Sitting Comfortably In The Curmudgeon Chair


It’s not a matter of being too cool.

I am many things. I am awkward. I am short. I am cranky. I am loyal and kind and can remember song lyrics to all the songs.

One thing I am not is too cool.

I am an all grown up girl. I work in the IT department at a construction company. I won’t bore you with all the reasons why morale has been abysmal for the past few years, just trust me, it’s abysmal.

It seems my company is taking a stab at boosting workplace morale by making next week a ‘fun’ week.

As an all grown up girl, my idea of fun is not participating in events that would appeal to a third grader. It’s possible that this is because I’m a 51 year old menopausal woman. It’s also possible it doesn’t appeal to me because it’s fucking stupid.

Here is the schedule:

Monday – wear your favorite sports team shirtI don’t have a favorite sports team. I don’t like sports. Unless I can find a ‘fantasy makeup league’ shirt, then I’m not wearing one. 

Tuesday – Dress to the nines day. Dress it up, come to work all fancy. Is…is this a punishment? Seriously? One of the only perks to working here is that I can wear jeans and a t-shirt every day. 

Wednesday – Twin day. Pick a friend and dress alike. What? Are you fucking kidding me? What the actual fuck is this nonsense? I guess I could ask Priscilla, Queen of the cubicle if she wants to dress alike. We both wear a lot of black, so we could. But there is a world of difference between me and Priscilla. We wouldn’t be twins. We’d be ‘before’ and ‘after’. We’d be ‘young and hot’ and ‘old and not hot’. And we’d never be able to match shoes. She wears stripper heels every day. I’d break a hip. 

Thursday – Mix match day. Don’t dress to impress! Wear that flower shirt with plaid pants.  I guess I might be able to do this one. Although, everything goes with jeans, right? I have jeans or black yoga pants. Maybe I can’t pull this one off. 

Friday – Military Day/Patriotic Day.  I have next Friday scheduled off. My 3 year old granddaughter is staying with us next week and we’re going out for a mani/pedi day next Friday. So this is at least one day I don’t have to worry about coming to work not being in the spirit of things. 

We’re having a picnic on Thursday. Which sounds nice, but we have to provide the food. A sign-up sheet will be coming around. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the less enamored I am with eating potluck food. I don’t know these people’s hygiene habits. I don’t want to eat potato salad with cat hair and dandruff in it. Not only that, but this means I have to prepare something. And how do they know what my habits are? For all they know, I am disgusting.

For those of you reading who eat food that I fix, I promise, I am not disgusting. I use fresh ingredients. I wash my hands, and I hardly EVER drop food on the floor, pick it back up and use it anyway. 

Personally, and I admit that I am not an expert, I think that treating employees like they matter and rewarding them when they do a good job would be a good way to raise morale.

People walk around here like shell-shocked zombies. This problem isn’t going to be fixed by a ‘fun week’. All fun week is going to do is highlight how dreary all the other days are.

Or am I just a curmudgeon?


About the author


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Sheldon would like Thursday at your company since that’s pretty much how he dresses every day.
    But yes, I agree. Third grade stuff.
    I like potlucks. Hell, I like food–period. Never have I gotten sick from a potluck. I guess I’m just lucky.
    Mani-pedi with the grandkid! Woohoo! Sounds like a hoot!
    Can’t wait for your comments on the co-workers who participate. TAKE GOOD NOTES.

    • I didn’t even think about taking notes about the participants. BRILLIANT!

      I am torn with the potluck…I DO appreciate food that I don’t have to fix. I just have to NOT think about the possibilities. I’ve never gotten sick, either…my brain just fucks with me. And I avoid anything with shrimp in it. because ew. Not that I don’t like shrimp. I love shrimp..but the thought of eating other people’s shrimp is nauseating.

  • You are so not a curmudgeon…or, maybe we both are. I can not STAND any sort of themed dressing. I’ve never liked Halloween (even when I was a kid)…I don’t wear red/pink on Valentine’s Day, no green on St. Patrick’s Day, no Christmas tree earrings for me, and so on and so forth. No way. No thank you. Nope.

    • I don’t have ANY theme clothes either. No fucking way. Although, my son did give me his Doctor Who t-shirt that has the whos from whoville at Christmas on it. I might wear that next year. Other than that, I am with you

  • As I read, “…boosting workplace morale by making next week a ‘fun’ week,” I thought, “Oh GOD. You poor woman” Do you have the option to telecommute? Because this sounds like HELL. I am looking forward to the report, but I can’t understand why grown adults think other grown adults want to dress like toddlers and homeless people. And I am with you on potlucks–who knows what their hygiene habits are, and frankly, half the time people don’t use enough salt and their food is bland. I can’t eat whatever I want whenever I want, and it makes me cranky to waste calories on subpar food. Well, as I was thinking driving to the grocery store yesterday at noon (noon on a Friday–possibly THE stupidest time to go grocery shopping where I live), it may be a sampling of Hell on earth, but maybe you’ll get some good material out of it. The glass is half full?

    • I really need to look at it that way…good blog post material.

      No, I can’t telecommute. I could actually get my job done if I did but my boss doesn’t allow us to do that because if we aren’t there than he has no one to take his bad moods out on.

  • Reminds me of a company I once worked for who started an incentive/reward program wherein if you had a great month you could be nominated to be the “Big Bean” of the month. The reward part was you had a gigantic can of beans sitting on your desk all month to hail you as the “Big Bean.” Those of us (like me) who worked from home could still participate, but if one of us became the Big Bean, the can of beans would stay in the office on the receptionist’s desk with our name on the can of beans! You couldn’t even be rewarded by at least being able to eat a giant can of beans…. no, every month the same giant can of beans would be passed on to someone else. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff!

      • I laughed so hard when I read that Big Bean memo I was literally in tears. Didn’t stay much longer with that company, but I saved that memo for years just for the laughs.

        Can’t wait to read your follow up on your “fun” week at work. 🙂

    • hahah…That would be funny…although, I own so very few dress up clothes…it’s gonna be tough and apparently, we are expected to participate. fucking hell.

  • Why the heck is it all dress related? Aren’t they doing some sort of office games, all staff lunch or something too? If it’s just dress-up week, that’s super annoying.

  • A curmudgeon? Hell, yes. I was just remarking on how many of my friends are too. And me. When I worked in a place that tried to do enforced hilarity, team eating, and suchlike nonsense, one of my curmudgeon friends suggested “Underwear on the Outside Day.” It didn’t fly, but provided terrific mental images, which -did- boost my morale.

  • I would flat out refuse to participate. I’m not spending $$s for sports shirts, dressy gowns and mismatched clothes for something this stupid. I’m with you on this one.

  • Hellllooo – I’m not inside much lately, so I’m trying to catch up.

    YES, this seems like it should perk things right up. I can’t imagine something more ‘fun’ than bringing Spirit Week to work for grownups. Why don’t they just call it “Middle School Week”? TWIN day? Seriously?? What are they, 12?

    If I recall office work correctly, an ACTUAL grownup ‘fun’ week would be — Show Up at 11 Monday, Say Anything on the Phone Tuesday, Yoga Pants and Socks Wednesday (Optional Cut-offs if sunny), Throw Out That Filing Thursday, and Fancy Drink Friday, with a bonus Get Out of Work Free card, which you could use on any given day.

    I work at home anyway, so today my idea of “fun” will mean taking the laptop to the gazebo with, or possibly without, a drink. Because it’s not noon yet…Plus, it’s hard to type with wet fingernail polish. Because I’m super motivated like that.

    Have a great weekend!
    (p.s. I made a post up just so I could show off my last cake, just for you)

  • The morale at my workplace is BAD. So bad. We’ve never gone to such lengths to try and raise morale but I can’t tell you how many “culture change” meetings I’ve sat in that suggest ideas such as this. Luckily, we never actually DO anything we set out to do, so that takes care of that.

  • You’re not a curmudgeon. We did this at my last “real job” (like, 9 years ago) and it decidedly DID. NOT. WORK. I personally made excuses to not participate in any of the events and the people who did participate were uncomfortable and miserable. Bad morale in the workplace = bad morale in the workplace and going bowling or wearing sport jerseys is not going to change that. These are band-aid solutions to deep-rooted management issues that need to be dealt with by… management. But generally they don’t want to. :/

  • OK — this totally reminds me of “spirit week” at high school — usually right before the homecoming game and dance, if I’m remembering correctly. I didn’t like it then and I wouldn’t like it now — so no, Michelle, you are not a curmudgeon. You are just a grown up woman who expects your workplace to be less craptastic and more bearable by actually having effective management and somewhat adult, professional workers (and no, that wouldn’t apply to YOU — just everyone who works around you — and we might give Priscilla a pass as well, since she seems fabulous).

    PS – the whole “I hardly EVER drop food on the floor, pick it back up, and use it anyway” had me rolling! And, on the rare occasion when you DO — I’m sure you abide by the 5 second rule, and you probably blow or brush the dirt off of it before you throw it back into the pan!

  • True story: My former boss loved to have Hawaiian Shirt Fridays during the summer months. And everyone participated, because 1) her enthusiasm was infectious and 2) she didn’t come up with it as a substitute for being a fair and dedicated boss. She’s moved on, and the guy who now thinks he’s in charge (whole other story) is trying desperately to revive Hawaiian Shirt Fridays. But he’s the only person who actually does it, because 1) he pretty much treats people like shit and 2) if we participated, he would take it as a sign that we support his ongoing power grab. Fuck Hawaiian Shirt Fridays, is what I’m saying.

  • I can’t stress how much I empathise with this. I totally hate that kind of thing and have been more than a little curmudgeonly in my refusal to join in with it, since my early twenties so I don’t think it’s age related. I think your BS tolerance level is about the same level as mine!
    I suggest going in dressed as Coco the clown all week, which could suit all categories if you think about it…plus I know someone there would just love that.
    I bet the person who came up with the whole idea is the office douche and needs a personality transplant…either that or it was someone with a degree in HR

  • Your comment about not being a barbarian is cracking me up. Having worked in restaurants for years, I once saw a breakfast cook catch a piece of ham she dropped with her foot to avoid letting it hit the floor. She put it back on the grill to kill any foot bacteria it may have picked up before serving it.
    The only official morale boosting behavior I remember from the jobs I’ve had have been raises (which worked) and music (which only kind of worked because the employees could never agree and would end up squabbling over it). My manager at one restaurant I cooked at used to put a sixer of Corona in my fridge before my dinner shifts, and that worked pretty well (and was smart of her, as it kept us from openly drinking the same brands of beer we served, customers and owners can’t tell if you’ve gone across the street to the liquor store).
    I don’t think you sound like a curmudgeon, I don’t think I’d want to participate in that sort of BS either.

  • Wow. I might wear a full body cast in order to get out of that. Theme weeks were not made for cynical people. Clearly they were made more for people who have favorite sports teams.

    I once worked in an office where morale was low. We decided we needed a potluck. Everybody was supposed to bring something yellow, and wear yellow (because it was happy or something). I made lemon bars and had to shop for something big and yellow because I was hugely pregnant.

    Yellow day came, and I missed it and had a baby instead. So that’s one strategy for getting out of that shit.

    The next time morale was low, we pooled funds and hired a shaman to burn sage in the office. We all followed her around and made up chants and dances. It was awesome. But when she left, morale was still low and now the whole building smelled like burnt hair.

    I guess the sports team t-shirts are as good as anything.

  • Sweet baby Jesus, I am so sorry you have to go through this. My work schedules a bowling tournament once a year and I thought I was in hell. Can you magically develop mono that week? Or, maybe just up and die for a week, and then resurrect yourself on Sunday? Because anything would be better than that week of insanity.

    • I actually had mono when I was 38 years old. THe doctor told me that I was the oldest person he had ever treated with mono. And yes, I wouldn’t mind feeling super tired for a week to get out of it…although, when I had mono, I still went to work. I only missed one day

  • That would make me feel more like leaving the place than increasing my morale to stay !!!! I’m a little like you – 48yo menopausal woman who works where I do because I can waer jeans and a T-shirt to work every day.
    I have found that most team building exercises that companies organise tend to do anything but build a team – everyone rolls their eyes and lands up hating the people they work with even more.
    Now sure you wearing different clothes is going to boost morale so good luck with that one. On the up side, maybe you could start a bit of a fashion blog and take photos of the outfits others wear to work !!
    Have the best week that you can !

  • No, you’re not being a curmudgeon. The whole concept of dressing up or doing anything silly at work is a PITA — you’ve got to do all the things you normally have to do, but now you’re being distracted by all the people who have to comment on the dress-up theme, or police people who didn’t join in, or who drop by your cubicle to show off what a joiner they are…. they may as well call it “Let’s Distract Each Other and Get Nothing Done Week”.

  • You and PQOTC need a radio show. On satellite radio. Maybe a morning show so you can justify having a rooster crow at the top of the show. A rooster you both can refer to as the BIG COCK. Like “The BIG COCK says it’s time to talk chicken porn.”

    I really don’t know where to go from there. I’m about ideas, not details. And not very good ideas.

    HILARIOUS blog!

  • I so get you. It even irritates me when my kids have to dress up for shit. Ain’t nobody got time to find a bandana or a cowboy hat, amirite? You’re not a curmudgeon, but your management is possibly on psychotropic drugs.

By Michelle


RSIH in your inbox