Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Office Culture in Kauaian Tableaus

by | May 7, 2024 | Travel | 0 comments

You Can Take the Man Out of the Office…

Poipu, Hawaii. May, 2024. All photos by author. 

I took the picture above, and the words that popped into my head were, “Out of Office.” This is what “Our of Office” feels like. This is also what it feels like when you set your “Out of Office” and close your laptop before leaving on vacation.

It reminded me of an idea I had for a cartoon. I never executed it because I can’t draw to save my life.

But here it is.

Imagine a tropical paradise as the background, everyone running around, swimming, having fun, and a man leaning against a coconut tree with two screens in front of him, a Bluetooth keyboard on his lap, and a cell phone in his ear.

The text at the bottom of the frame reads, “You can take the man out of the office…” A play on the saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.”

I am not a lost cause like the man in my not-drawn cartoon. I have enjoyed my vacation fully. However, I have seen reminders of office culture during my time at Poipu.

This is what IT feels like on the island. “I’m currently experiencing technical difficulties. I have contacted IT, but they just said, ‘Have you tried turning it on and off?’ Don’t expect a call back any time soon.”

This is what an Ad-hoc committee looks like. Ad-hoc is a Latin term that means “for this.” However, organizations and associations have one thousand of them. At some point, people just need to do their job and stop creating committees so they don’t work.

Imperial China had a form of torture where they would make many small incisions on a victim to cause pain but to prolong their death or ‘Death by a thousand cuts.” Imperial Corporations have a similar form of torture, and they punish information workers with ‘Death by a thousand meetings.”

A meeting is an effective way to get nothing done. Or, as Dave Barry puts it, “Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate.”

This is the best representation of middle management. “What? This old thing? It’s not a panopticon. It’s just a really high booth I can supervise you from, and when I catch you doing something I don’t like, I’ll yell at you from our PA system so I can scare and embarrass you at the same time.”

While swimming at Brennecke’s Beach, people tried to swim with the turtles who were trying to beach and take a nap. I actually heard the words from a lifeguard, “Stop chasing the wildlife. It’s not cool. Much mahalo.”

This is the equivalent of Microsoft Teams Status: Do Not Disturb. The sign might seem like a reward, but behind lies the holy grail of information work: deep focus.

The one lone wolf in the office who doesn’t care about the rules. They are going to do it their way.

This is what the weekend looks like to cubicle dwellers. The weekends are always too short and fleeting. They either were or they will be, but they never are. It is a nostalgic ever present reminder that we wish we were there.

HR — because sometimes we all need help from drowning.

Much mahalo!

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