Post Academic


A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office: The Kitchen

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on November 2, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionIn the last entry for “A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office,” I discussed what happens when you get too close to your coworkers. Today, I’ll tackle one of the easiest ways to alienate your peers–poor kitchen habits. Nothing pisses people off faster than messing with their food. In grad school, you were probably at home, and you made your own lunch. In the Hamster World, you’ll be sharing kitchen space, and these battles are territorial and dangerous.

Don’t eat anyone else’s lunch, ever. You’re working late at night. You’re starving and a pizza will take forever. Trust me: Be patient and order the pizza. Sure, you can sneak some salad dressing. You might even be able to sneak some mustard or cream cheese, but beware of bags that appear to contain a full meal. You’ll be sorry because the bag has probably been in the fridge since prehistoric times.

Put your name on your food. Writing your name on your food with a sticky note or a magic marker is a deterrent. It suggests that you’ll be watching if anyone dares think of eating your leftovers.

Don’t throw anyone else’s food out. Even if you know that tub of mac-and-cheese has been in the fridge for a month, don’t toss it. You will be surprised by what people are willing to eat. I’ve worked in dot-coms, and it never ceases to amaze. Some people do not believe in expiration dates. Either that, or they have stomach linings made of Kevlar.

More Hamster World kitchen tips after the jump! Restaurant, Mandeville, Louisiana. Old refrigerator. Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

Let the professionals clean out the refrigerator. One of my favorite workplace stories is of the kindhearted woman who took it upon herself to clean out the refrigerator in her workplace. As she uncovered the decomposing cuisine, it unleashed an odor so intense that the building had to be evacuated and some individuals went to the hospital.

Wipe down the countertop after food prep. When you’re in a hurry to take your lunch back to your desk or to make a meeting, those stray crumbs from the toaster aren’t a big deal. And why should they be? But multiply that by the number of coworkers you have who are thinking the same thing. Your countertop will be filthy by the end of the lunch hour.

If you don’t clean up after yourself, you may find yourself the audience for a series of increasingly aggressive signs hung above the sink, such as “Please clean up after yourself,” “Clean up after your meal,” and “Hey, loser! Your mom doesn’t work here! Clean up, dammit!” Don’t be that guy, and your life in the Hamster World will be much easier.

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One Response to 'A Post Academic’s Guide to the Office: The Kitchen'

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  1. Good points. And now I’m thinking of that episode of ‘The Office’ where Pam puts up the sign about cleaning the microwave and snickering.


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