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Get Your Halloween Out of My Face!

Get Your Halloween Out of My Face!
    Is this "eye" evil enough for you?

    I know some people love Halloween, but can we keep it out of the office?

    This is not to say that you can’t go out and have all the drunken, costumed fun you want with your friends after hours — I just don’t want to deal with it at work.

    Remember, we’re not friends — I’m just barely tolerating you for 8-9 hours a day, and if I win the lottery, I’ll be flipping you off on my way out the door. I don’t want to be the killjoy, but it’s just that I think there’s no joy in this to start with.

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    Why?

    Really?!

    Hmmm — let me think…

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    #1: “I wish I could forget.”

    Putting aside all the inappropriate costumes which I’m not addressing here, because I think the problem with those is obvious, there’s still plenty more who dress up on Halloween in the office, and there are consequences for doing so. Namely, we remember, or more accurately– we can’t forget. Seriously I wish people would think these things through:

    • When the 300 lb. nerd comes in a skin-tight Superman costume, there’s just no “unremembering” that. That was two years ago, and yet every time he sends out an email, I still think of the comment “I guess Doritos are his Kryptonite.” Even when I’m looking you in the eye all I can see is your junk in spandex.
    • Clowns. There is nothing in America more polarizing than clowns. Some people love them, some people hate and fear them. Do you really want to take the chance that your boss or your boss’s boss is a clown-hater, and that you’ll be condemned to dead-end work for the rest of you time at the company?

    And it’s not just coworkers you need to consider before coming in looking like a fool. Last year we were desperately trying to hire someone, and no one thought that calling them into interview on the costume day was a problem. Two of the people interviewing were in full, ridiculous costume. The person never returned our calls after. When I pointed this out, I was told the costumes let them know “what a fun office we are”, which is problematic because:

    • We were going to expect that person to work very hard initially to catch up, so we needed a serious, motivated person.
    • We’re not a fun office. We’re the opposite of fun– we’re overly political, nitpicking, backbiting, gossiping jerks, and that’s just my boss. And one day of costumes doesn’t make us any less awful.

    Finally, a meeting on Halloween is half straight and half scary, so it looks like when The Addams Family visits their neighbors.

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    #2: The Enthusiasm Gap

    There’s always an enthusiasm and creativity gap at the office Halloween party. Some people go way over the top, and others phone it in. Two years ago one of the managers criticized people who didn’t put much effort into costumes. Really. Where in our job descriptions does it say we have to have good costumes? “Oh, I see here that you have an engineering degree from MIT, but what was your costume last year?”

    My biggest concern is that our job performance should not be judged by our costumes. Any attempt to correlate effort in costume to success at work is ridiculous and insulting. The boss who criticizes someone for not being in the spirit ends up sounding like the restaurant manager in Office Space complaining that she has only the minimum pieces of flair. We have enough lazy, stupid people not pulling their weight, so it’s a bad idea to encourage them to divert what little effort they actually put into the job into picking out a costume.

    And don’t get me started on when they give out a prize like getting a paid day off FOR THE BEST COSTUME. How about a paid day off for working all weekend on the presentation that won a new client? Or for working late for two weeks to launch a project that had to meet a ridiculous deadline, especially considering none of us get overtime?

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    But the thing that always makes my case about how ridiculous things have gotten is the voting for Best Costume. Because that’s when it all goes horribly wrong. When the shy girl wears the same costume as the popular girl, but the popular girl puts almost no effort in and still gets more votes. It always happens. Priceless.

    And then there’s the cruelty. One year a few people voted for an annoying coworker who wasn’t in costume and he won for his “douche costume”. It may have been deserved, but it was mean. And the people who put on earnest costumes and made an effort were mad because the prize didn’t go to them, which it should have. I almost regret what I did.

    So, in conclusion…

    Halloween in the office is great if you want to see your coworkers dressed up, spend way too much time competing for something that won’t help us go home on time, or if you’re into something that creates new opportunities for favoritism and hurt feelings.

    Let’s just skip it and save all our resentment and hatred for the work that pays the bills.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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