Monday, October 3, 2011

The Cubical 007 or Tips For The Office “Nosy Parker”

call me on my extension

Information is power. No, this is not a CIA briefing but a simple set of tools to help you stay in touch with the “office current events”.

Most of us go to work with the sole purpose of surviving and make it through the week. For this you need to know what to expect. I was always a big fan of perfect information and minimizing the surprise factor.

We all know what a simple CV sent to HR can mean or a mail about a coming project needs to be done.
I recently left my job which concludes 5 years in a cubical. Everything here was written by blood and experience.

So, when it comes to “beating the punch” apply these rules and you are sure to have little surprises.

1. Print on the same printer as the boss’s secretary and look through all the prints sitting there each time you collect yours.
You never know what you can find. CV’s for a position, flight tickets (it is always good to know when the boss is out of the office), a sales lead, an informative mail and much more. Remember, as long as it’s on the printer’s tray, it’s public.

2. When in a bathroom stall, try to minimize any noises so people will feel free enough to gossip. People have a false sense of privacy once they enter a restroom. If you just keep quiet you might catch a juicy story or two.

3. Time coffee break and make your coffee slowly. In the name of multitasking a lot of the office gossip is done by the coffee machine. If you happen to be there when a group in conversation approaches, take your time or even pretend the coffee is bad and make a new pot.

Have you seen what Barbra is wearing? OMG
4. Have an "information barter" relationship with the secretary. There is no way you can match a secretary’s knowledge nor surprise her. Start by telling her small pieces of information that doesn’t mean a thing. In the office jungle, if you tell her about whom really smells might lead her to tell you about the upcoming polygraph test.

5. Make friends in other departments. If you work for a big company the most informative departments are HR, accounting, at least one middle management dude and the mail room.

6. Go lunching. If you feed them they will talk. Nothing is more effective then complaining over a hotdog to get some dirt out. If there’s a closed group that go out together try catching them at their hangout once or twice and keep your ears sharp.

Funny to run into y'all here. got room for one more?
7. Stay away from the office gossiper. It might surprise you but if you hang with him/her (let’s face it, it’s a her) people wouldn’t feel safe to confide in you. Remember, your mission is to gather info, not spread it around.

8. Once a week put a snack on your desk. If your desk become an attraction than people will come. Once you have 3 people standing together they are bound to talk about office stuff. If someone takes out baby pictures it’s time to shut down the entire operation. If nobody eats it you can try this.

9. Try car pooling with other people. This is a great way to apply paragraph no.5. Offer someone to car pool and now you have another set of ears you can dig into twice a day. Plus, people let their guards down once they leave work and have no guards 10 minutes after they just woke up.

10. Take a look at the HR printer/fax. Same as no.1 but for a different purpose.

11. Have a conversation with the security/cleaning personal. They know everything. They know what you ate, when you came, when you left and for how long. Treat them with respect and they will pay you back tenfold.

12. Choose a chat platform to talk with colleagues in real time. Sometimes something takes place that needs an immediate response or attention. You hear yelling, someone’s crying or a big long meeting and can’t really show that you talk about it, which is when you need to utilize your office net on an on-line chat service so you may start gathering information. I used Skype which is “business oriented” and it worked great.

Have you tried the new chinese place?
So you want to be a spy? Ocean 11 bad ass? That is not the case. You would never have complete information and you’ll only get burned trying to get it.

Applying all the above starting tomorrow is a great way to become the office outcast in a week. I recommend picking the 3 that fits your office the best and start there.

So tell me how it went for you.

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