I've always dreamed of writing a million-copy-selling self-help book, but since I'm not very good at anything, I thought it was just another pipe dream.
Then I realized: I'm good at being a failure! And I could help other people become failures! Instead of taking years to become a bitter, dismal, self-hating loser, I can teach you how to do it in months -- days, even!
Here are some quick and easy-to-follow lessons from what may be a publishing first: a self-hurt book. These tips are all from the chapter entitled "The Workplace: Failure On the Clock."
-- Drink on the job.
It sends the message that you're so talented, you don't even have to be sober to do this stinking job for which you're overqualified, anyway. You don't have a problem -- THEY'VE got the problem. They don't pay you enough to tell you what to do on your own time. Especially lunch. What do they think, that you're going to hang around here until somebody dies just to get the promotion you should have been given two years ago? Harris only got it because you were out with gout. He doesn't have alimony and child support to pay, and yet he's making all the money, the creepy little toady.
-- If you're unhappy, make sure everyone's unhappy.
Some people are afraid to show their feelings. Not you. If you're having a bad day, let people know it by making sure they have a bad day, too.
-- Let them know who should be the boss.
You SHOULD be the senior assistant to the associate manager of eastside office supply distribution, but all the women in the head office told Harris that you made them uncomfortable, when really you were just being friendly. Harris told them you were drinking in the broom closet. It's like they're all out to get you.
-- Realize that it's always someone else's fault.
Remember, none of your problems are caused by you. You're not the reason you're late for work; the cop who pulled you over for speeding is the one to blame. And you wouldn't have been speeding, except you got up late because you were out drinking until the bars closed, because Bob said "let's go get a drink." So if anyone's to blame, it's Bob.
-- Tell co-workers what they're doing wrong.
This is an especially effective way of derailing your career path. It works even better if you're not doing your own job particularly well. Most people are too polite to say, "Hey, jerk, how come you've got time to tell me how to do my job, but yours isn't even halfway done?" At least they're too polite the first two times. The third time, they'll let loose.
-- Talk about office politics all the time.
That's why you had to take diversity training, twice. Office politics. That's why you got a bad review. Office politics. That's why you flunked the random drug test. Office politics, yet again.
-- Don't be a butt-kisser.
All those people who get their work done right and on time just to make the boss happy make you sick, don't they? The little suck-ups will do anything to get ahead: show up on time, work hard, keep their noses to the grindstone. Well, they can't buy you, can they? Do stuff whenever you feel like it, not when it's convenient for the strivers. Like Harris.
-- Let the boss know you're doing her a favor by even showing up.
This single step can speed up the whole process of your goal of becoming a lifelong loser. Make sure everyone in the company knows you're just here until something better comes along. It practically guarantees you'll be laid off in the next round of "right-sizing," leading to your long, steady spiral into a bottomless pit of remorse and recrimination. Which is what Harris probably had planned for you all along, the backstabbing, credit-grabbing butt-kisser.
Remember, only you have the power to royally screw up your life. I can only tell you how; it's up to YOU to act on these surefire steps to absolute failure. Good luck!
(Contact Jim Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.)