Keeping Your Clothes on Might Be a Solution

While reading Naked At Work, I kept trying to decide whether Paul Hellman has a certain contempt for his readers or whether he’s just like a nutter uncle who’s always goggling his eyes at you.

I read Naked At Work because I felt like I needed to inject a sense of levity into my daily grind. The premise of the book is that we are silly people riddled with anxieties and it goes from there to show us just how silly we are.

Naked At Work is similarly riddled with anxieties in the form of boxed-off tangents that smack of the awkward joke your boss tries to tell at the beginning of a very boring planning session.

I’m not going to lie, Hellman’s ridiculous mugging for the reader gave me enough chuckles to justify reading the whole book.

Example – Anxiety #18: Names
Companies are getting touchy about what they call certain people. You know what I mean, the ones who come to the office on a regular basis, stay for hours on end, and periodically expect money.
The word employee is out. It’s too tied up with the old idea of power, wherein the “boss’ knew everything, and had all the good ideas because he was the “head.”
The new approach: let’s empower those _____ (???)
Calling ____something else can be a powerful way to replace a feeling of passive alienation with the exact opposite, active alienation….So let’s stop thinking of them as employees.
They’re “associates,” or “teammates,” or, in a pinch, “hey you.”

So haha, yes, Hellman has some kooky insight into what makes our modern workplace so wonderfully wacky. But really, isn’t that what we have The Office for?

As for the meat and bones, it’s really more a mini pulled pork sandwich. I was happy to note that we often treat our colleagues as family members, due to unfinished business within our own families. Bosses are mom or dad, co-workers are bro or sis and those on equal footing to us can become our twin (why else would Dwight and Jim obsessively prank each other?)

Also, all the worrying you do about what your boss thinks of you? Here’s a hint – he or she doesn’t think of you. It’s that easy. He/she has more important things to think about like, their own job, or what their own boss is thinking of them.

Yet, most of these pearls are pulled from the work of others. I’d read something and bam! a footnote indicated that the idea was from another source.

So, if you’re looking for a quick compendium of recent thought into modern workplace anxieties, this book may be what you’re looking for.

Otherwise, rent all the seasons of the Office, book a weekend off, and go at ‘er.

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