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January 1, 0001

HumourList Package #22 - Work Humour

Well folks, since work is eating up a lot of my free time lately, I guess it was about time to release a work humour Package. I’ve been collecting many of these for a while (I managed to get some jokes back from some of my sources after my hard disk crash). Speaking of crashes, let me give you a tidbit of advice: don’t ever use your computer in a lightning storm like I do… You never know when a bolt of lightning will rip through your phone line and leave your computer a piece of molten slag steaming on your desk. No, it didn’t happen to me - but it COULD…

To make up for subjecting all of you to all of those admin messages this weekend, this Package is a little longer for your enjoyment. To keep everyone up to date: the new list server is being tested as I type, and hopefully by next weekend we should have all of the bugs sorted out and fixed, and next weekend you should be able to subscribe to the new list.

Anyhow, on to the work humour:

Opening header is Copyright 1997 by Ian W. Douglas; all rights are reserved, and no portion should be copied in any way or modified in any way without permission of the author.

A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large high tech corporation. The CEO who was stepping down met with him privately and presented him with three numbered envelopes. “Open these if you run up against a problem you don’t think you can solve,” he said.

Well, things went along pretty smoothly, but six months later, sales took a downturn and he was really catching a lot of heat. About at his wits end, he remembered the envelopes. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, “Blame your predecessor.”

The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Satisfied with his comments, the press – and Wall Street – responded positively, sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.

About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO quickly opened the second envelope. The message read, “Reorganize.” This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.

After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on difficult times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.

The message said, “Prepare three envelopes.”


Marketing Buzz Words Translated:

What They Say What They Mean * NEW Different color from previous design * ALL NEW Parts not interchangeable with previous design * EXCLUSIVE Imported product * UNMATCHED Almost as good as the competition * DESIGNED SIMPLICITY Manufacturer’s cost cut to the bone * FOOLPROOF OPERATION No provision for adjustments * ADVANCED DESIGN The advertising agency doesn’t understand it * IT’S HERE AT LAST! Rush job; Nobody knew it was coming * FIELD-TESTED Manufacturer lacks test equipment * HIGH ACCURACY Unit on which all parts fit * DIRECT SALES ONLY Factory had big argument with distributor * YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT We finally got one that works * REVOLUTIONARY It’s different from our competitors * BREAKTHROUGH We finally figured out a way to sell it * FUTURISTIC No other reason why it looks the way it does * DISTINCTIVE A different shape and color than the others * MAINTENANCE-FREE Impossible to fix * RE-DESIGNED Previous faults corrected, we hope.. * HAND-CRAFTED Assembly machines operated without gloves on * PERFORMANCE PROVEN Will operate through the warranty period * MEETS ALL STANDARDS Ours, not yours * ALL SOLID-STATE Heavy as **** * BROADCAST QUALITY Gives a picture and produces noise * HIGH RELIABILITY We made it work long enough to ship it * SMPTE BUS COMPATIBLE When completed, will be shipped by Greyhound * NEW GENERATION Old design failed, maybe this one will work * MIL-SPEC COMPONENTS We got a good deal at a government auction * CUSTOMER SERVICE ACROSS THE COUNTRY You can return it from most airports * UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE Nothing we ever had before worked THIS way * BUILT TO PRECISION TOLERANCES We finally got it to fit together * SATISFACTION GUARANTEED Manufacturer’s, upon cashing your cheque * MICROPROCESSOR CONTROLLED Does things we can’t explain * AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY One of our techs was laid off by Boeing


Due to the budget constraints, the following policies are announced regarding employees traveling on official business. These policies are effective immediately:

Lodging: All employees are encouraged to stay with relatives and friends while on business. If weather permits, public areas such as parks should be used as temporary lodging sites. Bus terminals, train stations and office lobbies may also provide shelter in periods of inclement weather.

Transportation: Hitch-hiking is the preferred mode of travel in lieu of commercial transport. Luminescent safety vests will be issued to all employees prior to their departure on such travel. Airline tickets will only be authorized in extreme circumstances and the lowest fares will be used. For example, if a meeting is scheduled in Seattle, but a lower fare can be obtained by traveling to Detroit, the travel to Detroit will be substituted for travel to Seattle.

Meals: Expenditures for meals will be limited to an absolute minimum. It should be noted that certain grocery and specialty chains, such as Hickory Farms, General Nutrition Centers, and Costco Club stores often provide free samples of promotional items. Entire meals can be obtained in this manner.

Travelers should also become familiar with indigenous roots, berries, and other protein sources available at their destination. If restaurants must be utilized, travelers should utilize all you can eat salad bars. This is especially effective for employees traveling together - as one plate can be used to feed the entire group. Employees are also encouraged to bring their own food on official travel. Cans of tuna, Spam and Beefaroni can be consumed at your leisure without the unnecessary bother of heating or costly preparation.

Miscellaneous: All employees are encouraged to devise innovative techniques in an effort to save our budget dollars. One enterprising individual has already suggested that money could be raised during airport layover period, which could be used to defray expenses. In support of this idea, red caps will be issued to all employees prior to their departure, so that they may earn tips by helping other travelers with their luggage. Small plastic roses and ball point pens will also be made available to employees so that sales may be made, as time permits.


A man goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot. The shop owner points to three identical looking parrots on a perch and says: “The parrot on the left costs 500 dollars”.

“Why does the parrot cost so much?” asks the first man. The owner says “Well, the parrot knows how to use a computer”.

The man then asks about the next parrot to be told that this one costs 1,000 dollars because it can do everything the other parrot can do plus it knows how to use the UNIX operating system. Naturally, the increasingly startled man asks about the third parrot, to be told that it costs 2,000 dollars. Needless to say this brings the question “What can it do?”

To which the owner replies “To be honest I have never seen it do a single useful thing, but the other two call him boss!“.


We’ve all been interviewed for jobs. And, we’ve all spent most of those interviews thinking about what not to do. Don’t bite your nails. Don’t fidget. Don’t interrupt. Don’t belch. If we did any of the don’ts, we knew we’d disqualify ourselves instantly. But some job applicants go light years beyond this. We surveyed top personnel executives of 100 major American corporations and asked for stories of unusual behavior by job applicants. The lowlights:

  • ”… said he was so well-qualified that if he didn’t get the job, it would prove that the company’s management was incompetent.”

  • ”… stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.”

  • ”… brought her large dog to the interview.”

  • ”… chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.”

  • “Candidate kept giggling through serious interview.”

  • “She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.”

  • “Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.”

  • “Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.”

  • ”… asked to see interviewer’s resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate.”

  • ”… announced she hadn’t had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer’s office.”

  • “Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.”

  • “Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president.”

  • “Stated that, if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.”

  • “Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.”

  • ”… wouldn’t get out of the chair until I would hire him. I had to call the police.”

  • “When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.”

  • ”… bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet.”

  • ”… pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him.”

  • “Candidate asked me if I would put on a suit jacket to insure that the offer I had made was formal.”

  • “Said he wasn’t interested because the position paid too much.”

  • “During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate’s brief case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.”

  • “A telephone call came in for the job applicant. It was from his wife. His side of the conversation went like this: ‘Which company? When do I start? What’s the salary?’ I said, ‘I assume you’re not interested in conducting the interview any further?’ He promptly responded, ‘I am as long as you’ll pay me more.’ I didn’t hire him, but later found out there was no other job offer. It was a scam to get a higher offer.”

  • “An applicant came in wearing only one shoe. She explained that the other shoe was stolen off her foot in the bus.”

  • “He took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.”

  • “Candidate said he really didn’t want to get a job, but the unemployment office needed proof that he was looking for one.”

  • “He whistled when the interviewer was talking.”

  • ”… asked who the lovely babe was, pointing to the picture on my desk. When I said it was my wife, he asked if she was home now and wanted my phone number. I called security.”

  • ”… she threw-up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.”

  • “Pointing to a black case he carried into my office, he said that if he was not hired, the bomb would go off. Disbelieving, I began to state why he would never be hired and that I was going to call the police. He then reached down to the case, flipped a switch and ran. No one was injured, but I did need to get a new desk.”

  • ”… asked if I wanted some cocaine before starting the interview.”


A sportsman went to a hunting lodge and bagged a record number of birds, aided by a dog named ‘Salesman’. Next year he returned and asked for ‘Salesman’ again. “The hound ain’t no durn good now,” the handler said. “What happened!” cried the sportsman. “Was he injured?”

“No. Some fool came down here and called him `Sales Manager’ all week instead of ‘Salesman’. Now all he does is sit on his tail and bark.”


“Do you believe in life after death?” the boss asked one of his younger employees. “Yes, Sir.” the new recruit replied.

“Well, then, that makes everything just fine,” the boss went on. “About an hour after you left yesterday to go to your grandfather’s funeral, he stopped in to see you.”


Compare if You Dare: Prison Vs. Work

In prison you spend a majority of your time in an 8x10 cell. At work you spend most of your time in a 6x8 cubicle.

In prison you get three meals a day. At work you only get a break for one meal and you have to pay for that one.

In prison you get time off for good behavior. At work you get rewarded for good behavior with more work.

In prison, a guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you. At work you must carry a security card and unlock and open all the doors yourself.

In prison you can watch TV and play games. At work you can get fired for watching TV and playing games.

In prison they ball-and-chain you when you go somewhere. At work you’re just ball-and-chained.

In prison you get your own toilet. At work you have to share.

In prison they allow your family and friends to visit. At work you can’t even speak to your family and friends.

In prison all expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work required. At work you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

In prison you spend most of your life looking through bars from the inside wanting to get out. At work you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go to bars.

In prison you can join many programs which you can leave at any time. At work there are some programs you can never get out of.

In prison there are sadistic wardens. At work, we have managers.


Top Excuses for Not Coming to Work This Morning

“If it is all the same to you I won’t be coming in to work. The voices told me to clean all the guns today.”

“When I got up this morning I took two Ex-Lax in addition to my Prozac. I can’t get off the john, but I feel good about it.”

“I set half the clocks in my house ahead an hour and the other half back an hour Saturday and spent 18 hours in some kind of space-time continuum loop, reliving Sunday (right up until the explosion). I was able to exit the loop only by reversing the polarity of the power source exactly e*log(pi) clocks in the house while simultaneously rapping my dog on the snout with a rolled up Times. Accordingly, I will be in late, or early.”

“My stigmata’s acting up.”

“I can’t come in to work today because I’ll be stalking my previous boss, who fired me for not showing up for work. OK?”

“I have a rare case of 48-hour projectile leprosy, but I know we have that deadline to meet…”

“I am stuck in the blood pressure machine down at the Food Giant.”

“Yes, I seem to have contracted some attention-deficit disorder and, hey, how about them Skins, huh? So, I won’t be able to, yes, could I help you? No, no, I’ll be sticking with Sprint, but thank you for calling. “

“Constipation has made me a walking time bomb.”

“I just found out that I was switched at birth. Legally, I shouldn’t come to work knowing my employee records may now contain false information.”

“The psychiatrist said it was an excellent session. He even gave me this jaw restraint so I won’t bite things when I am startled.”

“The dog ate my car keys. We’re going to hitchhike to the vet.”

“I prefer to remain an enigma.”

“My mother-in-law has come back as one of the Undead and we must track her to her coffin to drive a stake through her heart and give her eternal peace. One day should do it.”

“I can’t come to work today because the EPA has determined that my house is completely surrounded by wetlands and I have to arrange for helicopter transportation.”

“I am converting my calendar from Julian to Gregorian.”

“I am extremely sensitive to a rise in the interest rates.”

“I refuse to travel to my job in the District until there is a commuter tax. I insist on paying my fair share.”

“I’ve used up all my sick days… so I’m calling in dead!”

“I’m building a pig from a kit.”

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