Know thy enemy? Author pens guide to surviving the office

Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:16am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - If your office feels like a warzone some days, a book identifying all those colleagues and bosses you've been tempted to battle should help you survive -- through laughter, and cutting back on e-mails.

Michael Stanford describes his recently published book, "Inhuman Resources: A guide to the psychos, misfits and criminally incompetent in every office," as a humorous self-help guide to the annoying personalities that populate offices, with the aim of making sure good manners rule supreme.

Examples include the "I'm not confused, I'm just drunk" person, the "I'm disappointed in you" person, the "let's have a meeting before the meeting" colleague, the "I'm so sick but I'm too important to go home" worker and the "I need to get into the lift before you can get out" person.

"No matter where you work, in which country or industry, people can identify with this book," Stanford, a 41-year-old Australian who worked in various offices, told Reuters.

"Many of these people drove me crazy, but they also made me laugh and cringe, because I could see myself in some of them. Stress has driven us all to do things we later regret."

The book was inspired by a videoconference call Stanford was holding with an overseas client, who all of a sudden got up and left the room, never to return.

"That was 10 years ago. He must have gotten a phone call from someone more important and just didn't think we were worth his time. My boss told me to carry on speaking, which I did, to an empty room," Stanford said.

Stanford started out in the workforce as a glue salesman -- he quips most of his colleagues were too stoned to be a threat -- before moving on to a range of industries including retail, hospitality, journalism, advertising and marketing, mainly in Australia. He now avoids offices, and works out of cafes.   Continued...

<p>A boardroom in a file photo. REUTERS/File</p>