Tuesday, July 19, 2005
FED Files - Volume VI
Since socializing (by socializing, I of course mean networking) is such an integral part of a federal employee's existence, it is necessary that each FED takes measures to be the most popular. Much like homecoming queens, FEDs will shamelessly campaign for poplularity. Since FEDs are not 17 year-old air-heads, they have devised other methods to be "most popular".
Just as in High School there are many benefits for people to obtain this coveted level of esteem. But it is most useful when a FED is passed up for a promotion. On this occasion, the din of the general out-cry is typically so great and lasts so long, that person who received the promotion will be unduly discouraged to the point of either early retirement or will be demoted after a particularly nasty EEO (Employee Equal opportunity) scandal.
As one might surmise the methods of attaining this popularity have indeed been updated since high school. No longer do these popular individuals pass out buttons with catchy slogans like "Jenny has lice, but Sarah is nice." No they are much more sophisticated now. Now they have numerous methods to employ to gain the esteem of their peer. A few include
- Being the birthday organizer (these people plan lunches for birthdays)
- Playing Santa Clause at Christmas time
- Going to every single event (even those that they're not invited to - it shows "initiative")
- Being a Floor Monitor (yes, we really do have floor monitors - they're for "emergencies")
- Be lenient with vacation time when "acting" ("acting" is a FED word for being in charge for someone who isn't there. Everyone takes turns at "acting" when their boss is out of the office.)
But the most effective way to make really good friends really quickly is to have what is lovingly referred to as a "bait pile". "Bait Piles" are usually cans, cups, etc on your desk filled with candy. I have seen Bazooka Bubble Gum, Life Savers, Smarties (that's my favorite), Tootsie Pops, miniature candy bars, Sugar Daddies, etc in people's "bait pile". Some people will even kick it up a notch on certain days of the week and have boxes of donuts, bagels, or cookies. Usually on Fridays, you can walk down the hall and get so sugared up you can barely stand yourself.
The purpose of the "bait pile" is, of course, manipulation. When people come to your "bait pile" they have to pretend like they have another reason for being there, since no one wants to look like a mooch. And people like me (who is addicted to Smarties), has to derive at least 6 such reasons per day. So we become very intimate acquaintances of our "bait pile's" owner. The "bait pile" that has baited me, is Jenny's. I know both of Jenny's children and husband (I even have a picture of them in my cube), I know Jenny's daily schedule, have helped Jenny with her knitting projects (yes, I knit), and will do any project Jenny suggests. I am like her slave because she has an unlimited supply of Smarties at her desk.
Undoutably, you are all wondering what my "bait pile" includes and more importantly who is attracted to my "bait pile". Sadly enough, my "bait pile" consists of one piece of Big Red gum, and a half of a container of Salted Sunflower Seeds. (I wasn't that great at being popular in high school either. I obviously never learned that skill.) The people who have been attracted to my "bait pile" is the mystery people who take my gum after I leave (probably the janitors, since I'm usually the last person on the floor to go home), and my boss's boss who comes in to talk about "running" and eats my sunflower seeds. Obviously, any lack of promotion for me will not only be not noticed, but also completely ignored.
Yes, the "bait pile" is one of the best investments for any FED. For $2.15/lb of Smarties you can buy the love and attention of numerous co-workers, many bosses, and even several peons (like me).