What We Talk About When We Talk About Jobs

What many job seekers don’t know is that they have a right to size up potential employers. Of course, it is important to know about qualifications, expectations, benefits, overtime, opportunity to work from home, opportunity for promotion, yada yada yada. But there is another all-important element of future employment that is never spoken of in interviews:



As everyone is aware, there are certain functions of the human body that do not recognize when you do not have a lot of free time and a bathroom a few feet away. These functions are going to work on their own schedule, no matter what the rest of your body is doing. If you are a serious worker with a project that was due yesterday and a boss watching you like a cat stalking a bug, you will be tempted to ignore any signals from your body, such as a need to pee, until the pressure becomes intolerable. At that point, you have no choice but to give up and surrender to your bladder.

NOTE: Giving up your morning coffee and drinking nothing else never works. Your kidneys know that you haven’t soaked them, but they don’t care. They go to work anyway, dumping as much as they can into your bladder. Your kidneys take orders from your brain, which is commanding them to produce or end up on an operating table. You can’t win, so don’t even try.

If you are a typical office slave, your desk is all the way down the hall from the restrooms. Your only course of action is to rise from your chair and power-walk to the restroom. You arrange your face in a look of serious concentration, as if you are burdened with something on which the fate of the company depends. This is the message that you are trying to convey to your co-workers, because it is more dignified than, “Look, everyone, I REALLY have to go!” You aren’t fooling anyone, but you don’t know that, so it doesn’t matter.

You get to the restroom in time. If you are a man, you are in and out in about three minutes. If you are a woman, you might find every stall occupied. In this case, you stand at one of the sinks in a bent-over fetus position with your fists pressed against your crotch and yell, “One of you bitches get out NOW!” You hear a toilet flushing, which almost causes you to let loose, but you manage to hold it back. When your co-worker vacates the stall, you dash in head first, just in time.

In some offices, the restrooms are in the building hallway and you need a key to get in. The receptionist or the boss’ executive assistant usually has these, on big, long key chains marked “MEN” and “WOMEN.” If you are lucky, the key will be available and you can just pick it up and power-walk the rest of the way. If you are having one of those days, someone else will have borrowed the key and you will have to wait until he/she brings it back. You can only hope that he/she is quick. In the meantime, there you are at the receptionist’s desk, holding every muscle in your lower parts in a death grip and doing a Slobovian Leap Dance to dam the impending flood. By this time, you have lost all sense of dignity and given in to raw fear.

When your co-worker finally returns with the key, you break all world records dashing to the restroom.

This is one problem of many in the workplace, but it’s a start.

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10 thoughts on “What We Talk About When We Talk About Jobs”

  1. I’m going to start caring my pee with me in a bag. That way, if something happens when I get older and I’m forced to wear a bag to pee into, it will just be another day at the office.

  2. And who designed worksite bathrooms so that when the stall door closes, the gap is big enough to pass a dinner tray through? (Not that I’ve ever done that, BTW.) Before I take my next job, I’m going to ask for a tour of the women’s room first.

  3. This is the curse of the middle-aged woman, at least this one. Thank goodness, I work at home. But I never pass up an opportunity to pee, as peecautionary measure!

    1. LOL! At least when we’re home we have a bathroom close at hand (unless it’s upstairs or something) and we can usually calculate how long we can hold it, including the time it takes to get to the bathroom, before the flood comes.

      Now, if you have a cat who always insists on accompanying you to the bathroom, and the cat weaves back and forth in front of you (in the way of cats everywhere) you have to take that into consideration in your time and muscle strength calculation, too. 😀

  4. By the way, I extend my apologies to Raymond Carver and Gordon Lish. I hijacked my title from them. Anyone who has ever taken a university fiction writing class probably knows what I am talking about.

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