Category Archives: Work

I hate it.

Work Emails

Work 1 Reply

To: Dead Robot
From: Scott
Subject: New email Ad

Hey buddy! Need a new email with the subject line: You’ll earn rewards no what with OurCompanyAir!

Can you use a picture with a guy or girl holding a phone and a mouse to their head.


To: Scott
From: Dead Robot
Subject: Re: New email Ad

Can’t seem to find such a specific image that works – why “a mouse to their head”? Here’s a better image concept:


To: Dead Robot
From: Scott
Subject: RE: Re: New email Ad

I guess you couldn’t find a person holding a phone in one hand and a mouse in the other?


To: Scott
From: Dead Robot
Subject: RE: RE: Re: New email Ad

In my search to fill your request, I had a woman sitting at a computer while talking on a cell phone. I was going to use it but it was pretty boring. So boring that I fell asleep looking at it. My head hit my desk and bounced off the keyboard and I subsequently started to bleed a lot (you know, like a pro wrestler does when they’re hit with a chair in the ring?). So blood is pouring everywhere and Terrence, you know, my cube-mate, started to scream like a pre-teen at a Justin Beiber concert but not like… you know… excited happy, just excited grossed out. He’s screaming, like I said, and then Dave the Marketing director comes out of his office and he starts to throw up. Like “Stand By Me” vomit throw up… projectile. Did you see “Stand By Me”? Anyway, we got blood, we got vomit and then Susan, my manager, comes around the corner and starts to laugh. So woosh, she pees herself laughing. No warning – floodgates open and we all were drenched… You can imagine what the 5th floor is like now. All because you wanted that weird graphic.


To: Dead Robot
From: Scott
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Re: New email Ad

Sheesh! Grouchy?



I try not to write about work. It’s a slippery slope that can be twisted around and thrown back at you when you least expect it.

Case in point, the first job I had where I had to enter end of day numbers into a Apple Macintosh II (you can guess the year), I decided to write a friend a letter on the word processing program. In the letter I tore into the management style of my boss and then went on to say how much I hoped that my friend and I could bump uglies soon. Hit print. Nothing came out of the printer. Yeah you guessed it – straight to the management office. At the time I didn’t know much about computers and didn’t glean that the letter was going to their printer (after printing off 3 copies) but managed to change the printer, get it, send it off and forget about it. A few days later I had my review (bad attitude, lazy work, no raise) and there was my letter, on the top of my file. I left a few days after that.

Okay that had nothing to do with my point, I just thought it was funny. But many harmless posts via social medias have lead to termination or insubordination letters. You have to use your head when you write.

But I’m compelled to bend that rule today and just say there’s been a lot of closed door meetings with HR and the accounting department (HR + Accounting, usually = Severance pay). To say I’m concerned is a bit of an understatement: middle management such as myself are usually the juiciest apples on the tree for pruning. I won’t go into the “why” of this feeling I have, just that I’ve observed some behaviour by upper management that resembles a loud talker on a cell phone while riding a bus, suddenly dropping their voice 2 octaves. We all strain to hear what we’re missing.

SharkBoy told me of one of his incredible flame outs he had with a past employer (which I’ll let you beg him for a blog post for) which had me thinking: Have you ever been fired? Let go? If you left of bad terms did you grab two beers and hit the chute?

Channeling My Inner Cast Member

Travel, Work

disney_mulan_mushuYesterday I got a panicky call from my boss while I was at lunch: “Can you get down here and wear the Roo suit?! Bring flyers too!”

Flash back to 2007 when SharkBoy and I are exploring the China pavilion at EPCOT. We come around a secluded corner and we’re standing in front of the rather short (nearly dwarfish!) dragon character from the movie Mulan.

Me: “Gueshew!”
The Character’s Minder: (utterly exasperated, probably had to remind people all day who this guy was) Mushu!
Me: “Right. Can we get a picture?”

Flash forward to a few days ago, while discussing marketing materials for our upcoming Australia Week presentation, I mentioned I would love to try on the company’s Roo suit as a precursor to my Disney trip. Just to see how the cast members at Walt Disney World do it.

I’ve always admired anyone who can put on a costume that will kill you within minutes through heat exhaustion.

While in the safety of a mask, it’s easy to become something apart from the norm. Something outside a desk job and 9-5 humdrum. I could see the attraction form those Plushie/Furries as that you become a more innocent persona. And while in this persona, you can see just how incredibly polarized Torontonians are when faced with a 7 ft tall kangaroo while walking home from work. Some laughed. Some interacted, even if it was just a wave and a smile. Some got excited and were chatty. But most chose to ignore me. Which baffles me. I use to tut-tut bstewart23’s constant griping about Toronto being an “un-fun” place to live. Or SharkBoy’s complaint that “Toronto certainly ain’t Montreal”.

They’re both completely right – Toronto is full of unfunny, desensitized people.

Case in point: In costume, I’m waving at a woman passing me by. Nothing, zero, nada – I could have touched her she passed by so close yet no acknowledgement. So I follow her to the corner (not an easy feat with size 23 feet) and stand close beside her. She turns to see who is in her personal space and screams. Did you not just see the 7ft tall kangaroo?

Then there was the guy on his phone, walking towards me. I do a little tail wagging dance and mock fingers-to-ear phone mime. “I’m being bothered by a giant rat,” he says into his phone, without a hint of humour or appreciation that I just took him out of his dull day. Bitter fuck.

And to the two dicks on lowrider bikes, zipping past me so fast that they got a good cold-cocking punch to my snout without me even knowing it was going to happen, I say go play in traffic. With blindfolds. And razor blades in your cheeks.

Don’t get me wrong, some people were great. I had a group of liquid lunch secretaries grab my arms and do a song and dance while one video-ed it on her cell phone. Wee! One woman screamed when I did a jog towards her with flyer in hand, reminding me that even my niece-in-law can’t even be near a costumed raccoon, let alone a real one. A actual Australian couple, fresh off the plane asked why I was in a coyote outfit.

There were kids. Lots of kids. All of them utterly frightened to come near me until I extended a hand. I was hugged repeatedly.

But for the most part, people would not look at me or acknowledge me. Okay this kind of reaction would probably happen in any major city but it’s sad, none the less. Are we so compartmentalized that a 7ft tall kangaroo costume can’t even rouse up a grin or a nod?

Two Tickets to Paradise

Travel, Work

Just got an email from the Management Board of the company I work for:

Hi Ted, we sent a request to all managers asking them to nominate staff that they felt had done something exceptional or gone beyond the call of duty during these tough times and in response to this, Emma nominated you. In recognition of this we are pleased to award you 2 tickets for travel on Air New Zealand from Vancouver or Los Angeles to New Zealand, Australia, Cooks or Fiji.

The tickets are available for travel between now and September 30th – all travel must be complete by that date.

Holy Crap! Where do I go?

And You Would Be…?


The boss likes to leave cut out articles on our desks and makes us sign our initials when we’re done reading. Then we pass the page onto other coworkers on the post-it note list.

My name was second last, just above “Chuck”

“Bruce? Who is Chuck?” I ask.

In his thickest Australian accent, he laughs. “Chuck! Throw it out. Chuck it.”

Get Me A Coffee When You’re Done Kearning That Paragraph


It’s getting desperate out there people. In times of economic trouble, having a couple skills on your CV is a great way to survive, but let’s not lose our dignity, ok?

Graphic Designer with Mailroom Experience

Looking for reliable individual with Valid Drivers license and the ability to work in a diverse atmosphere.
Must be able to scan, sort, edit hardcopy materials.

Must have knowledge of portable scanners.

Looking for someone with switchboard and admiistrative knowledge.

Microsoft office,adobe,excel,and knowledge of the web access.

One – two years experience.

Lay Down Sally


So the last couple days have been shitty at work. Wait. Let me refine that:


Ah, how firm and absolute words are when you capitalize them.

Wednesday, last week, I was informed that I would have to let one of the design team go in my department (new readers to Dead Robot should know I’m a team leader of a graphics department at a large-ish travel wholesaler). I wasn’t surprised by this. A constant barrage of bad news nightly consisting of economic doom and gloom steeled me to this event. I have watched the company’s website hits drop off and I knew that translated to a slump in sales. Plus the fact that the owner would walk the halls of the office with a face like a cat’s ass.

I made my recommendations as to each staff’s workloads, attitude and abilities and then left it with upper management to decide. Not to be a martyr but I even suggested my position be shitcanned, which was met with a “We’ve invested too much in you” kind of comment. Nice! The next day, Thursday, I was told which would be leaving, but they’d be let go on Monday, in the morning. Whuh? Not Friday? I shrugged and then asked if I could be present for the despicable conversation. I then spend the next couple days pretending to be upbeat and happy while inside, I knew we were letting go one of the more funner people in the department.

Just before Xmas.


A hero is me.

Monday comes and I am working hard and didn’t notice the unlucky person getting called away into the marketing manager’s office – people are in and out of our cube constantly so I missed them walking past my desk. When they came out of the manager’s office, freshly unemployed, I didn’t notice them grab one co-worker and leave the cube. Frankly it happened so quick I thought they were discussing something over a smoke-break.

The manager then calls me into their office and informs me that they had done the deed and all was ok. As “ok” as can be.

I stammered. “You did it already?”

I leave the office and find this person already gone. No goodbye, no explanations, not even a look in the eye.

I wasn’t happy.

Then an hour later we are informed by email that our company has applied for “WorkShare”, a little known mini-bail out package where most of the staff drops to a 4 day work week with their wage adjusted appropriately. Staff then can claim some measly percentage in Employment Insurance back (I’ve always laughed at the doubleplusgood think of the name of our UNemployment insurance program), something like 55% of the day’s wages. While it’s not much, I bless the socialist lefty that thought that program up. However, I am unable to work part time and claim it, creating an almost English DHSS-style catch 22. If I work part time, I don’t get EI, but I get taxed to the same level as the EI benefit. I don’t work I get EI and play video games and generally not contribute to anything other than a Homer Simpson-esque rut in the couch.

So with two swift kick to the nuts I am left with less money, a demoralized staff who weren’t all that moralized in the first place and an opportunity to work at Starbucks one day a week.

Yay global economy!