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September 16, 2009

Today is the last day to get a copy of my e-book Office Supply Art: How To Not Die of Boredom and Lack of Creativity At Your Lame 9 to 5 for FREE!!

I’ve decided to put up another sample chapter for you reading enjoyment. Also, it means I don’t have to think of anything else to write about 🙂

Again, the formatting is sort of wonky, but check out my website to get the entire book, beautifully formatted, FREE!


Is this creative stuff awesome or what? It takes you out of the day-to-day doldrums of your work life. But let’s say you’re having a particularly crappy day like me. Last night I ate too much Mexican food, went to bed too late and played a rousing game of “Are you ever going to marry me?” with my wonderful and patient boyfriend, Anthony.

This round ended with both of us throwing (soft) things at each other, me threatening not to bake cookies for him anymore, and him temporarily sleeping with the cats on the couch. This is why I’m not a kindergarten teacher. Obviously I’m not good at those basic life skills such as using my indoor voice and not throwing things, so I certainly could not teach other small human beings those values. If that kind of night doesn’t make for a good time at work the next day, I don’t know what does!
When you’re having a crappy day I think the best thing you can do is turn to your creative side. For me it’s been writing and doing some fun activities. If you are at work, bored out of your mind, grumpy and working on spreadsheet number 913 as requested by your boss, this one detailing your research on ostriches versus groundhogs and their performance in a variety of occupations such as dental hygienist, anesthesiologist and gutter repair person, perhaps making a fun spread-sheet just for you would pass the time.

The spreadsheet I made details all of the jobs I’ve ever had and all of the good and bad things about each of them, what I learned, and how I could have used my creative side better. I have not included my stint as a belly dancer at the “Biscuits n’ Bellies” restaurant in town. That was completely creatively fulfilling and I have nothing more to say on the topic.

After I finished the spreadsheet I was happier, in a better mood, and had vowed never to throw a pillow at Anthony again. Today, at least. Enjoy!

Job Title Best Thing About It Worst Thing About It How I Could Have Been More Creative Lesson Learned
Baby Sitting Short Commute. Poopy Diapers. Could have covered child in glue and rolled him in sparkles. How to hold my breath for a very long time.
Cashier at large, emotionless company that sells everything under the sun for dirt cheap. The Friday I quit. Also break time. Talking to customers. Could have made up and sung a song to each customer as they got to my station. I do not like working.
Concession stand worker at beach Free French fries. The customers. And my boss’s long toe nails. Fried Dough Sculpture. Daily ice cream and fried dough is not heart healthy.
Ad Designer Air conditioning. My boss and his missing backbone. Can’t get any more creative than making Real Estate ads. Ads don’t design or proofread themselves.
Waitress at a ski lodge Free pancakes. Maple syrup hands. Smiley face sausage art. I am not a good waitress.
Faux painter of big, fancy houses Being outside Faux painting Trying to make conversation with my boss was a creative endeavor in and of itself. I want to be rich so some other poor sap can faux paint my house.
Customer Service Representative Making fun of my boss’s she-mullet. Being a customer service representative. Could have answered phone in a British accent. Mullets don’t work on women.
Cashier at grocery store Discounted groceries. The vest. Conveyor belt dance moves. Vests don’t work on me.
Reservation Manager at ski lodge The off-season. Explaining to people that there were bunk beds in the rooms. Singing back the reservation dates to the guests. No one likes bunk beds.
Waitress at a lodge that served groups of retirees visiting for fall foliage Free beer at the end of the night. Retirees trying to set me up with their grand kids, who were always named Earl. Could have rolled them in glue and covered them in sparkles. I’m still not a good waitress.
Food Prep at a six-week music summer camp Free cheese. Getting up at 6am for the breakfast shift, which none of the students came to anyways. Could have made real-life Mr. Potato head. Be careful around knives, or your finger could end up in the chili.
Front Desk Manager at a historic inn Being done with work at 3:30, in time to catch Oprah. Explaining to guests why we didn’t have TVs and that you could hear everything, and I mean everything, through the walls. Pillow-mint sculpture. Guests are happiest when there is no hair in their shower from the previous occupant.
Event-Planning at the same historic inn Free wedding cake. Brides. Could have created low-cost centerpieces from dumpster items. Party-planning is not my strong point, either.
Guest Services Coordinator (job that inspired this book. Need paper bag now.) Amy, the co-worker of my dreams. Also, I no longer work there. Awesome. Spreadsheets. This is it, baby! I don’t belong in a job where ironed clothes are required.
Life Coach, Writer, professional nap taker. Everything is the best thing about this job. Clothing is covered in so much cat hair I can’t tell what color it is. What can I make out of cat hair? Mittens? Ear muffs? A loaf of bread? Jen belongs in her natural environment with freedom, laughter, love, and chocolate chips.

Notice my consistent love for free food. That never goes out of style. In fact, I have been known to say a time or two that my favorite food group is not fruits or vegetables or grains, but “free”. There is occasionally free food in the break room at my current job, but it generally is some sort of pastry or cake product that tastes like it contains plastic or perhaps my cat’s tick and flea medication. (Do not ask how I ended up tasting the tick and flea medication, it involved Nola and Coconut, a can of silly string, a dirty martini and a digital camera. I don’t like to talk about it.)

You may also notice I have a love-hate relationship with customer service, which has been part of many of my jobs over the years. Basically, when customers complain or want me to do some actual work, I don’t like it. (Do you have this T-shirt in a size that will fit my French Poodle? In Lime Green? Also, she can only wear organic cotton.) I love customer service when they are nice to me and love me just for me. (Wow! You are so helpful! Can I give you this $20 tip? Oh, you can’t accept cash? Why don’t I just buy you a pony then? What color would you like?)

The next spreadsheet offers some ideas for what to fill your break time with, because obviously you can’t figure it out yourself.


Suggested Creative Activity

AM coffee break

Make stick-figure action scene out of coffee stirrers, empty creamer containers and sugar packets.

Mid-morning snack break

Spread cream cheese and jam on bagel in the shape of your favorite movie actor or relative.

Pre-lunch relaxation break

Make shadow puppets on the wall, act out that time you and your boyfriend broke up because you caught him making sandwiches naked with your 63-year-old neighbor.

Lunch break

Make statue of your boss out of paperclips, used napkins and plastic utensils. Photograph and post picture on your blog, write a poem about it.

After-lunch snack break

Make tower of peanut butter crackers. Knock them down and do your evil laugh. Tell peanut butter crackers you are their ruler now.

Mid-afternoon drink break

Make tower of empty soda cans. Do your evil laugh and tell them they’re next.

Late-afternoon detox break

Make copy of your face on copy machine. Color it with highlighters. Scan picture and send it to your boss. Tell boss you think you’ve been exposed to nuclear radiation and you must go home immediately.

This spreadsheet details some fantastic creative ideas to try during your breaks at work or when you’re grumpy and need a lift. I’ve only detailed a few breaks here; perhaps you take more than what I’ve mentioned. I know I also take a refried bean related bathroom break a few times a week, hair-twirling breaks, e-mail-my-girlfriends breaks, flossing breaks, listing-all-the-things-that-are-awesome-about-me breaks, office-cleaning breaks, crying breaks, sanitizing breaks, day-dreaming breaks, call-my-boyfriend breaks, complain-about-my-job breaks, wish-I-was-on-vacation breaks, the list goes on and on.

Find some time in your day to follow your passions. Make something to give to your co-worker. Write a poem, work on your performance art piece (I would suggest you do this only if you have an office and can close the door, especially if your performance art involves nudity, funny hats, tiger print underwear or yelling in Japanese, as mine does.)

Hmm, let’s make one more spreadsheet, shall we? I’m going to chat with Amy for inspiration. Nope, I’m not. She’s not available to me, which is very upsetting. Maybe that’s what I’ll make a spreadsheet about: why my coworkers should do whatever I want.

What Co-workers are doing

What they should be doing to please me

Having lunch with loved ones, such as their parents

Inviting me to lunch with their parents so I can get myself into the will

Working on the Liebowitz project

Brushing my hair and rubbing my shoulders, which are tight from all the paperclip stars I made this morning

Sitting in the board meeting, taking extensive notes

Texting me from the board meeting, telling me what color bow tie the CEO is wearing and what he has stuck in his teeth

Running away from me as I try to force them to make a collage of their dream life

Reinforcing that I am awesome by participating in my art projects, even if they have something better to do, like getting their yearly evaluation by the boss

Taking pictures of me stealing from the office supply closet to send to the boss

Helping me get the shredder out of the closet and into my office so we can make lots of confetti for the ticker tape parade that will be thrown for me when I’m famous

Making microwave popcorn

Using that popcorn to recreate the Mona Lisa

Now I’m in an even better mood! I know I should probably be looking up at the customer in front of me who is scowling and cursing at me, or possibly be answering my phone since I see on the Caller ID that it’s my boss calling. But I need some creative time and I believe as a whole this will make me so much more customer friendly and productive!

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 17, 2009 10:34 am

    I have read a few chapters of your book (instead of studying, of course), and I LOVE it! I laughed a lot which was great, and it gave me a few creative ideas 😛

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