October 10, 2023
This week it’s “Dear Office Ladies”! Jenna and Angela are answering workplace advice questions from listeners. This includes tips to nail an interview, deal with a supervisor who takes personal calls on speaker phone and how to be the coolest person in the office using sauce packets. So sit back, relax and see if your office is as wild as Creed hanging out in the women’s bathroom.
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181 — Dear Office Ladies
Jenna [00:00:03] I’m Jenna Fischer.
Angela [00:00:04] And I’m Angela Kinsey.
Jenna [00:00:06] In our lives, we have worked in real offices and one very famous fake office.
Angela [00:00:10] And now we’re here to give you advice on your workplace dilemmas, as only two best friends who worked in a fake office together can.
Jenna [00:00:18] We can’t promise it’ll be good advice, but we’ll try.
Angela [00:00:21] Welcome to
Both [00:00:22] Dear Office Ladies.
Jenna [00:00:27] Hello!
Angela [00:00:27] Hey! What’s up, Dear Office Lady?
Jenna [00:00:30] Oh, my gosh. I love our little theme.
Angela [00:00:33] I do, too. Thank you to Jordan Duffy. She composed that for us.
Jenna [00:00:38] So great.
Angela [00:00:39] So fun.
Jenna [00:00:40] We’re really excited to be here. We’re doing something new today!
Angela [00:00:43] That’s right. So here’s what’s happening. A while back, if you remember, Cassi’s friend and coworker Emma had this great idea of us doing an episode where we hear all about your offices and maybe give you some advice on your workplace dilemmas.
Jenna [00:00:58] So we asked you guys to write us with your work life advice questions, and we got over 1500 emails in one week.
Angela [00:01:07] I know!
Jenna [00:01:08] It was crazy! So we’re going to jump in and see what we can do to help you solve your problems. We cannot promise we’re going to have all the answers, but we will try.
Angela [00:01:16] We’ll definitely chat about it, though.
Jenna [00:01:18] I do have a question before we get started, Angela.
Angela [00:01:20] Okay?
Jenna [00:01:21] How are you in general about giving advice? Do you give people advice?
Angela [00:01:25] It makes me very uncomfortable.
Jenna [00:01:28] This- see, I knew this about you!
Angela [00:01:29] It makes me very nervous. Unless I’ve known you a really long time. Like if you’re a very close friend or family. And then I know you, you know?
Jenna [00:01:38] Yes.
Angela [00:01:38] But if I don’t know you, I get nervous that I’m gonna lead you astray.
Jenna [00:01:43] Yeah.
Angela [00:01:44] So I have some- I’m nervous-cited, I guess you could say, about today.
Jenna [00:01:48] All right.
Angela [00:01:49] Jenna, what about you?
Jenna [00:01:51] I don’t like to give unsolicited advice.
Angela [00:01:53] Sure.
Jenna [00:01:53] Because I don’t necessarily like to receive it. Sometimes it’s conversation, you know, like, I’ll tell someone I’m gluten free and they might recommend a product to me, and I, I like that. I don’t see that as unsolicited advice. But I will tell you, I do enjoy giving advice. I don’t mind it. I love to dig in with a person and offer ideas. You know, I love to break down my own life and strategize and stuff, so I kind of like it.
Angela [00:02:22] I will say this. I like to problem solve.
Jenna [00:02:25] Sure. That’s what I’m saying, I guess.
Angela [00:02:27] Yeah. So maybe that part of me will open up in doing this podcast.
Jenna [00:02:31] That’s right.
Angela [00:02:32] Well, Jenna, Sam, Cassi, before we start opening up these letters from folks, I thought you might be curious to know the top ten office gripes that I found online.
Jenna [00:02:43] Oh?
Angela [00:02:44] Yeah. Maybe we’ll get letters about this.
Jenna [00:02:47] Okay.
Angela [00:02:47] This is like a little bit of preparation. Ready?
Jenna [00:02:51] Yes.
Angela [00:02:51] Number one, I.T. issues.
Jenna [00:02:54] Okay. I’m not going to be able to help anybody with that problem.
Angela [00:02:58] I know. Number two, computers being slow, which wouldn’t that be I.T. issues?
Jenna [00:03:03] We don’t know.
Angela [00:03:05] We’re not sure. Number three, people speaking loudly.
Jenna [00:03:09] I know we have some letters about that.
Angela [00:03:11] Mmhmm. Number four: people who have conversations right behind your desk.
Jenna [00:03:17] These feel similar
Angela [00:03:18] Don’t they? I’m also like, Wait. Then you’re over hearing them. Are they speaking loud? Number five: people who leave dirty dishes in the work sink.
Jenna [00:03:27] Well. I think we know how Pam feels about people not cleaning the kitchen.
Angela [00:03:33] Mm-hmm.Number six, when someone calls in sick when you know they aren’t sick.
Jenna [00:03:38] Yes.
Angela [00:03:39] Number seven- I didn’t see this one coming. Are you ready?
Jenna [00:03:42] Okay.
Angela [00:03:42] Smelly toilets.
Jenna [00:03:45] Oh.
Angela [00:03:46] I know. Number eight: printers breaking down, which again, I think could go under I.T. issues. Number nine: coming into work when you are sick. So there’s people that are like, don’t fake it, but don’t also bring your germs to work. And then number ten, people who take things from your desk without asking.
Jenna [00:04:07] This happens to receptionists all the time. As a person who was the real receptionist, people, they come by and they take your pens, they take your stapler, they take a piece of paper, and they don’t bring them back!
Angela [00:04:20] Well, when I was looking this up online, Jenna, there is a lot of chatter out there about workplace etiquette.
Jenna [00:04:26] Well, like I told you, Angela, we got 1500 letters in one week.
Angela [00:04:31] Well, then we’ve got a lot of work to do, Jenna.
Jenna [00:04:33] Why don’t we take a break, and when we come back, we’re going to get to it.
Angela [00:04:36] Let’s do it. We are back and I’m going to share our very first letter on Dear Office Ladies.
Jenna [00:04:46] I loved this letter.
Angela [00:04:47] I cracked up.
Jenna [00:04:49] I was so tickled.
Angela [00:04:49] Oh, my gosh. Okay, now, some of you have let us know to not use your full name. So this is from T in Minneapolis. Dear Office Ladies, I work downtown, and our company has recently moved into a new building. There’s an extremely long hallway, maybe 150 feet, that is a buffer between the bullpen and the elevator banks. I need a pause in her letter for one second.
Jenna [00:05:16] Okay.
Angela [00:05:17] I went on this website where you can get a visual cue for how long something is or how far or how wide. Right?
Jenna [00:05:23] Okay.
Angela [00:05:24] I love it. The website I went to is called Measuringly.com.
Jenna [00:05:29] Okay?
Angela [00:05:30] So for you folks that need a visual cue like I do, 150 feet is about the length of two and a half bowling alleys!
Jenna [00:05:38] Wow. Okay. This is a very long hallway.
Angela [00:05:40] Yes. And T has to walk down this hallway because that is where the restrooms are.
Jenna [00:05:45] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:05:46] T said, While using said hallway, I encounter people walking in the opposite direction, but they’re so far away, I can’t figure out how many strides away I should be before I acknowledge them. Do I shout my greetings the second I see them? It’s a conundrum. From yours truly, A socially awkward person.
Jenna [00:06:07] T, I felt this.
Angela [00:06:08] Oh, man did I feel this.
Jenna [00:06:10] I feel like this happens to me sometimes at drop off and pick up at school.
Angela [00:06:16] Oh yeah. Yeah.
Jenna [00:06:17] Right?
Angela [00:06:18] You see people from so far away.
Jenna [00:06:20] And when do you do the nod and the wave? When do you do it?
Angela [00:06:24] Yeah.
Jenna [00:06:25] I have a trick for this.
Angela [00:06:26] Oh, let’s hear it.
Jenna [00:06:28] I call it the hangnail trick.
Angela [00:06:29] Hangnail?
Jenna [00:06:30] You can also use your phone. But if you don’t have your phone.
Angela [00:06:33] Did you fidget and look at your fingers?
Jenna [00:06:35] Yes I do. I pretend like I have a hangnail I’m investigating so I can look down at my hands until I can feel that I’m closer. And then you look up and then you acknowledge. So that way you don’t get, like, the awkward eye contact from too far away. And then you have to, like, continue the eye contact all the way down the bowling alleys.
Angela [00:06:56] Yes. How long do I keep eye contact?
Jenna [00:06:58] Right.
Angela [00:06:59] Yeah.
Jenna [00:06:59] So one, I would say carry your phone with you because then you can be absorbed in something. If you don’t have your phone, check your hangnail.
Angela [00:07:10] Yeah. Basically have an item of business.
Jenna [00:07:13] Yes. That gets you down the hallway to avoid this conundrum.
Angela [00:07:17] So then when you pass someone, you just pass them right at the moment and just say, hi.
Jenna [00:07:22] Hey!
Angela [00:07:22] Hey. Yeah.
Jenna [00:07:23] Yeah. What do you think?
Angela [00:07:25] I really like this. I think, like, I am so bad at this, I often wave the minute I see someone.
Jenna [00:07:33] No, this is you.
Angela [00:07:34] It’s instinctual. I see you. I see you. I’m waving. I’m waving. So I would wave way at the beginning. And then I feel no pressure. And then when I get right near you, I’d be like, Hey!
Jenna [00:07:47] So this wouldn’t cause you anxiety, this long hallway?
Angela [00:07:50] Not if I get my wave in at the top.
Jenna [00:07:52] I see.
Angela [00:07:53] It’s like I got you. I got you. Now I can just be in my own skin.
Jenna [00:07:57] That’s another solution.
Angela [00:07:58] Yeah, Sometimes I’ve done that and the person has not wave back from afar.
Jenna [00:08:03] Oh.
Angela [00:08:04] Then I do get in my head.
Jenna [00:08:06] This is when you get your hangnail.
Angela [00:08:07] This is when I’m going to look at my fingers.
Jenna [00:08:10] T, thank you for writing us. We hope that that helps.
Angela [00:08:12] Yes, item of business or just wave right at the top.
Jenna [00:08:16] Our next question is from J.C. In Indiana. Here’s what J.C. had to say: My office bathroom is small, but it has a small couch in it. Lately, when I’ve wanted to use the restroom, our office receptionist is on the couch, on the phone, texting or otherwise relaxing. My question is, who wants to relax in an office bathroom? Has anyone else experienced this? I find the interaction awkward at best, given I am not there to relax on the couch. Help. Well, J.C., you might remember that a certain someone at Dunder Mifflin spent some time on a couch in the women’s restroom.
Angela [00:08:54] Creed!
Jenna [00:08:55] Yes.
Angela [00:08:55] Creed. It was so- even though we were just, like, pretending, it was still so awkward, just the idea of having someone lounge in the restroom. Because when you got to go, you need no one out there, you know?
Jenna [00:09:09] Yeah. I mean, yes. I would have a very hard time tinkling.
Angela [00:09:15] Doing any business.
Jenna [00:09:17] Yeah. I mean, I get, what do you call it? Pee fright.
Angela [00:09:20] You get nervous pee?
Jenna [00:09:21] A little bit. So, you know, sometimes what I do is I do the flush and go.
Angela [00:09:27] You flush and pee at the same time? Doesn’t that splash your butt?
Jenna [00:09:31] No.
Angela [00:09:32] Are you up a little?
Jenna [00:09:33] Cuz it’s going down. It’s going down. No, I’ll tell you something I don’t do.
Angela [00:09:37] Some have a kick back, though. What?
Jenna [00:09:38] I do not hover or squat over a toilet seat. And I find the whole practice very annoying. Because the people who do spray the seat, and most of the time, they don’t clean it up.
Angela [00:09:50] No.
Jenna [00:09:50] And I really got upset about this when I was pregnant, because you know when you definitely can’t hover? When you’ve got a giant preggers belly.
Angela [00:09:57] Yeah.
Jenna [00:09:58] I got to sit down and go, but first I’m cleaning up someone else’s spray. Everyone just sit down.
Angela [00:10:05] Here’s my situation. You know, the little liner things that you can put-
Jenna [00:10:08] Yeah. The liner thing.
Angela [00:10:09] Okay, my stream isn’t strong enough to get the flap out of the way, so then the flap of the liner can come back. Not happening, not into it. So I do two little strips of toilet paper and I make my own little seat. We’re off topic here.
Jenna [00:10:26] We have taken a turn.
Angela [00:10:27] Wait. We have gone off topic.
Jenna [00:10:30] We’re sorry. One moment. Back to the letter.
Angela [00:10:33] Okay. Here’s the thing, J.C.. I don’t know why the receptionist is in there texting and on the phone and all that. My guess is maybe there’s no breakroom? Nowhere for her to go to, to just be off the clock, so to speak?
Jenna [00:10:46] That was my first question.
Angela [00:10:48] If that’s not true, J.C., if there is a break room… This is what I think you should do. I think maybe you get the keys to the office on a Saturday morning whenever someone’s not there- hear me out.
Jenna [00:11:03] This is very elaborate.
Angela [00:11:04] Jenna’s giving me such a look. You get rid of the sofa. Get it out of there.
Jenna [00:11:09] This is a big move.
Angela [00:11:11] Well, then there’s nowhere to sit and hang out. It becomes a non-hangout zone.
Jenna [00:11:16] So your solution is get rid of the couch?
Angela [00:11:20] Yeah. Or you could, you know, be an adult and just talk to the receptionist and say, Hey, when you’re in here, I can’t go go because you’re in here. And it’s awkward.
Jenna [00:11:29] Yeah. I mean, J.C., you’re probably not the only person that is having this problem. You would be the hero of the office. You could just confront it head on. Or, I suppose, break into the office after hours and remove the couch. These are the two options. But I’m with you. It’s odd. Who wants to be in there?
Angela [00:11:50] Nobody. It’s not a hangout zone.
Jenna [00:11:53] It’s not a hangout zone. Everyone stop hanging out in your bathrooms.
Angela [00:11:56] I mean, listen, sometimes you do go to the bathroom and get chatty, you know, with other people.
Jenna [00:12:04] Hmm? What?
Angela [00:12:06] I mean, I feel like if you and I were like, we went to a ladies room, we might have a comvo where we’re washing our hands.
Jenna [00:12:13] That is not what we’re talking about here.
Angela [00:12:14] I know. It’s sofa hangout. No, sofa hangout.
Jenna [00:12:17] Don’t hang out on a sofa in a bathroom.
Angela [00:12:21] That’s what I’m saying. It’s a non sofa hang. Non sofa hang.
Jenna [00:12:25] It’s a non sofa hang zone. Maybe put a sign up.
Angela [00:12:29] Non sofas.
Jenna [00:12:29] If you put a sofa in there, someone’s going to sit on it. I’ve come around, Angela. Lose the sofa.
Angela [00:12:34] Thank you. Our next letter is from A.R. in Syracuse. A.R. says, How do I tell a coworker to take private calls not on speaker phone? This person frequently is talking to banks, doctors, their mom about very specific personal matters while I’m trying to work and it makes it difficult to focus. I know way too much about their personal life because they’re always on speaker phone. Also, this person happens to be my supervisor. Please help.
Jenna [00:13:07] Oh, boy.
Angela [00:13:08] Oh, boy.
Jenna [00:13:08] This would drive me crazy.
Angela [00:13:10] This is very Michael Scott.
Jenna [00:13:12] Yes. This is a little bit of a pet peeve of mine.
Angela [00:13:15] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:13:15] The speakerphone talking.
Angela [00:13:16] Yeah. Well, you might want to be careful then, when you call my mom, because my mom now, she used to not. But now, you know, every conversation she has is on speaker phone. Every time I call her, it doesn’t matter where she is. I’m on speakerphone.
Jenna [00:13:31] Okay. Here’s the thing. I think when you get older, it’s easier to hear on speaker phone.
Angela [00:13:37] Yes.
Jenna [00:13:38] I’ve noticed this. I’ll see elderly people that are like, hold on a second. I got to switch you to speakerphone. Because they it’s the sound is better. And also, there are people with hearing impairments who need to be on speaker phone. But that’s it.
Angela [00:13:53] Everyone else.
Jenna [00:13:54] Everyone else, stop it.
Angela [00:13:55] Lock it down.
Jenna [00:13:56] Yes. You know, I’m pretty sure that the 40 year old business guy that I saw in Starbucks the other day did not need to have his call on speaker phone.
Angela [00:14:06] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:14:07] We get it.
Angela [00:14:08] We get it.
Jenna [00:14:08] You’re doing important business.
Angela [00:14:10] You’re important.
Jenna [00:14:10] Now we all know. Shut it down.
Angela [00:14:14] Well, I was curious what the Internet said about this type of etiquette. And according to a website called The Dapper Diplomat, here are six situations where using a speakerphone is not okay.
Jenna [00:14:26] Is one of them funerals?
Angela [00:14:28] Huh? No.
Jenna [00:14:29] What?
Angela [00:14:31] Oh, my gosh. I hope not!
Jenna [00:14:33] You’d be surprised at the things people do.
Angela [00:14:37] That’s true.
Jenna [00:14:38] All right. What are the six that they say?
Angela [00:14:40] Airport lounge.
Jenna [00:14:42] Yes.
Angela [00:14:43] Okay. Client meeting.
Jenna [00:14:45] Of course.
Angela [00:14:47] Restaurant.
Jenna [00:14:48] Yes.
Angela [00:14:49] My mom talks to me on speakerphone at restaurants.
Jenna [00:14:51] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:14:53] I love you, Mom. I love you.
Jenna [00:14:56] Your mom gets a pass. We’ve already established that.
Angela [00:14:57] Okay. Yes, Yes. But I need to remember. Now, whenever I call her, I just say, Where are you at, Mom? First thing I say.
Jenna [00:15:03] Where am I on speakerphone, that’s what your subtext is.
Angela [00:15:04] Exactly. Mm hmm. Next one is doctor’s office.
Jenna [00:15:09] Yeah.
Angela [00:15:10] No speakerphone at the doctor’s office. Restroom.
Jenna [00:15:13] Okay. Yeah. Right?
Angela [00:15:16] And the checkout line.
Jenna [00:15:17] Yeah.
Angela [00:15:18] I agree with that list.
Jenna [00:15:20] I do, too. I have some advice for A.R. in Syracuse with this problem. You know, sometimes people have a hard time recognizing their behavior until they see it, like, mirrored back to them. So maybe A.R. can get a friend and they can stage like, a highly personal, private overshare conversation on speaker phone in the proximity of this person who is always talking on speaker phone. Maybe they’ll, like, see it and get it and have an epiphany?
Angela [00:15:53] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:15:54] Yeah, because I see how it’s like, I don’t think you can say, Hey, can you stop taking all those calls on speaker phone?
Angela [00:16:02] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:16:03] Right?
Angela [00:16:03] Yeah. I mean…
Jenna [00:16:04] You can’t directly say it.
Angela [00:16:05] This is this person’s supervisor.
Jenna [00:16:08] Yes.
Angela [00:16:08] So there’s that. Here’s what I was going to suggest.
Jenna [00:16:12] Okay.
Angela [00:16:13] The next time A.R. you are speaking with your supervisor, I would ask about one of the very personal things you overheard.
Jenna [00:16:22] No.
Angela [00:16:23] Yes. I would say, did you get that rash cleared up or whatever it is?
Jenna [00:16:29] Yeah.
Angela [00:16:30] Yeah.
Jenna [00:16:31] Another thing you could do is you could try the, like, the triangulate method where you go to your supervisor and you say there’s a coworker who has taken a few personal calls on speakerphone, and I feel a little uncomfortable about it, and I just didn’t know, like, is there a way maybe you would write, like, a general email to the group?
Angela [00:16:53] No no no no no!
Jenna [00:16:53] You think they’re doing to know immediately?
Angela [00:16:57] I think you have Pam brain right now from years of playing Pam. This is how Pam would placate Michael, but it would always blow up in her face. No. Then the boss is like, We need to have a meeting, everyone. I don’t know. I don’t know. But I like your idea of mirroring. And then I like my idea of just, like, lean into it and be like, Hey, how is the toe fungus? Did you finally get that cleared up?
Jenna [00:17:22] Two ways to go.
Angela [00:17:23] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:17:24] Well, listen, I think we should take a break. When we come back, we have a serious parking situation to discuss.
Angela [00:17:30] Yes, we do.
Jenna [00:17:34] We are back, and our next letters from C.W. in Minnesota. C.W. says this: Since the pandemic started, I have been working from home, but my office recently announced that we are now required to come in two days a week. I would not be mad about this, but they make us pay for parking.
Angela [00:17:53] What?
Jenna [00:17:54] Yeah. And get this, the company owns the parking lot.
Angela [00:17:59] No!
Jenna [00:18:00] Yes!
Angela [00:18:00] Come on!
Jenna [00:18:01] And still makes the employees pay to park. It costs $10 a day.
Angela [00:18:06] That’s B.S.
Jenna [00:18:07] That is over $1,000 a year.
Angela [00:18:10] C.W., I would be ticked off.
Jenna [00:18:12] Yes, there’s more. The parking ramp isn’t even big enough for all the employees, so some people have to park further away and walk 15 minutes to the office. See Kevin in Chair Model model for my feelings on this.
Angela [00:18:27] Yes.
Jenna [00:18:28] This is crazy, right? I should not have to pay to go to work.
Angela [00:18:31] Agree. I’m with C.W. on this. I think that’s a load of crap. I mean, you’re basically taking $1,000 out of your salary to park. That is B.S..
Jenna [00:18:42] Do you want to hear something? Do you want to hear why I connected with this question?
Angela [00:18:45] Yeah
Jenna [00:18:46] This happened to me. I was working as an executive assistant in this big office building in downtown Los Angeles. It had a parking garage, but the company would only pay for the parking spaces of the executives. It was part of their salary package. I was an hourly worker. I didn’t have a salary package. It didn’t include parking. I had to park in a pay lot several blocks away and walk probably ten or 15 minutes.
Angela [00:19:14] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:19:15] So one time when my boss was going to go on vacation, I asked if I could use his parking space while he was gone. I said, Would you mind if I use your parking card? And I parked in your space? And he was like, Well, don’t you already park here? And I said, No, I don’t park here. I park down on Fifth Street.
Angela [00:19:35] Fifteen minutes away. Yeah.
Jenna [00:19:36] He was like, What?! To his credit, when he found out that I did not get to park in the building, he made the company give me a parking space. They changed the policy.
Angela [00:19:46] That’s great!
Jenna [00:19:47] Because he was amazing. This guy was amazing.
Angela [00:19:49] That’s a good boss. He just didn’t know.
Jenna [00:19:51] Right? Well, clearly, this company knows.
Angela [00:19:53] Well, yeah. Well, I will tell you this. I was working years ago at a company, and they had parking for us in the building, and then it was bought out by another company and they got rid of our parking. Same thing. Execs had parking. The rest of us, they paid Sears department store, which was three blocks away, for parking for us. So we had to now start parking at the Sears department store and walk three blocks. And it was hot and like, you would carry your lunch and all your things. And one time-
Jenna [00:20:27] Don’t leave anything in your car. I’ll tell you that.
Angela [00:20:29] No. Don’t leave anything in your car. And then here’s the other thing. Some days Sears was busy. And I was like, Where are we parking? Then Sears would put everyone with our company sticker in their back lot. Do you see what I’m saying?
Jenna [00:20:43] I do.
Angela [00:20:43] So then I had to start factoring in all this extra time to get to work so that I could figure out, is it going to be a busy day at Sears or not?
Jenna [00:20:52] Yeah. You’re tracking. Are they having things on sale?
Angela [00:20:54] Yeah. Memorial Day sale. Who knows?
Jenna [00:20:56] Oh, dear.
Angela [00:20:57] Forget it. So then one day it made- I’m telling you, this parking lot thing made me into a grumpier person when I would show up to work. One day I walk in and I’m waiting for the elevator to go up to the office, and my manager, my boss was there. He wasn’t the boss boss, just my manager. He started talking to me about this new script that we would have to say as operators.
Jenna [00:21:21] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:21:22] And it was 15 minutes before I clocked in.
Jenna [00:21:25] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:21:25] Because we actually clocked in.
Jenna [00:21:27] Right.
Angela [00:21:28] And I turned to him, and I said, I don’t work for you yet.
Jenna [00:21:31] Oh, my gosh. That is not you.
Angela [00:21:34] It is not me.
Jenna [00:21:35] You are a friendly person.
Angela [00:21:36] I’m a friendly person.
Jenna [00:21:38] This broke you!
Angela [00:21:38] This broke me. I was so frustrated and annoyed. And this is a job where I- it was like not a great job anyway. And I was just like, Oh my gosh. His eyes got so big. I said, If you want to talk to me about this, you can talk to me at 10 a.m.
Jenna [00:21:57] After you clock in.
Angela [00:21:58] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:21:59] You know what? You’re really pointing at something here, Angela, which is that this is how C.W is starting these days. With resentment.
Angela [00:22:08] Yes.
Jenna [00:22:09] Feeling like the company doesn’t value them.
Angela [00:22:11] Exactly. Exactly.
Jenna [00:22:12] That’s not good office policy.
Angela [00:22:14] No.
Jenna [00:22:15] And I think, honestly, CW, I think you should complain about it. I think that you should talk to some of your fellow employees, and I think you should take it to the appropriate person at your office. Because you should not have to pay for this parking, especially since they own the lot.
Angela [00:22:33] Exactly. They own the lot. And I think, C.W.-
Jenna [00:22:37] It’s wrong.
Angela [00:22:37] It’s wrong. And I think you should bring up that basically you’re making, you say here, over $1,000 less a year. And that’s not right.
Jenna [00:22:47] Not right. Oh, wow.
Angela [00:22:49] I know. We got worked up.
Jenna [00:22:50] Fired up.
Angela [00:22:50] We got fired up about that one.
Jenna [00:22:52] Hot to trot about that one.
Angela [00:22:54] Hot to trot. Coming in wide open.
Jenna [00:22:55] That’s right. What do you got, Angela? You have got a question for us?
Angela [00:23:01] I sure do.
Jenna [00:23:02] All right.
Angela [00:23:03] I’m very excited about this question. I just want you to know I felt seen. Okay? I want you to know that. Our next question is from V.C. in British Columbia. V.C. writes in and says, I wanted to share something I have recently started to do at work, which was a game changer.
Jenna [00:23:21] A game changer. All right.
Angela [00:23:23] I save all the different sauce packets from my coworkers’ takeout. I’m now the sauce lady, and I feel irreplaceable. Anyone need sauce? They go through me first.
Jenna [00:23:36] I don’t know how to respond. I am charmed by this. I love this. So if I’m at work, let’s say.
Angela [00:23:44] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:23:44] And I open my lunch and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I forgot soy sauce. I know who to go to. I’m going to V.C..
Angela [00:23:50] Yeah, you are! You’re going to the sauce lady. I am the sauce lady!
Jenna [00:23:55] Angela is the sauce lady.
Angela [00:23:56] I want to tell you something. If you get takeout and you don’t use your ketchup packet or your soy sauce packet, I’m going to take it.
Jenna [00:24:03] I know.
Angela [00:24:04] Don’t throw that out. That’s wasteful.
Jenna [00:24:05] You’ve got a drawer.
Angela [00:24:06] I have a drawer in my kitchen. Now, my husband and I might have gotten into one or two tiffs- not arguments- tiffs about the sauce packet drawer. Do we really need all these sauces? That’s what I get. Guess what?
Jenna [00:24:19] Tell me, did it pay off?
Angela [00:24:21] It’s paid off. Like all of a sudden you can’t get sriracha? People are like, I don’t know. I don’t know why people are hoarding sriracha. Guess who has a ton of sriracha packets?
Jenna [00:24:31] You.
Angela [00:24:32] This lady. Also, let’s say the kids have a field trip. You got to pack them a sack lunch. Someone wants ketchup. I got a sauce packet.
Jenna [00:24:41] Yeah, you do! It’s not going in a tiny Tupperware. Oh, no. You got a packet
Angela [00:24:47] Who wants to squirt ketchup into a Tupperware? You want a packet. Guess what else?
Jenna [00:24:52] What? Tell me.
Angela [00:24:52] Do you want salt and pepper?
Jenna [00:24:54] Oh, no. It goes beyond sauces?!
Angela [00:24:56] Yes. I save-
Jenna [00:24:58] We’re into spices?!
Angela [00:24:59] That’s right. I save the little salt and pepper packets. You want to go somewhere? You want a little bit of salt? Don’t want to put it in a Ziploc. I got a little packet for you.
Jenna [00:25:07] Let me ask you this question.
Angela [00:25:09] Mm-hmm?
Jenna [00:25:09] Would you happen to have-
Angela [00:25:10] A utensil drawer?
Jenna [00:25:12] A utensil pack with a napkin wrapped in a little bit of plastic?
Angela [00:25:17] You bet your buns I do. You want to know in the back of the sauce packet drawer is a whole bunch of ready to go utensils.
Jenna [00:25:24] Are there are some chopsticks in there too, I bet?
Angela [00:25:26] Hell yeah.
Jenna [00:25:27] Mm hmm. Wow.
Angela [00:25:28] I’m ready. I love the sauce lady.
Jenna [00:25:31] You found your people.
Angela [00:25:32] I did.
Jenna [00:25:33] I’m getting you a shirt that says Sauce Lady now.
Angela [00:25:35] Please do. I will wear it with pride. I will think of V.C. in British Columbia. It wasn’t quite an advice question. It was more of a work share. And I loved it.
Jenna [00:25:45] Before we move on. Of everything in your sauce drawer, what can you not do without?
Angela [00:25:51] Mayonnaise.
Jenna [00:25:52] Mayonnaise?
Angela [00:25:53] Yeah. Mayonnaise packet. I love mayonnaise, guys. And you know what? I’m not alone. Because I looked up- there’s so many sauce stats. You didn’t know you needed this in your life, you guys. But if you Google most popular sauces. Oh, my gosh, the data. There’s global, like, global websites about favorite sauces around the world. I concentrated on the United States. But let me tell you, there’s a lot. Also, did you know the month of March is the national sauce month?
Jenna [00:26:24] No. That is not a thing.
Angela [00:26:26] It is a thing.
Jenna [00:26:27] What? What am I doing in March to celebrate the sauces?
Angela [00:26:31] Eat your favorite sauce, lady.
Jenna [00:26:33] Oh.
Angela [00:26:33] Here are the most popular sauces in the US: Ketchup reigns supreme. 25 states say it’s their favorite sauce.
Jenna [00:26:42] Wow.
Angela [00:26:43] Mm hmm. Five states say barbecue sauce. And then eight states had favorites that were the only number one in their entire state.
Jenna [00:26:50] What was it?
Angela [00:26:51] Okay. Hawaii, mayonnaise.
Jenna [00:26:54] Okay.
Angela [00:26:54] Mm hmm. Louisiana, tabasco sauce. New Mexico, vinaigrette. Utah, fry sauce. What is fry sauce? This is the only one I didn’t know.
Jenna [00:27:06] I’ve never heard of fry sauce.
Angela [00:27:07] Sam? Cassi? Have you ever heard of fry sauce?
Speaker 3 [00:27:10] No. We’ve got nothing for you.
Angela [00:27:12] Got nothin. Okay. South Dakota, Ranch. Love me some ranch. That would be number two in my packet list. Vermont, Sriracha. Maine, relish. Rhode Island, cocktail sauce.
Jenna [00:27:27] Huh. Most popular sauces.
Angela [00:27:30] What’s your favorite sauce?
Jenna [00:27:32] I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not a big sauce gal.
Angela [00:27:35] What? You eat things dry?
Jenna [00:27:35] I mean. I mean we things are fine. You don’t have to dip everything in another flavor. You know? I enjoy a fry just fried with some salt. I might dip it in some ketchup. But you know what? If there’s no ketchup, I’ll live and I’ll enjoy my fry.
Angela [00:27:56] That’s. That’s. Well, I don’t know how to reconcile that.
Jenna [00:27:59] And you know what I’m not going to do? I’m not going to dip my fry in anything but ketchup. I’m not putting it in a mayo. I’m not using ranch on anything. I do enjoy mixing mayo and ketchup.
Angela [00:28:14] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:28:15] And, like, throwing that maybe on a burger? I also like whatever that thing is, that, like, Thousand Island dressing with relish in it that we’re throwing on the Big Mac? I’m into that.
Angela [00:28:27] Yeah.
Jenna [00:28:27] Or versions of that.
Angela [00:28:29] That’s similar to your mayo ketchup mix.
Jenna [00:28:31] On a burger. Yeah. So I’m liking those things. But if sauces disappeared, if all the sauces you just listed disappeared, it would be barely a blip for me.
Angela [00:28:41] Oh, it’d be a sad day for me. I love the different tastes in my mouth.
Jenna [00:28:49] That’s what she said!
Angela [00:28:50] She said? Yes. That’s what she said.
Jenna [00:28:53] I think that is a great way to complete that question. I’m going to get you a shirt that says Sauce Lady on the front. And on the back it’s going to say, I love all the-
Angela [00:29:05] The flavors in my mouth.
Jenna [00:29:06] I love all the flavors in my mouth.
Angela [00:29:08] You best be making me that shirt.
Jenna [00:29:11] All right. This next question is coming from A in Sacramento, California. I am a college senior and will be starting my job hunt soon. I have started the job search, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I would love any advice when it comes to interviewing for a full time job. Thanks for your advice and I love the show. Well, A, I love this question because I actually wrote a whole chapter about interviewing in my book, The Actor’s Life, because when I first came out to Los Angeles, I would go on a lot of general meetings, which are like interviews. They were not auditions. I wasn’t performing. They’re just sit down and talk to this producer or director or executive. I was very, very bad at them.
Angela [00:29:58] Really? I would think you’d be good at them.
Jenna [00:30:00] No, I had to really learn how to be good in interviews.
Angela [00:30:04] Okay.
Jenna [00:30:05] You know, it is a whole skill.
Angela [00:30:07] I agree.
Jenna [00:30:07] You can be very good at the job, but very bad at explaining that you’re good at the job.
Angela [00:30:11] Right.
Jenna [00:30:12] So this is something that I think you have to take time and preparation with.
Angela [00:30:17] I agree.
Jenna [00:30:18] All right. So I had an agent at the time, and despite my terrible interview, he decided to represent me. And then he gave me some coaching. He had some rules about how to give good interviews, good general meetings, and they’re great. I passed along a lot of his advice in my book, and here it is.
Angela [00:30:36] Okay.
Jenna [00:30:37] Rule number one, show up on time. And by the way, on time means 10 minutes early. Because you have to remember, you’re going to need to find time to park. You’re going to have to find the office.
Angela [00:30:49] You might have to go pee.
Jenna [00:30:50] Yes! Yes. Well, we would definitely need to go pee.
Angela [00:30:53] We would.
Jenna [00:30:54] You want to account for any unforeseen problems, right?
Angela [00:30:57] Yeah.
Jenna [00:30:59] Flat tire. Whatever. Be very early. That was his big advice. He also said, do not bring a beverage into your interview. And turn off your phone. He said you would not believe how many people come in carrying a Starbucks and their phone dinging. He said, You think you shouldn’t have to give this advice, but you do.
Angela [00:31:18] I think you do because my phone wouldn’t ding, but I almost always show up with an iced tea.
Jenna [00:31:23] Yeah, he says, Leave your beverage in your car. We’re not there yet, you know? This is a stranger.
Angela [00:31:29] Yeah.
Jenna [00:31:29] You don’t drink your beverage in an interview.
Angela [00:31:31] Okay.
Jenna [00:31:32] Okay. Second, remember, you are interviewing them, too. An interview is like a first date. You’re there to discern whether or not this is a match. And it has to be a match for both people. It has to go both ways. And that always brought me some comfort because it made me kind of like less needy because I was remembering like, hey, I’m here to discern if I like this place, too.
Angela [00:31:56] Right. I have a say in this. I have some worth and I’m going to take agency for myself.
Jenna [00:32:02] Yes. Okay. Third, I think it’s always good to be ready with some sort of icebreaker to get some banter going. You don’t want to launch into your skills right away. So what is something that could spark a connection? Sometimes I would go in the rooms and I would kind of look around and kind of clock things like, Oh, where do these people- do they have a vacation photo up? Can that spark a conversation? One time I walked in and this woman had this beautiful blue ring on and I said, Oh, my goodness, I love your ring. And she said, Oh, it’s an aquamarine. I’m a March baby. And I said, I’m a March baby! And then we had a little bonding moment about both being Pisces. I think these little things are very helpful, because remember, businesses are interested in your skills and your abilities, but they are also going to have to like, be around you on a personal level. So, right? This rapport, it’s helpful.
Angela [00:32:56] You know, Greg Daniels once told me that people want to work with people that they think they can spend a 12 hour day with.
Jenna [00:33:04] Yeah.
Angela [00:33:05] And I’ve always thought about that. That was a little bit of, I guess, interview advice I took to heart. And then my mom said, when I would go in for a big meeting, a big interview, she would say, You just go in there and you be politely bored.
Jenna [00:33:19] Politely bored?
Angela [00:33:21] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:33:21] Like they need to get you interested.
Angela [00:33:24] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:33:24] You’re not there to get them interested.
Angela [00:33:26] Exactly.
Jenna [00:33:27] Hmm. Oh, that’s another way to go, isn’t it?
Angela [00:33:30] But you can still have an icebreaker. But, you know, it’s that thing that you said where you’re taking assessment of them as well.
Jenna [00:33:38] Yes, exactly. All right. My next bit of advice is, you know that you’re going to have to talk about why you’re a good fit for the job.
Angela [00:33:48] Yeah.
Jenna [00:33:48] Of all the things they might ask you, we know this is happening. So be prepared. Have a self pitch about yourself that you can say in three sentences. Be sure that it’s specific to that job description, to the company, that it’s not just general. Do your homework.
Angela [00:34:06] Mm hmm.
Jenna [00:34:06] And finally, especially if you’re interviewing for the first time or if you haven’t interviewed in a while, practice with someone before you go. I did this. I had been going on some general meetings and nothing was happening, and my manager said maybe we should practice the meetings. So we did a practice session. And in our practice session she asked me, What kind of acting are you interested in doing, Jenna? And I gave the answer that I always gave. I would say, Well, you know, I love comedy, I love drama. I would be interested in film, television, independent film. I wouldn’t say no to a soap opera. I love theater. And she was like, Let me stop you right there. This is not the right answer. I don’t know who you are. She said, Here’s your new answer. Your answer is, I would love to be cast on an ensemble comedy television series.
Angela [00:34:56] Yeah. Specific.
Jenna [00:34:58] Specific. The end.Because obviously you can do all these things, but you need to give people a vision of you, specifically, and what is your main skill? And I started doing that, and after I did that, my meetings really started to pay off.
Angela [00:35:16] Yeah.
Jenna [00:35:16] That’s my advice.
Angela [00:35:17] I love it. I love getting specific with things. You know this.
Jenna [00:35:21] Yes.
Angela [00:35:22] I mean, whether it’s a prayer, a meditation, a goal, get specific. My mom always says, Get specific with the Lord, you know? But I do. I write out a goal or something I want to pray about. I write it on a Post-it note. I put it on my bathroom mirror.
Jenna [00:35:38] I know this about you. And I can say in my experience personally, the more specific I am, the better results I get.
Angela [00:35:46] Always.
Jenna [00:35:47] Always.
Angela [00:35:47] Always. So when you’re putting it out there, folks, get specific. I would like to add one thing that I did have a job once where I hired people and I also had to fire people.
Jenna [00:35:58] Oh, so you’ve been on the other side of this?
Angela [00:36:00] Yes.
Jenna [00:36:00] What advice would you give someone from that position?
Angela [00:36:03] I would say, the minute you arrive, be polite to everyone. Because you don’t know from the person that held the door open for you to maybe someone who helped direct where you parked, all of those people that were there matter to who you’re interviewing with.
Jenna [00:36:19] Yes.
Angela [00:36:20] Right?
Jenna [00:36:20] That’s really good advice.
Angela [00:36:22] So be respectful to everyone you encounter, no matter what their position you might think. Because even though their position might not dictate whether or not you get the job, they’re important to this company. And then the other thing I would say is just think about how you smell. Okay? When you go to interview with someone, you’re usually in a smaller office. And your smell will come in with you.
Jenna [00:36:47] Okay.
Angela [00:36:48] It’ll be the unique thing that walks in the room with you that sets you apart. Try not to overdo it with the cologne or the perfume.
Jenna [00:36:57] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:36:58] Not saying this is going to rule you out, but there will be a thought that goes through someone’s mind of like, Oh, my gosh, Am I going to have to sit downwind of this person?
Jenna [00:37:07] Yeah. Am I going to have to sit with Drakkar all the time?
Angela [00:37:09] Drakkar all day?
Jenna [00:37:10] Yeah. Keep it light.
Angela [00:37:10] Yeah. If your smell precedes you, think about it.
Jenna [00:37:15] This is very good advice. We’ve nailed it.
Angela [00:37:17] I think we have.
Jenna [00:37:19] A in Sacramento, good luck. Go get ’em!
Angela [00:37:22] Yes! We’re rooting for you. Our final question of the day comes from M in Oregon. M, I really feel like Angela Martin would have strong opinions about this one.
Jenna [00:37:33] Okay.
Angela [00:37:34] And also, M, you are talking to three cat ladies. Cassi is a cat lady. Cassi, are you on?
Cassi [00:37:41] Yes, I’m here.
Angela [00:37:42] I’m going to want you to weigh in on this, too. Jenna, here we go. M says, I was flabbergasted when a coworker recently asked me to check up on his cats while he was away for three weeks. I have coworkers with whom I have friendships and this wouldn’t be a problem with them. But this male colleague and I have never done much more than a casual chit chat. We’ve never seen each other outside of work and have never even had lunch together other than a few team lunches paid for by our boss. It also wouldn’t have been a problem if we were neighbors. I would totally swing by for a cat visit, even if I didn’t know a neighbor very well. But he lives 25 minutes away from my house. This seems like a bold ask to me. I would never ask a casual work acquaintance such a favor. I told him that I thought it would make better sense for him to ask someone who lived a bit closer to him. What are your thoughts? It was such a strange request that I can’t let go of it, and my husband is tired of me talking about it. Signed, Would-Be Cat Sitter. M in Oregon, I mean, we know what happened to Angela’s cat when she asked Dwight to watch it once.
Jenna [00:38:53] Mm hmm.
Angela [00:38:54] Frozen in her refrigerator.
Jenna [00:38:56] Yes.
Angela [00:38:57] I’m with you. I think it’s a big ask for someone you don’t know that well and who lives far away from you.
Jenna [00:39:02] Well, I would start by saying I think you handled it well.
Angela [00:39:06] Yes.
Jenna [00:39:07] I think M’s big question is, how do I let this go?
Angela [00:39:11] Yes.
Jenna [00:39:11] Here was what I thought. I thought maybe this person just doesn’t have anyone to ask. Maybe they don’t have a lot of friends. Maybe this person views you as one of the nicest people in the office. I’m not saying this means that you have to do it. You do not have to do it. This is a big ask. It’s too far away. It’s not convenient. But in terms of just letting it go, maybe there’s a way to frame it where you say, Oh, maybe this person just doesn’t have anyone else.
Angela [00:39:47] Well, Jenna, you went very Zen on that. And you really are taking the moral compass high ground here. And I think you have a good point.
Jenna [00:39:54] Thank you. Cassi?
Cassi [00:39:56] Ooh, this one’s tough. But, yeah, my- I would say, I’m sorry I can’t. And never say why you can’t. I think sometimes we feel like we have to come up with the excuse of, like, why you can’t do something.
Angela [00:40:09] Oh, yeah.
Cassi [00:40:10] But then, yeah, if you want to go above and beyond, maybe you can recommend like, a cat service. Or if you happen to know someone close by or just kind of, yeah, if you feel like they’re lonely, you can kind of, like, brainstorm with them. Like, Oh, maybe there’s a neighbor that has like a cat in the window and you could talk to them and see if they can help out. And that would be great, because then when that person goes out of town, then they can be like cat sitters for each other. Um, which is kind of like how I do it when I’m out of town. I have people that are like nearby me, so it doesn’t feel like such a big ask.
Angela [00:40:45] Yeah, I like that. I think there’s a way to frame it to be like, First of all, thank you so much for asking me to check on your pet. I know what your pet means to you. So thank you for trusting me with this animal that you care so much about. But because of that commute, I recommend having someone closer to your animal.
Jenna [00:41:02] Yeah, but M is clearly obsessing over why this ask would have been made in the first place.
Angela [00:41:09] Mm hmm. Like, why me? Why now?
Jenna [00:41:11] I think take it as a compliment. But do not feel guilty for having this boundary. It’s totally appropriate that you do not want to drive 25 minutes out of your way to check on your coworker’s cats.
Angela [00:41:21] That you barely know.
Jenna [00:41:22] That’s right. That’s totally fair.
Angela [00:41:25] And I think it’s also okay that you were thrown by their request.
Jenna [00:41:27] Yes.
Angela [00:41:28] Because I think we would be, too.
Jenna [00:41:30] I actually think M did a great job here.
Angela [00:41:32] Yeah, you did great, M. And that’s from three cat ladies. Well, there you have it. That’s our first Dear Office Ladies.
Jenna [00:41:39] Let’s talk about this, Angela. How do you feel now? You’ve given advice. How do you feel?
Angela [00:41:45] I mean, I really enjoyed hearing from people. That’s what I love. I love hearing from people. I love problem solving about life. You know, I want to know what’s in your sauce packet drawer.
Jenna [00:41:55] Yes, you do. I enjoyed this as well. So hopefully you did too. And maybe we’ll be back for more.
Angela [00:42:02] And to everyone who sent in their letters, thank you so much.
Jenna [00:42:05] Yes! Please keep sending in your questions. We’re going to keep this up on Office Ladies dot com. And Angela, I want to throw something at you.
Angela [00:42:12] What?
Jenna [00:42:13] I think we got a little confidence here. What do you think we have people send in any kind of advice question. It doesn’t just have to be about work.
Angela [00:42:21] Oh my gosh.
Jenna [00:42:21] Do you want to try?
Angela [00:42:22] Okay. Yes, we’ll try.
Jenna [00:42:24] All right. So send us your questions and we can’t wait to sort it all out with you.
Angela [00:42:29] I guess we’ll be doing this again. So thanks again. And thanks to Jordan for our intro music. We loved it. We’ll see you next week!
Jenna [00:42:38] See you then! Thank you for listening to Office Ladies.
Angela [00:42:51] Office Ladies is produced by Earwolf, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.
Jenna [00:42:56] Our senior producer is Cassi Jerkins. Our in-studio engineer is Sam Kieffer. Our editing and mixing engineer is Jordan Duffy. And our associate producer is Aynsley Bubbico.
Angela [00:43:05] Our theme song is Rubber Tree by Creed Bratton.