The modern workplace can be a minefield of awkwardness. While sometimes you get lucky and have coworkers that you like, sometimes you are trapped in a 9-5 cage with people that you would normally cross the street to avoid. If that’s the case, let 30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon to be your guide. Over the course of seven seasons, Tina Fey’s determined TV writer/producer character imparted countless bon mots that will help you wrangle your own herd of cats. Sure, you probably don’t have to deal with an incompetent writer’s room, Jenna’s diva antics, or whatever Tracy Jordan has decided to do this week, but you can still take some of her “wisdom” with you into the workplace.
“I want to roll my eyes right now but the doctor said if I keep doing it my ocular muscles might spasm and eject my eyeballs.”
There will definitely come a time when you reach your quota for bulls*t. Sometimes, an eye roll all on its own will feel utterly insufficient. You’ll have another lengthy meeting that could have been settled with an email or your computer will crash before you hit save on that expense report, and you’ll just be done. You can take a cue from good old Liz and take your annoyance to the next level.
“Listen up, dummies. I’m going to be gone this week doing my talk show. So I need to leave someone responsible in charge. Now it’s not about who I like the most or who’s the funniest. So it’s Toofer.”
Delegating is important. Trying to do it all yourself can be impossible, even for a Sugarbaker woman, so sometimes you have to pass on a little responsibility. Still, it’s best to remind people that even though you’re handing off some of the work, you’re still in charge.
“All God’s children are terrible.”
On the job, you will definitely be exposed to some of the worst sides of people. However, while your crazy coworkers may seem like a particular brand of insanity, everyone has their own cross to bear. Every office has a creepy Carl or gossipy Beth. At least with this group of weirdos, you know what to expect.
“I can actually feel myself getting sick. Am I the only person who saw Obama’s press conference on how to sneeze?”
While dedication to the job is admirable, there’s always that jerk who just can’t be bothered to stay home when they’re sick. Instead of waiting it out at home, they drag their diseased carcass into the office, subsequently infecting everyone else with whatever ails them. When this happens, it may be best to subtly remind them that they would be better off at home. In bed. Away from you.
“I don’t know how, but you’re gonna get me another sandwich. Or I’m gonna cut your face up so bad you’ll have a chin! YOU’LL ALL HAVE CHINS!”
If you use the break room fridge, there will come a time when someone will steal your lunch. It’s inevitable. Susan from HR thinks that she’s untouchable, so she’ll definitely swipe that leftover burrito that you’ve been dreaming about since you sat down at your desk. While it may be best to just keep your cool, you want to make sure that you get your point across at the same time. This Lemon gem should be just the ticket. (But you might have to go and see Susan in HR for another reason.)
“Ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party, ’cause a Liz Lemon party is mandatory.”
At some point, it will fall on you to organize a company event. Whether it is the office Christmas party or some team building retreat, you will be tasked to foster community in an environment that doesn’t necessarily facilitate it. People won’t want to come because office events can be awkward and lame, but your ass is on the line. Sometimes your fellow desk jockeys need to take one for the team (you), so it might be worthwhile to remind them of the importance of team building and free snacks.
“Hey, nerds! Who’s got two thumbs, speaks limited French, and hasn’t cried once today? This moi.”
It’s good to remind yourself of your accomplishments, no matter how small. Did you finally get the printer to work on the first try? Great job! Did you not spend your lunch break eating alone in the bathroom stall? Score! By remembering these little things, dealing with the awkwardness of interoffice relationships will be much easier.
“Suck it, monkeys, I’m going corporate.”
One day, you’ll find something new. You’ll either get a promotion, or your career path will take you in a totally different direction. Either way, as you leave your coworkers behind, remember to handle it with graciousness and tact. Or you can pull a Liz Lemon and burn that bridge to the ground.