety. Just to be safe, before you interrupt anyone, set their car on fire. It just makes sense.

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Taylan Pince

Yeah... that's why I always prefer e-mail. :-)


What we need, is some real-life equivalent to email. A way to give someone a written message, but not electronically. If only that were possible.


Bearskinrug: isn't that what Post It notes are for and why men go bald? You can write something down, then go slap 'em on a forehead of your choosing.


Hey - maybe Jerry has a message that we can't see...

Bob Coe

If the post-it won't stick to their slimy bald head, you can always use a stapler.


i've noticed an interesting phrase of business lexicon that too often comes up in meetings. "let's talk about that offline." i hear it very often, but there's rarely any follow-up. i'm convinced that "let's talk offline" actually means, "let's not talk about that. ever. and how dare you mention that in the first place."

it occurs to me that another twist on this theme would be to have bill's hair on fire, slowly spreading to the shoulders of his suit, etc. the last frame would read, "i'm sorry, but i think you're on fire." but the boss would still have the same expression.


two words: Michael Scott.

The Colonel

Honestly, the best way to solve this little bit of social awkwardness is a full-body suplex. That'll get their attention.

Or you could always Mojoize your problem with a good, aggressive butt pat.


Interrupting should certainly only be for urgent messages. There is a species of office worker (Officus Interruptus) which constantly interrupts regardless of urgency.

It is almost always prompted with "I'm sorry to interrupt but..." when they are most definitely not.


Ah yes...Been there myself but have since found a solution. If walking up to the person gets you no reaction, I've found the best way to deal with Mr. or Mrs Powertrip is to simply turn on your heels start to slowly walk away while muttering just loud enough for them to hear, " Well, I'll just tell them to go ahead". Panic is the usual reaction you'll get. What? You'll tell who to go ahead with what? Wait a minute - what's up????


Dwight Shrute said it best last night: "There are way too many people on earth. We need a new plague." He was probably talking about people like this.


Taadang - Can the Officus Interruptus only produce offspring with another Officus Interruptus?

BigA - Haha - that is pretty good. You should be a con-man! I'll fund your training! Here's my credit card number...

Aaron - As long as it's not the Black Death. That was actually a pretty gross plague. How about something marshmellow-related?


bunch of lower-level "individual contributors" I see. The problem is that there are many impromptu conversations that require the full attention of the two people speaking. It's very rude to just walk up and stand there. The appropriate thing to do is to wait out of sight, if you really need to speak to someone and can't find a way to make an appointment with them.

Look at it another way: you're in an important impromptu meeting with an engineer and discussing something fairly technically involved, and your boss comes up and just stands there. At what point do you stop and say, "Do you need something?" I have to do this sometimes, and I always find that it sounds so rude. The appropriate thing is for the boss to say, "Excuse me. Can you come see me when you're done?" And walk away.

This is true of the employee, too. Just butt in... say, "Excuse me. Please come see me when you're done." And walk away. Standing there is the height of rudeness.


Ah - you've thought this out, Mingle-Mangle! Seems like a good approach:D

Russer Butter

So that's what happen to my car that time you walked up and stood there next to me for an hour looking like you had to pee.

I would have to agree with the Colonel on the Mojo butt pat thing. Sure fire way to get someone's attention.

Rob Weychert

Godammit, Kevin, couldn't this post have waited until I was done reading that other post?!


Russ - No... I did have to pee. Honestly, I would have preferred peeing on you to the arson.

Rob - Look Rob, I can't rearrange my posting schedule around your expensive eye surgeries.


I think that it's more rude to inject your two cents into a conversation willy-nilly than to just stand there. I just wait until there's a break in the conversation (like the end of a sentence) and then start in with an "Excuse me, ...."

Hercules Papatheodorou

Wow, you have an amazing skill with watercolours (well we already knew that eh?)
Any chance for an art tutorial? ;)


I usually stand there with a very large rusty knife, mumbling satanic rites.

That always gets their attention.


David - So... there's no punching at all?

Hercules - Haha - thanks. But this isn't all done with watercolor - I used some digital brushes to accentuate some of the fading out at the edges of each panel, and the thought balloons were drawn with digital brushes...

I'd love to do a tutorial sometime; I'll have to tuck it away for later right now though :D

Mack - I've forgotten all the satanic rites I used to know. I left my loose-leaf binder in the abandoned barn :(


so that's why sandra set my car on fire last week. she just should have just tapped me on the shoulder, damnit!

Ty Hatch

I thought he already had.

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