Provided by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida
1. “Well,” snarled the tough old sergeant to the bewildered private. “I suppose after you get discharged from the army you’ll be waiting for me to die so you can come and spit on my grave.” Not me, Sarge!” the private replied. “After I get out of the army, I ain’t never going to stand in line again.”
2. A man came in late for work one day for the second time that week. His boss called him into her office and said, “What’s your excuse this time?” He shrugged and said, “My clock didn’t go off and I overslept.” She replied, “You could at least tell me something I haven’t heard before.” He replied, “You are looking lovely today.”
3. A supervisor’s comment on an employee evaluation. He’s never been very successful. When opportunity knocks, he complains about the noise.
4. A human resource person was quizzing a new employee on the company’s safety manual. “And what steps do you take in case of a fire?” she asked. The new employee replied, “Quick ones.”
5. The human resource director was interviewing a job applicant. “Given that you have no experience in this field, you’re asking for an awfully high salary,” she pointed out. “I suppose so,” replied the applicant, “but think how much harder the work’s going to be if I don’t know anything about it.”
6. An executive picked up one of his employees in a new sports car. “This is an amazing automobile,” the employee remarked. “It is nice”, the executive replied, “And if you set your goals high and work hard I can get an even better one next quarter.”
7. An executive of a large firm finished a presentation to a major client that had not gone very well. He turned to his secretary and snarled, "Where the hell is my pen?" "It's behind your ear sir," she stammered. He howled back, "You know I'm busy, which ear?"
8. The captain of a tall wooden war ship in the 1800s had a special routine when an enemy ship was spotted on the horizon. The captain would say to the ensign, “Get me my red shirt.” On all of these occasions the ship would fend off the enemy ship. One night the ensign asked the captain why he always asked for his red shirt. The captain replied, “If I am wounded in battle, the blood will not show and the men will continue to fight.” The ensign was impressed that the ship had such a brave captain. The next morning the lookout shouted, “Ten enemy ships on the horizon.” The captain said to the ensign, “Get me my brown pants.”
9. Observing a light across the water, the captain had his signalman instruct the other vessel to change her course ten degrees south. The response was prompt: “Change your course ten degrees north.” The captain responded, “Change your course ten degrees south. I am a captain on a battleship.” The reply, Change your course ten degrees north. I am a seaman first class in a lighthouse.”
10. Definition of a power struggle: When your boss has the power and you have the struggle.
11. "How did you get this big executive job?" asked the secretary. "You've only been here three months." The young man shrugged modestly and explained, "I ran into my father and he took a liking to me."
12. The boss always scheduled a weekly staff meeting at four-thirty on Friday afternoons. When an employee got up the nerve to ask why, the boss explained, "I've found that late Friday afternoon is the only time none of you want to argue with me."
13. Best excuses if you get caught sleeping in your cubicle: "It's okay...I'm still billing the client." "They told me at the blood bank this might happen." "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the last time management course you sent me to." "I was working smarter, not harder." "Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper." "I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm!" "This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!" "I'm actually doing a 'Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan' I learned at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend." "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress." "The coffee machine is broke." "Someone must've put decaf in the wrong pot." "Boy, that cold medicine I took last night just won't wear off!" "I wasn't sleeping. I was trying to pick up my contact lenses without using my hands."
14. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal, they went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.” What does that tell you?” Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Why, what does it tell you?” Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “Watson, you idiot. You can see the stars because someone has stolen our tent.”
15. An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch. The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"
16. After many years at sea, a pirate decided it was time to retire. Since he had suffered injuries on the job, he thought that he could also collect disability insurance. He had a wooden leg, a hook where his right hand should be and a patch over his right eye. The agency assured him that he would be compensated if the injuries were work related. "How did you get the wooden leg?", asked the agent. In a booming voice the pirate replied: "Well matey, you see it was like this: me and me mates were on the high seas when the boom she swang 'round and knocked me into the sea where a shark bit off me leg." "Well that is certainly work related. How did you loose your hand?" In a booming voice the pirate replied: "Well matey, you see it was like this: me and me mates were on the high seas when the boom she swang 'round and knocked me into the sea where a shark bit off me hand." "Well that is certainly work related. How did you loose your eye?" In a booming voice the pirate replied: "Well matey, you see it was like this: I was laying on the deck one balmy day catching some rays when this damn seagull flew by and dropped his duty right in me eye!" "Well yes, but what does that have to do with the loss of your eye?" "It were the first day with me hook!"
17. "I would call in sick a lot. I would say I had female problems. My boss didn't know I meant her. Wendy Liebman.
18. "I had a job once selling security alarms door to door. I was really good at it. If there was no one at home I'd leave a brochure on the kitchen table." Dwight York.
19. "We flew down to Florida to visit my dad. I made the mistake of calling in sick from the airport. Right when I was about to say why I couldn't come in, you hear, Flight 709 now boarding. Flight 709 now boarding. So I said, I can't come in. I'm hearing voices." Brian Kiley.
20. "Money can't buy happiness, but it helps you look for it in more places." Milton Berle.
21. “I sold encyclopedias when I was in college. Then the librarian caught me.” Brian Kiley.
22. “I’d like to know who came up with ‘Take your kids to work day.’ Is this really necessary? Aren’t we already surrounded by immature people who need constant supervision.” Gayle Crispin.
23. “I lost my job. No, I didn’t really lose my job. I know where it is. It’s just when I go there, there’s this new guy doing it.” Bobcat Goldthwait.
24. A young executive was leaving the office late one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. "Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document here, and my secretary has gone for the night. Can you make this thing work?" "Certainly," said the young executive. He turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. "Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine. "I just need one copy."
25. A man piloting a hot-air balloon discovers he has wandered far off course and is hopelessly lost. He descends to a lower altitude and locates a man down on the ground. He lowers the balloon to within hearing distance and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?" The man below says: "Yes, you're in a hot-air balloon, about thirty feet above this field." "You must work in information technology," says the balloonist. "Yes, I do," replies the man. "And how did you know that?" "Well," says the balloonist, "what you told me is technically correct, but of no use to anyone." The man below says, "You must work in management." "I do," replies the balloonist, "how did you know?" "Well," says the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect my immediate help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault!"
26. Office arithmetic: Smart boss + smart employee = profit. Smart boss + dumb employee = production. Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion. Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime.
27. Letter of Recommendation:
1 Bob Smith, my assistant
programmer, can always be found
2 hard at work in his cubicle. Bob works independently, without
3 wasting company time talking to colleagues. Bob never
4 thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always
5 finishes given assignments on time. Often he takes extended
6 measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee
7 breaks. Bob is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
8 vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound
9 knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Bob can be
10 classed as a high-caliber employee, the type which cannot be
11 dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Bob be
12 promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be
13 executed as soon as possible.
That idiot was standing over my shoulder while I wrote the report sent to you earlier today. Kindly re-read only the odd numbered lines.
28. Corporate Lesson: A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?" The crow answered: "Sure, why not." So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it. Moral of the story is: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.
29. Lines from job evaluations: I would not allow this employee to breed. This associate is really not so much of a has-been, but more definitely a won't be. Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap. When she opens her mouth, it seems it is only to change whichever foot was previously there. He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle. This young lady has delusions of adequacy. He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them. This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot. This employee should go far and the sooner he starts, the better. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn't watching. A room temperature IQ. Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it together. A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus. A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on. A prime candidate for natural deselection. Bright as Alaska in December. One-celled organisms outscore him in IQ tests. Donated his brain to science before he was done using it. Fell out of the family tree. Gates are down, lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming. Has two brains: one is lost; the other is out looking for it. He's so dense, light bends around him. If brains were taxed, she'd get a refund. If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week. If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'll get change. If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean. Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, he only gargled. Takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes. Wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead. Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig. His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity. She is proof that evolution can go in reverse.
30. A little girl walked up to a clown at a country fair who was creating balloon animals. “What are you making?” she asked. He signed and said, “Minimum wage.”
31. Two friends were talking in a bar. The first man asked how the other fellow was doing. “I’ve been better” the second man answered. “I left my job because of illness and fatigue.” “Sorry to hear that,” the first man responded. “What happened?” The second man replied, “My boss got sick and tired of me.”
32. “I demand a raise,” a man told his boss, “Three other companies are after me.” His boss replied, “You’ve got to be kidding me. What other companies are after you?” The man answered, “The electric company, the telephone company, and the gas company.”
33. I was in a job interview when the manager handed me his laptop and said, “I want you to try and sell this to me.” So I put it under my arm, walked out of the building and went home. Later he called my cell phone and said, “Bring it back here right now!” I said, “$200 and it’s yours.”
34. In consideration of the fine line between business and crime, Robert Frost once offered his advice on the secret to selling a horse. “Take care to sell your horse before it dies.”
35. A sailor celebrating a long-awaited shore leave got very inebriated. When he staggered back up the gangway the captain sternly entered in the log: “Mate drunk tonight.” When he saw the entry the mate objected violently. “Captain, the boat was moored - you know I’ve never been drunk on duty. If this stays on the record, I’ll have trouble finding work on another ship.” Stone-hearted, the captain refused to modify his entry. “It is the truth, and it shall remain on the record.” A few days later the captain was checking the log and came across an entry written by the mate: “Captain was sober today.” The outraged captain summoned the mate and accused him of creating a false impression. “Anyone reading this post will think my sobriety was unusual, that I’m usually drunk!” The mate calmly responded, “The statement is true and it will remain in the log.”
36. An executive was telling a new secretary what was expected of her. “I want you to be neat, organized, and courteous to all clients,” he said. “Above all, I expect you not to gossip about me.” “Oh, yes sir,” she replied. “I won’t tell anybody anything. You have my total confidence.” Then she leaned over the desk and whispered, “Just what is it you’ve done, sir, that you don’t want others to know about?”
37. Two friends agreed to meet for drinks after work. One arrived late and said, “Sorry, but on my way here I saw three punks slapping my old boss around.” His friend asked, “Did you stop and help?” The guy said, “No, I figured the three of them could handle it.”
38. A CEO who was replaced for poor performance decided to help the new CEO. “I left you with four envelopes. When you’re faced with a crisis you can’t handle, open the first envelope. Faced with additional crisis after that, open the second, third, and fourth envelopes.” When the new CEO encountered his first crisis he opened the first envelope. A note inside said “Blame the previous CEO.” It worked like a charm. Months later after the second crisis, the note in the second envelope said, “Blame the economy.” That worked, but not quite as well. A few weeks later a third crisis occurred and the third note said “Blame the workers.” That didn’t work at all, so the new CEO opened the fourth envelope. It said, “Prepare four envelops.”
39. A workaholic businessman had a sign in his office that read: “Thank God it’s Monday.”
40. A sailor read a special message to the Captain from the Admiral, “You are without a doubt the most idiotic, lame-brained officer ever to command a ship in the United States Navy.” The Captain responded, “Have that communication decoded at once.”
41. The Dilbert Principle: The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage - management.
42. Dumb boss from The Dilbert Principle: A vice president insists that the company’s new battery-powered product be equipped with a light that comes on to tell you when the power is off.
43. Dumb boss from The Dilbert Principle: An employee suggests setting priorities so the company will know how to apply its limited resources. The manager’s response: “Why can’t we concentrate our resources across the board?”