Read an Excerpt
A Handbook for Surviving the Office Jungle
Starting Your Morning Without Strangling Anyone
What to Wear
Another day in the office means another eight hours of observing soul-numbing regulations to fit into the corporate mold. The only chance you have at self-expression (besides that rad Jay-Z sticker on your cell phone—you are so street!) is the clothes you choose to wear. Your clothes give insight into who you are and give you a distinct advantage over those who show up to work naked. They say: "I am unique! I am a freethinking individual! And I can conform to a dress code!" Here's what the following outfits say about their owners.
Company golf shirt and khakis. The "uniform." Years of middle management have slowly chipped every trace of individuality off your soul. Wearing anything else at this point might get you labeled as a "loose cannon."
$2,000 Armani suit. You have arrived and have more tact than to wear a sandwich board reading, "I'm rich, suckahs!" It doesn't matter the cut or the color—it's Armani! And yes, your hair plugs look ridiculous, but nobody is going to say anything because you can have them fired—or maybe even killed! The suit is that good.
Old Iron Maiden T-shirt. Yeah, you may work in the mail room, but at least you still know how to party!
The sweater vest. Why not? Maybe getting beat up at work is more rewarding than getting beat up at school.
Corporate club wear. That black-on-blacker-black silk shirt is not just clothing; it's hip and stylish fashion. Older folks assume the wearer isin touch with today's youth and emerging trends. Younger folks assume he deals drugs on the side. In any case, he'll get promoted before you will.
Cowboy boots and hat. You're either an actual cowboy or a high-profile attorney.
Polyester two-piece blue suit with wrinkled white shirt and blue-and-red-striped tiE. Lonely, so very lonely.
Beige two-piece business suit. Smart and highly practical, these suits can go from the office to the hamper back to the office because you didn't have time to go to the cleaners after Delvin got his head stuck in a bait bucket. They usually have rich textures and subtle patterns—perfect for camouflaging baby vomit.
$2,000 Armani suit. You have arrived and most likely in a Hummer that takes up three parking spots.
Boyfriend sweater. You have a boyfriend! Nya-nya nya-nya nya-nyaaa!
Pink cashmere two-piece top and pearls. You're perky, punctual, and professional! You are sooo excited to be working here because your sorority sister works just three floors up and you have lunch together, like, every day! It's a scream!
Red tight midthigh leather skirt. "I'm finding me a husband!"
Green-and-red sweater with red-nosed reindeer on front and candy-cane trim. You have holiday cheer with capital H-C! Your enthusiasm is infectious, especially this time of year. If the Secret Santa program is canceled this year because management insists on "only non-religiously-affiliated-holiday recognition" you will kill everybody in the office.
Everybody into the Carpool: The Art of Getting to Work Without Spending a Dime
Not only do employers expect you to take forty-plus hours out of your week to sit in a cramped little cubicle, they expect you to get there yourself. Traffic takes forever, and with the price of gas skyrocketing, soon it'll cost you more to get to work than you're going to take home in your measly little paycheck. Well, not anymore. With these money-saving tips, you'll soon be able to supersize your lunch—and get change back to boot.
Invite a coworker to dinner and drug him. When he comes to in the morning greet him with a cup of coffee and say, "You still look a little groggy. I'll drive us to work in your car!" Be sure to hide his wallet in your couch so you can get a ride home.
You pay taxes, right? Hijack a bus.
Start a carpool. When it finally comes your turn to drive, pick a fight with the other members of the carpool and quit in a huff. Repeat as necessary.
Biking is a fun and practical way to get to work for free—if you're a total dork.
Take the train to work. What's that, you say? Your city doesn't have a commuter rail system? No problem. Just hop a boxcar on a freight train and live the romantic life of a hobo. It'll be something to tell your grandkids about . . . if you don't get shived.
Why not just crash at work? You can stash some clean clothes and microwave burritos in a desk drawer. At night you could sit in other people's cubicles and pretend you're them. Maybe then you'll feel loved.
Top Ten Suitable Greetings for When You'd Rather Say, "Leave Me Alone!"
Some things are better left unsaid, like entire conversations with annoying coworkers. You know the situation: you come in the office with your first cup of coffee in hand, wanting only to sit at your desk, fully wake up, and focus on the day's work. But before your butt hits the chair, the office chatterbox steps in front of you, ready to trap you into a twenty-minute conversation about the fascinating television show he or she watched last night. Here are some useful phrases to nip the conversation in the bud. Keep in mind, sometimes offense is the best defense.
1. "Can't talk! Last night I converted to Buddhism and took a vow of—damn!"
2. "Give me just a second." Close your eyes and say softly to yourself, "It's okay to ask coworkers for money, it's okay to ask coworkers for money . . ."
3. "I'm too busy picturing you naked to talk to you right now."
4. "Can't . . . talk . . . coffee . . . poisoned . . . must . . . get . . . help."
5. "Can this wait? My fingernails are slowly growing right now and it's a little distracting."
6. "Next one who talks hates babies, starting now!"
7. "Good morning? Who the hell are you, the morning police?!"
A Handbook for Surviving the Office Jungle. Copyright © by Jeffrey Editors of CareerBuilder.com. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.