Mailbag Vol. 3 – Bad Happy Hour Showings, Asking for a Raise & How to Get Fired

Every month or so, we’ll be answering your questions about work, life and balance. Thank you to all who submitted questions, and for everyone else, be sure to email workretiredie@gmail.com to have yours answered in the next version.  And don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly newsletter, where answers will be posted first. Check out last month’s mailbag here.

The questions:

Question: How do you recover from a bad showing at a happy hour?

Wooooo boy. I have been the ‘drunk guy at a happy hour’ and I have been ‘guy shitting on the drunk guy at the happy hour,’ and let me tell you, it so much more fun to mock your peers than walk into work on a Friday morning after getting shitfaced on spicy margaritas and telling your boss about your fear of intimacy the night before.

Normally, when it comes to hangover anxiety after a bad night out, I like to remind myself that no one is thinking about you or really cares about anyone besides themselves. However, when it comes to office happy hours, people absolutely care because nothing is more salacious than another coworker getting way too drunk. They are 100% saying stuff like “woah Andrew was pretty drunk last night huh? That was embarrassing and we have zero respect for him now. And also, I don’t think I like him anymore.” And you know what, they’re not wrong for thinking that. Loser. 

Oh my god there he goes – that guy who none of us will ever speak to again because he got so drunk and pathetic last night.

Luckily, you can deal with this. My advice is going to be very similar to going to work with a black eye. It’s a simple 5 step process. 

  1. Show up to the office the next day.
    1. Do not call in ‘sick’ or work remotely. You’ve taken a bad situation and made it even worse. Everyone knows you’re faking and it’s not like you can call in sick for the rest of your life. You have to confront this like a grown up. 
  2. Own it. 
    1. If you’re weird about it, people will be weird about it. If you have a good sense of humor, people will leave you alone. 
  3. Have a few jokes ready to go. 
    1. Once you get through the initial embarrassment, channel your pain into award winning comedy. I generally will wait until a silence falls in the open office and then loudly say “anyone else feel like their skull is being jackhammered right now?” This not really a ‘joke’ but people like it.
  4. Make sure you get someone else incredibly drunk at the next happy hour. 
    1. Take notes of who is the meanest to you today. They’re your victim the next time you go out. Time to make someone else the story of the office. 
  5. Don’t do it again (at least for like 6 months)
    1. You’re allowed basically one bad night out of every 12 happy hours. Not a math guy but that’s 92% rate of being a good drunk. That’s A-! We’ll take that. 

Question: How do I get fired without cause? 

I have been trying to do this since the second that I started working. Getting fired and then coasting off a wrongful termination lawsuit for 5 – 7 years is basically my dream scenario. It goes without saying that Jean Ralphio from Parks & Rec is my personal hero.

Unfortunately, I haven’t figured it out yet and am forced to go to work and give my full 50% every day. BUT I do have a solid plan for getting fired for performance, which should buy you a decent amount of time and really help your work/life balance. The only trick to this is you have to have absolutely ZERO shame or pride, which luckily is the exact kind of reader this blog attracts. 

Outside of mass layoffs and restructurings, getting fired is pretty hard in Corporate America, mainly because they are scared of the wrongful termination lawsuit that I so desperately crave.  Here’s how you do it and drag out a nice 3 month window.

Step 1: Just stop working. 

This is even easier now that everyone is remote. Join calls and say nothing. Respond to maybe 10% of emails. If you have work you need to do, just don’t do it. 

Step 2: Continue to stop working

After about 2 weeks of this, your boss will probably have a performance review with you. They might put you on a performance plan. So be it. See if I care. 

Step 3: Do like a little bit of work 

Try for about a week or two to get them off your back. 

Step 4: Stop working again

I think you get like 2 strikes on a performance plan. Every time you get a strike, just try kind of hard for like 2 weeks and start the cycle over. 

Eventually, you’ll get fired but you’ve bought yourself a solid 3 months of straight up not working and having the time of your life. 

Given that the world is falling to pieces and jobs don’t exist anymore, I would not really recommend doing this. Just do what I do and be a normal, nice enough person who works just hard enough to not get fired and you’ll last for 30 years in Corporate America. 

This advice is basically the plot to Office Space

Question: Was Tarzan light enough to swing from Vines or was that all BS? 

As we all know, Tarzan was a definite real person who existed and not a made up excuse for Phil Collins to drop the album of the century. People think Tarzan is soooo cool and soooo strong and tough but I’m not buying it. I think he was just lucky. Lucky enough to have the perfect upbringing to become an absolute specimen. Frankly, if I was dropped into the jungle as a child and raised by apes, I would be at least twice as strong as Tarzan was. I blame my failed athletic career on my parents, who refused to feed me jaguar meat, let me walk on my knuckles, or wrestle ape friends voiced by Rosie O’Donnell during my formative years. It stunted my growth and you can tell.

Anyways, back to the question. As we’ve established, Tarzan is sort of a fraud of a man, but I don’t think he was lying about the vine swinging. I’m assuming you’re asking about the lianas, a generic term for the high-climbing woody vines found in the tropics, native to the Americas and Africa? Then yes, it’s entirely possible. These are over a foot in diameter and can hold the weight of an orangutan, which are generally 180 – 220 pounds (aka Tarzan size.) However, I think it’s less about the strength of the vine and more about how dense a jungle is. It’s pretty hard to swing vine to vine in a jungle that’s cluttered with vegetation, animal life, and just like a shitload of trees. It’s more about swinging from a vine to a tree to a branch and to another vine, ya know? 

Then again, I have no experience with this since my parents decided to raise me as a human and ruin my life. Moving on.

Jane could get it. Not gonna lie to you

PS – apparently girls think Tarzan is hot? The man can’t speak, hasn’t showered in his life, and picks fleas out of his own hair. And most importantly, I am not jealous of him at all.

Question: Let’s say, hypothetically, there’s a ping pong table (or pool table, or whatever) in the office. Is it alright to use that to take a break or blow off some steam? Or is it one of those things that you’re not supposed to use because it looks bad?

I firmly believe stuff like this (and kegs in the kitchen or TVs in the break room) are invented by start-ups and ad agencies to get away with paying people absolutely nothing in exchange for ‘good culture.’ I also think they’re a trap.  

Look, these things are there for you to use but don’t be a moron about it. There’s nothing wrong with playing a quick game during lunch, after 5 or maybe even between calls in the afternoon. And if you’re good at your job, no one is going to give a shit. But if you’re on thin ice, this can only make you look bad. Unless you are insanely good at ping pong or pool. This might actually get you promoted. 

My first internship was at a digital advertising startup that basically just stole your data and served you ads. When I was working there, this one sales guy was CONSTANTLy playing pool. I was 18 and even I knew he was doing it too much. He got fired like 6 weeks in. It definitely wasn’t because of that but it’s a bad look if you’re already horrible at your job.  Also, he kind of sucked as a person and wore a lot of aftershave. Again, not why he was fired, but it didn’t do him any favors. I also think I saw him making out with the janitor lady one night but I don’t really know.

Why would you need healthcare? We have exposed brick AND a ping pong table!

What’s the best way to ask for a raise or promotion? Working a desk job I feel like I’m pretty replaceable, but then I see some of my mediocre coworkers bitch and moan until they get what they want, and they often do. 

Definitely ask for one. You are strictly doing this job for the money. So take care of your money. Now, how do you go about it? 

I only know Corporate America, but I assume this applies to most of the world –  if you want to get promoted, you need to do the job a level above you for at least 3 months before you actually get promoted. You think you deserve to be a manager? Start taking on extra work, speaking up more in meeting, helping out your team members, etc. This will prove that you’re capable of doing the job and make your boss feel comfortable that you can handle it.

Your boss wants you to do well. When their direct report is a high performer, it reflects well on them. Help them help you. 

Now maybe you’re firmly in middle management like myself and don’t really want a promotion to a job with actual responsibilities – you just want a raise so you can afford an apartment with windows. When it comes to asking for a raise, be willing to get creative with what you ask. Sometimes, a department has a set budget for salary and your boss might not be able to give you more money if they wanted to.  See if you can negotiate things like more vacation days or a bonus or weekend trips to your CEO’s beach house (you never know.) 

Most importantly, don’t take things personal if it doesn’t work out. Don’t complain about someone else getting promoted over you or shit talk your coworkers. Just get your resume together and start looking for something new. Your company does not give a shit about you and you don’t owe them anything.

Rapid Fire:

Best way to say farewell to your team after getting a promotion.

Go to a happy hour, buy them all drinks with your newfound money, and then ditch those fucking losers forever. Let this small level of success go immediately to your head.  

I hacked into a celebrity’s Twitter account. What should I post? 

Definitely some bullshit scheme that everyone will figure out within 5 minutes. Honestly, the hacking was such a waste. Anyone who fell for that deserved to lose all their money. 

I want to know if I’m getting screwed with my salary, but I know it can be a bit of a taboo subject. Is there ever a good way to bring it up with coworkers, or is better to just never know?

If you’re friends with them, definitely ask. If not, don’t. People are weird about that stuff. 

Also there’s a very helpful website called fucking Glassdoor.com that you can use. Stop wasting my reader’s time on nonsense frivolity like this.

Don’t you want to quit and do something you actually enjoy? 

If I’m not miserable, what will I make memes about? Much better to drift through life and suffer in a job that’s not that hard and pays my rent than actually experience any sort of true suffering. Also, I hate applying myself and love complaining, so technically I’m living my actual dream right now.   

This also applies to my mom but the Jesus character is a man so it makes sense to say Dad

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