What is an Office God you ask? The Office Gods are those people who for a variety of reasons hold certain powers within the politics of an office or workplace setting. The Office Gods aren’t necessarily a boss or supervisor, though they can be. Sometimes it’s the person with the right set of keys, connections, or acquaintances. We all know that often the most important person in an office is one of the clerical or reception staff who knows everything and thanklessly keeps the place running. They are undoubtedly one of The Office Gods, but there are others who have gained their powers by hook or by crook as the saying goes.
During this past week I became an Office God. Here is my story. During the past week my suite of offices moved into a new wing of the building into offices that were specially made just for us. I was given a very nice office, one of the best of course, because I’m Phil. Included in my luxurious office is the thermostat for my side of the hall. And it’s not locked! HA HA HA HA HA (maniacal laughter. What other kind would I have?) For those of you who have never worked in a suite of offices, having control of the thermostat is the office politics equivalent of being God. No matter where I’ve worked, nothing has garnered more complaints from co-workers than the temperature of the office. The problem is that no two people like things exactly the same temperature. “I’d rather it was warm. If I dress in layers I can always take something off.” Or “I like it cold. It keeps me alert in the afternoon. Plus, you can always put on a sweater if it’s too cold.”
I once worked with a psychiatrist who didn’t want to be cold. She went to the trouble to cut up pieces of that flexible, vinyl-like material with the magnetic backing so she could cover the vents in her office to keep the cool air out. Unfortunately she had the thermostat. Since her office was warm due to the blocked vents, the thermostat kept the air conditioning on 24/7 resulting in the rest of the offices on her side of the hall being cold enough to keep meat in. It’s because of this that I once got my tongue stuck frozen to my door knob. Why did I touch my tongue to the door knob? Why not? Who can resist the seductive lure of cold metal against a bare tongue?
So now, I’m one of the Office Gods. How shall I use my new power? Do I charge money or demand favors for a certain temperature setting? Should I just set it where I like it regardless of my co-workers discomfort? Or do I keep my mouth shut and gradually raise or lower the temperature to see what the limits of human endurance are? Do I monkey with the temperature to determine how it affects my co-workers moods? Do I want to be remembered as a kind and benevolent Office God, or do I give in to the lure of evil?
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