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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Upgraded Emoticons

Several months back my company decided installing an "Office Communicator" would boost work production. Basically, they gave us an instant messaging system.  It does everything that one would expect: file sharing and the like.  It also has the ability to teleconference via web cam and allow another person access to your computer, but I'm pretty sure the majority of us never use any of that.  Whether or not this boosts work production is questionable, but we have learned to love the stupid thing.

My one complaint about the thing is the lack of meaningful emoticons.  For instance, I was taking some online training course that was boring me to hell and someone messaged me a simple, "What are you up to?"  To which I replied, "I'm searching for the hang myself in my cubicle emoticon right now."  This, of course, got me to thinking... and... here we are:

On the left are the emoticon choices we have.  Yes, I have used the various smiley faces, the crying face (that actually has moving tears), the party hat guy that blows the blower thingy (it's best used with sarcasm), the yawning guy that actually yawns, the martini glass (in an attempt to express that the place may well in fact drive me to drink... heavily), and I've even used the tongue sticking out guy (even though he looks like he may be licking the glass in the front window of the local asylum).  But, most of these are worthless.  I have used a combination of the sheep and the building blocks that fall onto the screen one by one and make the sheep look like it's taking a dump, but... what's with the cat and dog face?  What's with the hugging people?  What's with the lips?  Are we supporting office romance here?

Really... we're in the cubicle, Mr. Computer Programmer Guy, and as much as I can guess you're mocking all of us with the whole "sheep" thing, that's about as good as your code monkey humor gets.  So, please allow me to make a few suggestions.  What we really need are some emoticons that truly express the emotions we experience at any given time of the day, week, month, or year.

For example, just the other day one of the loudest people in the office put in a request to put some "Quiet Please" signs up in the hallway.  There's no noise in the hallway.  The noise is all coming from that individual's side of the office so... when I was explaining this to another individual in a completely different building, I could have used an emoticon that looked like this guy on the right.  
I do think of myself as an excellent writer, but I'm not sure I could actually express in words the 'face palm' moment.  That needs to be there.  Please find a way to add that.  Thank you.

I also have this moment that I think many people can relate to, cubicle or not, where I'm often trying to solve a problem, or clean up someone else's mess, or streamline some kind of process, or negotiate with someone who's just not interested in negotiating, and I find that no matter how outside of the box I think I've gone, I am apparently still way too close to the damn box to make any headway (and at this point, I'm pretty sure I'm at least in Oklahoma and the "box" is still in Arizona, but... that's another story for another day).  When I try to explain my frustration in words, people try to console me or encourage me or suggest I go take a tranquilizer and have a glass of wine and forget about it.  Not that any of this is bad advice, but it is all advice that somehow implies I can get up again and do it all tomorrow and there may be a completely different outcome than what I had today.  No.  This is not the case.  I've been doing this for too long now to deny the fact that this is absolutely pointless.  But saying the word "pointless" just brings on more "oh... you just need a massage and a good cocktail, you'll get it all worked out."  What I need, dear Sir, is a visual, some picture to put in their mind that they will never forget and they will completely understand where I'm coming from.  Something like this:
Yes... I need them to fully understand that I am hitting my head against a brick wall with bad English on it.  Thank you for your help with this one, it's very important to me.

I would also like to include that on more than one occasion I have either wanted to take a baseball bat to my computer or throw it out the window.  Considering that most of us don't carry baseball bats to work, and considering that I work on the third floor of an office building, throwing it out the window seems like the most feasible option at times.  And over the past two weeks, the powers that be decided to "upgrade" our database to something "more efficient" (I really wish they would stop thinking about "efficiency"), but what they did was have some Computer Guy, much like yourself, create a system without truly finding out what it is that we do.  So we ended up with a system that is about as efficient as a 1971 Ford Pinto.  They promised us a Ferrari and they handed us a Pinto.  (I think I had a nightmare about that once, right before my 16th birthday, but it was between a Mustang and a Toyota Corolla so... not quite the same.  I guess it was a twisted foreshadow of some kind.)  That being said, I have wanted to throw that stupid thing out the window all week and I have not had the proper emoticon to get my point across.  Please rectify that situation for me. 
I do hope you take my thoughts seriously.  I have not yet achieved Brahman, nor have I reached a state of enlightenment where everything in my cubicle world is Zen.  I am, however, a master of stress, frustration, and anxiety and being such means I am somewhat an authority on the emotions that should be expressed to fellow colleagues via the handy dandy office communicator that makes us that much more efficient.  I cannot properly contribute to the boost in work production without proper use of the emoticons, and you have left me with a bit of a handicap here and my work mates are suffering because of it.  

Thank you for your time and consideration on this.  I look forward to the emoticon upgrades in the future.
(Special thanks to Hope for her artistic contributions: Face Palm and Pencil Break. The rest of the outstanding artwork was drawn by Pandora herself.  Such skill...)

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