The Workplace Laws

Officeland is like no other place on earth.Some enter the premises to escape their home lives,some saunter in to make merry,some stroll through the entire perimeter exercising their right to free will and balloony stomachs.Oh,and some occasionally work.There are certain laws which govern the office as they do the outside world.Here goes:

1.The Law of Office Supplies:The more urgent your need,the less visible they become.

Office supplies have a mind of their own.One minute,they are all sitting pretty on your desk,all neatly arranged and raring to go.The minute you have to process an invoice,or make changes in the accession register or answer the boss’s urgent call for a whiteboard marker,the supplies magically vanish.Pens,particularly,are notorious for disappearing at the most opportune moment.After you’ve coped with all the supply-less madness,you suddenly find your supplies again,sitting pretty on your desk,mocking you with their bright colors and varied assortments.

2.The Boss Law-No,this is not the “Boss is always right” law.This is an everyday occurance at the workplace.It works like this.

You’ll always be doing something unimportant when the boss approaches your desk.

All is hunky dory when the big guy is sitting in his plush office.You’ll be buried in work,forget to eat,drink and look like a terminally ill ghost.Your diet is made up of chunks of data,pieces of pie charts and blocks of numbers.All this while,your boss is inside his room.What makes bosses emerge from their lair and go check on the unfortunate employee is still unknown.What is known,though,is when the big guy is standing behind your shoulder,your browser is tuned to everything except work.And right on cue,songs start blaring from the bally computer while you shudder and shrink to a pea sized creature,while your boss walks away,mentally reminding himself not to give you a good appraisal.

3.The IT law: All defective computers function fine enough when the IT guy stands next to you.

Erratic PCs are a boon or a bane,depends on how you look at it.A non-functioning system means more time to mess and laze around,check your mail on your colleague’s system,complain about the slow IT service and blame the computer industry in general.If you’re anything like me,you’ll wholeheartedly plunge into the points I just offered and work up a good deal of false indignated-lather.Calling the IT services to come and rectify your system is another post altogether.When the guy from IT finally arrives,days after you’ve lodged your complaint,the system detects his presence and springs to life.The system knoweth that thou hath not a single IT gene in thou body.The IT guy smirks inwardly,scribbles some techno drivel in his service sheet and thrusts it into your hand.The minute he shimmers away,the system decides to play you and stops functioning again.So long till the next IT visit.

4.The Filing Law- The most used files are never to be found,the least used ones occupy the best place on the shelf.

You want the latest general bills file.Where do you search for it?Assuming it’s taken out daily and updated properly,it’s got to be on the top,right?Wrong.One can never find an important and a daily used file in the same place.That file keeps on shifting places till it somehow reached the bottom of the file pile.To get to it,you either need superhuman strength or four able bodied coworkers to help you dig through the mass of unused files.Why this happens?Nobody wants to find out.

5.The Law of the Cafeteria:

Anything ordered from the cafeteria will not reach you before an hour.

This is more of a general observation,than a law.Food will arrive from the depths of the cafeteria when you’re at the end of your patience.And people will materialize just when you’ve begun eating.So,you either end up looking like a wolf chomping down its prey,with bits and pieces dangling by the side,or you make a mad dash into the staff room and gulp it down,getting choked in the process.Office cafeterias are also known for messing up orders.On a rushed day,you might find yourself staring at the cafe guy,who is  holding a glass of cinnamon tea and a droopy sandwich,while all the time wondering where your order is.The cafe people will also turn temporarily deaf,as when you are presented with a sad looking soggy non-toasted-non-grilled-not-fit-for-human-consumption sandwich,when you had ordered for and had imagined a gloriously grilled and browned-sun kissed-oozing health and goodness-and-calorie-increasing sandwich.Oh,heck,did the cafe guys just save your heart?

6.The Chain Mail Law:

Chain mails will grow in length and incomprehensibility till they exceed the natural intelligence of the person who originated it.

I love office mails.Specially chain mails.Often,you are bombarded with mails which only say,”FYI” or “PFA the so-and-so” or “FYR”.In order to decode the mail,one has to scroll all the way down to the first mail which began as an innocent communication between two people,carbon copied to a third.This third party,of course,is paid only to forward emails,so they do the needful and send it back to the intended recipients and carbon copy another two unfortunate souls.When those bewildered souls comprehend the mail and oblige the original sender,they too decide to vindicate themselves and carbon copy two more souls.So on and so forth,your name also has the honor of being included in the carbon copy list.Whoo hoo.When you reply to the mail and send it to the two million people in the CC,the originator of the mail scratches his head disbelievingly.Who the heck are all these people? He or she decides to print out the chain mail,twist it into a chain and hang himself/herself at the earliest.

7.The Law of the Meeting: This is actually a series of laws.

  • All meetings will start late.
  • They will do so because no one will know where to show up. (Corollary:No one reads office mails seriously.)
  • If at all a meeting starts on time,there will be no projector or laptop.
  • When the projector arrives,the IT guy will tinker around with it till he announces that the hardware is not compatible.
  • When everything is settled and in place,the power will go off.If it doesn’t,the boss will receive an important phone call.
  • No one will remember why the meeting was called in the first place.They will have to check the minutes of the last meeting.
  • On an average,two out of five people will fall asleep in the meeting room.
  • The meeting will always comprise of heavy management buzzwords and other like minded jargon which nobody understands.
  • The meeting will stretch an hour after the scheduled time.And nobody will remember what it was about in the next meeting as well.
  • Some smart aleck will send everyone the minutes of the meeting in a fancy Word format.


There are many more laws and axioms to be written about.This was a beginning.More in the next series of The Workplace Laws.


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