I've always dreamed of writing a best-selling self-help book, but since I'm not very good at anything, I thought it was just another pipe dream. Then I realized I was great at being bad. I could help people become failures. Instead of taking years to become bitter, dismal, self-hating losers, I could teach people how to do it in months — days even!
Here are some quick and easy-to-follow lessons from what may be a publishing first — a self-hindrance book.
DRINK A LOT OF LIQUOR FIRST THING, EVERY DAY
It sends the message that you're so talented, you don't even have to be sober to do this stinking job for which you're overqualified, anyway. You don't have a problem — they've got the problem. They don't pay you enough to tell you what to do on your own time. Especially lunch. What do they think? You're going to hang around here until somebody dies just to get the promotion you should have been given two years ago? Harris only got it because you were out with the gout. He doesn't have alimony and child support to pay, and yet he's making all the money, the creepy little toady.
IF YOU'RE UNHAPPY, MAKE SURE EVERYONE'S UNHAPPY
Some people are afraid to show their feelings. Not you. If you're having a bad day, let people know it by making sure they have a bad day, too.
LET THEM KNOW WHO'S THE BOSS
How do they think you got to be the senior assistant to the secretary of East Side office supply distribution? Because all the women in the head office said you made them uncomfortable? Because you wore your Civil War re-enactment uniform on casual Friday? No, because Harris told them you were smoking cigarettes in the break room. It's like he's out to get you.
IT'S ALWAYS SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT
People ARE out to get you. Remember, none of your problems is caused by you. You're not the reason you're late for work, the cop that pulled you over for speeding is the one to blame. And you wouldn't have been speeding except that you got up late because you were out drinking until the bars closed because Bob said let's go get a drink. So if anyone's to blame, it's Bob.
TELL CO-WORKERS WHAT THEY'RE DOING WRONG
This is an especially effective way of derailing your career path. It works even better if you're not doing your own job particularly well. Most people are too polite to say, "Hey jerk, how come you've got time to tell me how to do my job, but yours isn't even halfway done?" At least they're too polite the first two times. The third time, they'll let loose.
TALK ABOUT OFFICE POLITICS ALL THE TIME
That's why you had to take diversity training twice, office politics. That's why you got a bad review, office politics. That's why you flunked the random drug test, office politics.
DON'T BE A BUTT-KISSER
All those people who get their work done right and on time just to make the boss happy make you sick, don't they? The little suck-ups will do anything to get ahead, show up on time, work hard, keep their nose to the grindstone. Well, they can't buy you, can they? Do stuff whenever you feel like it, not when it's convenient for strivers like Harris.
LET THE BOSS KNOW YOU'RE DOING HER A FAVOR BY EVEN SHOWING UP
This single step can speed up the whole process of your goal of becoming a lifelong loser. Make sure everyone in the company knows you're just here until something better comes along, like president of running the whole world. It practically guarantees you'll be laid off in the next round of "right-sizing," leading to your long, steady spiral into a bottomless pit of remorse and recrimination. Which is what Harris probably had planned for you all along, the backstabbing, credit-grabbing butt-kisser.
Remember, only you have the power to royally screw up your life. I can only tell you how, but it's up to you to act on these sure-fire steps to absolute failure. Good luck!
Jim Mullen is the author of "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" and "Baby's First Tattoo." You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2007, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.