Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Most Fired Man in America

Editor’s Note:

For years, workers have suffered through the advice of pundits, over-achievers and corporate lackeys, some of whom have had only three or four jobs in their entire lives.

Wouldn’t it be better to get career advice from someone with experience at literally thousands of jobs?

Baz Truman thinks so. Since the early 1980s, Baz Truman has been working at and getting fired from more jobs in a week than most people get fired from in a lifetime. Baz’ single-minded determination to excel at his career - no matter the cost – has gotten him fired from some of the world’s biggest and brightest companies.

Look here for Baz Truman’s weekly career advice on matters ranging from sexual discrimination to Christmas parties. We hope you enjoy it.

The Most Fired Man in America
By Baz Truman

Q. We have a customer service rep that insists on going bra-less when she comes to work. This wouldn’t be a problem except that she’s extremely well endowed and our staff finds it distracting. Is there a tactful way to suggest that this woman reconsider wearing a bra?

Distracted in Denver

Dear Distracted in Denver,

We have exactly the same situation here at my current job and I think I’ve learned a few valuable lessons.

To begin with, I suggest that you refrain from yelling, “Man, what a rack” whenever the woman walks into the room. I just tested that approach on a co-worker – and though it seemed like a good idea at first, I can see the Human Resources director and a security guard walking toward me. I’ll need to be quick with my advice.

Before you make any move, it’s important to ask yourself a few honest questions, the most important being, “What are my chances of sleeping with this woman?” If the answer is “not likely” or “I’m not interested” then ask yourself another difficult question, “What am I? Some kind of gay guy?”

Just for the sake of conversation, let’s assume you’re not gay and you’ve just got some kind of twisted idea of what constitutes a good working environment. A good example may be all that this chesty woman needs, so try this:

Start wearing a bra on the outside of your clothes at work. Make a point of approaching the woman and saying things like, “Boy, my breasts feel much lighter when I’m wearing a bra” and “This coconut hammock is the only thing that’s gonna keep me from looking like my grandma in five years.” Keep this up until she gets the idea.

I have two cautions, however. First, if you put the bra on and your chest actually fits into the cups, lay off the donuts at the morning meeting. Second, if you start to feel really sexy with the bra on and start to wear it at home – I've got news for you: You are some kind of gay guy.

Q. One person on my staff is consistently leaving work early or coming in late. When I question him about this, he invariably has some excuse about a medical appointment or visit by the cable repair guy. I don’t want to be difficult, but should I ask him to start bringing a doctor’s note in when he misses work?

Tired of Excuses

Dear Tired of Excuses,

Doctor’s note? Do you care if this guy actually has scurvy or something like it? Hell, no. You just want him to stop biting into your two-hour lunches and golf meetings.

You can nip this behavior in the bud by following these simple guidelines:

Whenever an employee asks to leave early for a medical appointment, insist that you go along for moral support. If he’s lying, he’ll fold like a card table. If he’s telling the truth, a couple of medical visits with his boss will likely encourage him to take care of his scurvy on his own time. Bam! You’re back on the golf course and lunch trysting with that Navy wife in accounting.

A few words of caution, though. This approach usually results in you spending a lot of time in gynecology offices with the female members of your staff. Never ask to go into the examination room with them. My experience shows that even though you’re just trying to be helpful, chicks are weird about that kind of thing.

Also, though doctors insist they have the patient’s welfare in mind, they have absolutely no interest in discussing home remedies you found on the Internet.

Finally, though this is a great time to catch up on your “Cosmopolitan” reading in the lobby, they really get spooked if you take the magazines into the bathroom.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Bears, Hot Tubs, Bubble Bath

My brother, Roger, teaches computer security for a company in the Poconos Mountains. The Poconos area – long famous for honeymoons and mirrors on the ceiling – is mightily working to change its image from something like a bad Rod Stewart song to something more tourist-friendly and corporate. Me, I’d stick with the sexy image.

For instance, I have always assumed that my brother teaches all of his courses from a heart-shaped hot tub. Though the hot tub is filled to the brim with tasteful, flesh-covering bubble bath, Roger is always wearing his suit.

This is because nothing ruins a fantasy quicker than picturing your brother naked in it.

Roger’s class, however, is made up entirely of hot women wearing pajamas. Every now and again they stop to settle Windows vs. Linux debates with impromptu pillow fights – the way God intended Windows vs. Linux debates to be settled.

One night last week, my brother and two other instructors walked to their apartments after a night class. It’s cold in the Poconos this time of year, so they walked briskly and hunkered down in their coats.

Then they saw a man in a bear suit under a nearby street light.

This surprised Roger and he turned to ask one of the other instructors the most obvious question that comes to mind:

What is a guy in a bear suit doing on a Poconos street at ten in the evening?

Then, the guy in the bear suit stood up. His head came to about two feet below the ten foot street light.

Man, my brother thought, that guy is huge.

Then the thing snorted and a humungous cloud of vapor blew from its nose. This was not an eight foot tall guy in a bear suit. This was an actual bear.

So, the instructors ran. My brother describes it as something more akin to steady tactical retreat, but it involved moving away from the bear at a high rate of speed. Make your own judgment.

I love this story because I think it’s a telling one. I’m no ecology freak, but how separated are we from nature when three intelligent college graduates see a bear – in a mountainous, wooded area – and their first logical thought is…

What’s a guy in a bear suit doing on a Poconos street at ten in the evening?


Once safely away from the bear, the three men did the exact thing I would do in the same situation – they called animal control and alerted them to the bear’s presence.


Because nothing ruins your fantasy of civilization quicker than seeing an actual bear in the mountains.