An Open Letter to the Best-Worst People I’ve Ever Met

It’s my last day in the Nebo office, and it’s bittersweet. It’s been two and a half years, and a great two and a half  years. In my time here I’ve learned more about SEO than I ever thought possible. I've petted countless adorable dogs, eaten lots of cookies, and had the privilege to work with some seriously awesome and talented people.

But sometimes, even awesome people suck. And I’m not afraid to tell them.

In fact, they seem to like it when I do. Over my time here, I developed a reputation (fan following?) for my brutal honesty. I tell the truth, even when it hurts—usually in the form of email.

It’s not that I’m mean. It’s just that I care. When someone leaves a pile of noodles in the communal sink, that is a cry for help. Of course I’m going to email to the entire office, asking for this poor, misguided soul to come forward so that we can discuss the difference between a trash can and a sink.

It’s the right thing to do.

And now, on my last day before heading off into the remote-life sunset, I’ve been asked (read: forced) to write one last parting message. Here it goes.

Hey All,

It has come to my attention that many of you have zero idea of how to exist in a community space. I find this surprising considering we are all adults here, but the evidence is undeniable. In fact, many of us around the office have been wondering exactly how tf you live at home. So while I have your ear, I just had a couple of quick notes and pointers I’ve jotted down about how you might be less awful around the office.


Section I: The Kitchen

Restocking Things: Doesn’t it suck that most of the time the LaCroix in the fridge is warm? Well, it sucks because you suck. If you took the time to restock the LaCroix while there are still other LaCroixs in the fridge, they’d have enough time to chill down and we wouldn’t be in this mess. (Ditto for Red Bull, however, I don’t drink that stuff because this is my place of work, not a nightclub circa 2007.)

Refrigerator Usage: There are a lot of us here in the office and one refrigerator for personal food. Your bulky ass lunch box doesn’t need to be taking up half of the coveted second shelf. Furthermore, leaving food in the personal fridge until it stinks like a rotting corpse or until the admin has to throw it away for you is weird and gross. If you don’t plan to eat it, throw it out.

General Cleanliness: There is a special place in hell for those of you who leave the soggy remains of your lunch in the sink. Fortunately for you, it will not be lonely there because most of you seem to do this. I am confident that you will be next door to the people who do not rinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Pack your aloe now, A-holes.

Communal Food: We have a lot of communal snacks and goodies in the office, which is awesome! But some of you interact with this communal food in a way that is borderline antisocial. I could go on for a while here, but I’ll keep it short: Don’t put empty peanut butter jars back in the cupboard; don’t leave the bread bags open; don’t reach around the end piece of bread to get to the normal bread, thereby leaving the now man-handled end piece of bread in the bag; don’t think for a second that leaving both end pieces of bread in an otherwise empty bag is appropriate; don’t open a new box of triscuits when there is a half-full box of the same flavor right next to it; don’t put your hand into any package of communal food — always pour/shake/whatever; NEVER be seen putting your hand into your mouth and back into a container of communal food (you savage).

Unofficial Fish Policy: If you put fish into the microwave, know that everyone here wishes you dead.

Section II: The Bathrooms

Toilet Paper Rolls: How you’ve made it this far without learning the proper etiquette for this scenario is a mystery to me, but here we go. If you have used the last of the toilet paper, common courtesy dictates that you replace the roll. If there is one lone square of toilet paper wrapped around the cardboard tube, that counts as using the last of the roll. Replace the roll.

Hand Soap: Stop watering down the hand soap in the bathroom in lieu of replacing it. Just stop. This is not 1936. We have plenty of soap. If you are doing this to avoid replacing said hand soap because you don’t know where we stock the office supplies, try asking. You can copy and paste the following message and slack it to directly the admin: “Hey! Sorry to bother you while you are doing your actual job, but I need my hand held for a sec. We’re out of soap in one of the bathrooms. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough to check the obvious places because my head is quite far up my own ass. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction? Thanks! :hugging_face:”

Poop Stink: It is a mystery to me that some of you elect to take a dump here in the office without using the spray provided. There is simply no excuse for this behavior. Use the spray, use the fan, and, upon exiting the lavatory, do not fling the door open to let that stench roll through the office like the poison fog from the Hunger Games. Close the door most of the way, leave the fan on, skulk away.

Skid Marks: For the love of all that is holy, never leave the restroom while streaks of your own feces decorate the toilet bowl. Nobody else should have to see that and it’s an easy problem to fix. Just give it a second flush. If a second flush is not sufficient to erase the evil that you have unleashed upon the toilet, I suggest you consider a more fibrous diet or maybe go see a doctor.

Section III: Interoffice Communications

Sloppy Emailing: From time to time, some of you will send emails (or post messages in basecamp) that are verifiable clusterf*cks of typos and grammatical errors. This means I have to spend twice as long decoding your secret effing message, and then I have to spend a minimum of 90 seconds lamenting the state of public education in this country. I ain’t got time for that. Install Grammarly on your browser. Communicate in a way that at least resembles English.

OOTO Emails: You’re going on vacation? Amazing! You know what else is amazing? How few f*cks everyone else in the office gives about that. We have UNLIMITED PTO. We all go on vacation. A lot. Unless you interface with every person in the office on a daily basis, your OOTO notification should not be sent to the attention of the entire company. Notify your team and any party who might actually notice that you aren’t here and leave it at that. (This also applies to WFH emails, doctor’s appointment emails and the like. Literally nobody cares.)

Sick Emails: You’re sick? Stay the hell away from the office. Do so without alerting the entire company to the matter (see above, OOTO emails). Notify the necessary parties, load up on Tussin and then move on with your day. Additionally, there is no instance where the details of your condition need to be included in this correspondence. There is never going to be a day when I want to read about your G.I. upset. Ever.

Slack Channels: Slack rocks. It enables us to partake in water cooler banter any time from the comfort of our desks. We are living in the future. Many of us post commentary, fluff articles and other non-work related content to company wide channels such as #random and #general from time to time. However, if you are doing this with too much frequency, please understand that this makes it clear to those around you that you do not work very hard and that you could probably be replaced by an intern.

Section IV: Behavioral Issues

Eating at Your Desk: Sure, there are times when we all need to work through lunch. Just be mindful of the fact that we work in an open concept office and you should practice the fine art of chewing with your mouth closed. How are we supposed to get our work done with the sound of you chowing down on a seemingly endless mountain of wet, crunchy food floating through the air? Also, if you bring microwaved fish back to your desk, please know everyone at the pod wishes a curse on your house.

Lying: Say what you mean. Don’t tell me that you will have “limited access to email on vacation.” Tell me “I am going on vacation, which gives me license to give zero f*cks about my work email for the next x number of days.” Definitely don’t make up a bunch of fake illness symptoms and tell me about them instead of just saying you want to work from home. Don’t be a liar.

Scheduling Meetings Without Agendas: How am I supposed to come prepared and be productive when your meeting is a damn mystery? If there is one thing I think all of us would like to never do again, it’s have a meeting to basically set the agenda for our next meeting in a couple of days. Stop doing this shit. Be a part of the solution.

Ignoring Your Cell Phone Alarm: You know who you are. You put the volume on your ringer on max and somehow always find a way to wander off to god-knows-where before it goes off. Y tho? Follow up; are you seriously setting an alarm for 10:30 on a workday? Grow up.



Do great work and act civilized.



Written by Joy Brandon on September 8, 2017


Add A Comment

I was reminded by a colleague that "every zebra has to earn their stripes." This was in the context of discussing whether or not we at the university (professors, should spend more time supporting students with their EQ skills. I don't want to chalk this up to a generational observation; millennials get s*%t on enough. It takes a village. Hopefully, small nudges of encouragement can help. And, this is a fantastic reminder of how grateful those of us that had parents/grandparents/relatives/friends teach us about social awareness, manners, and decency, are truly blessed.

Liz R says:

Not exactly about the article, but about La Croix (which is totally gross warm - agree!) If you like LaCroix, y'all should try Spindrift sparking water for a change. I am now obsessed. Trust!

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Written by
Joy Brandon
Director of SEO