I can finally clean that lint out of my belly button
March 27, 2009 10:10 AM   Subscribe

My firm has just announced one-week furloughs for most employees. What struck me as odd was that the email included an attachment labelled "Activities". When I opened it, it was a list: "Top 20 Things to do While on Furlough". Examples:

* Clean out your garage and other storage places and hold a garage sale.
* Go hiking with your pet.
* Renew your library card.

It's like management is just begging to be parodized. Alas, I have not the comedy chops to do it well. Anyone want to suggest some good parody "activities" I could pursue whilst on furlough?
posted by zainsubani to Work & Money (45 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Update your resume.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:13 AM on March 27, 2009 [14 favorites]

Best answer: TPS reports.
Literally playing buzzword bingo.
Tell everyone about "rightsizing" your garage.
Put a water cooler in your kitchen, and spend all your time standing in front of it doing nothing.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:16 AM on March 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

Read a lot of Metafilter?
posted by Neofelis at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2009

Best answer: Use break to overcome porn-at-work addiction.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:20 AM on March 27, 2009

Donate plasma.
posted by box at 10:20 AM on March 27, 2009

Response by poster: The offerings from Inspector.Gadget and R. Mutt have the right tone of irreverence. Thanks, folks.

Keep 'em coming!
posted by zainsubani at 10:25 AM on March 27, 2009

Damn! Fourcheesemac beat me to the obvious while I was dithering on whether to respond.. (altho I'd go for a bit of alliteration & say Revise your Resume') Hmmm.. ok, not as good but:
take a bath
hold a fart contest
kill a kitten
pave your lawn
burn down your house
max out your credit cards
hit the road
*Tune your Time Machine*
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 10:28 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Crack open the "Chicken Soup For the Furloughed Soul" that's been lying around the house.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 10:29 AM on March 27, 2009

Best answer: To stay prepared for when you return, be sure to continue to crying in the mornings.
posted by milarepa at 10:30 AM on March 27, 2009 [9 favorites]

Clean out the garage and other storage places for bodies
Go hiking with your pet goldfish
Renew your membership in Furlough of the Month Club
posted by sciencegeek at 10:32 AM on March 27, 2009

It's "parodied". Sorry, it was bugging me.

You could prank call your boss and offer him a position in the Obama administration.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:33 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Uncrush your soul.
Profile management team.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 10:33 AM on March 27, 2009 [3 favorites]

* Take up a new hobby (e.g. scrapbooking, knitting, or "blogging").
* Replace the brake pads on the family car.
* Improve your billiards game.
* Cook meals for your elderly neighbors who lack the dexterity to prepare food.
* Write the Great American Novel.
* Bond with your offspring. Take him/her skeet shooting/doll shopping.
* Take a defensive driving course and reward yourself by going out for ice cream.
* Shampoo the carpet in the basement game room.
* Build an authentic cuckoo clock out of wood and aluminium.
posted by exit at 10:34 AM on March 27, 2009

Best answer: Size up soup kitchens and unemployment offices for future reference.
Gain a new empathy for anxiety sufferers.
Pretend you are telecommuting and that today is "Casual No Pants Day" at the office.
Hint strongly to upper management that you are available to clean out THEIR garage while THEY are on furlough.
Work on "disgruntled look".
Discover the joy of always feeling like you tipped too far back in your chair and are about to fall.
Scout out valuable copper plumbing caches in the office.
Come in to work anyway. Remember, furlough isn't synonymous with slacking off.
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 10:36 AM on March 27, 2009 [5 favorites]

* Sneak back into the office and steal stuff while everyone is doing the other things on this list.
* Finally win at online poker.
* Finish that book of dirty limericks about our CEO
* Escape to Narnia
posted by Laen at 10:36 AM on March 27, 2009

"It's like management is just begging to be parodized."

The list sends the message that management doesn't think the underlings have lives outside of work, and that they're not capable of structuring their time. That's so insulting that I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that that's not the intended message.

In a totally corny, insulting way, someone in management tried to show a bit of humanity while delivering bad news. Making them feel like a fool for having done so may come back to bite you in the ass. Suppose layoffs are in store? Suppose the author of the list has a say in who gets the axe?

Now that I'm done raining on the parade:

Re-velvet your velvet Elvis

Have a John Candy movie marathon

Open an Etsy store selling rag rugs made from the hopes and dreams of everyone who's been laid off since last September.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 10:46 AM on March 27, 2009 [9 favorites]

Hold Family Staff Meetings. Berate children for lack of Excel prowess.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:52 AM on March 27, 2009 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Update the resumes of your supervisors and all individuals who designed “furlough week” and place them on monster and career builder

Hold an office meeting at home, with plants! The palm tree type plant can represent your boss

Take your office chair home with you, and remodel it for chair racing; first race to be held in the hallway on the second day of returning to work

While on furlough, make Dilbert sock puppets and get a video camera on for your computer; when you get back from furlough, watch, monitor, and apply electric shocks to the sock puppet if it isn’t working fast enough

Make lists for things that managers/supervisors should do while on furlough, with an accompanying powerpoint presentation, music, and dance moves; make this a team building exercise so that all your coworkers will also create dance/song routines and the best ones will be put up on youtube with a link to the company webpage, of course
posted by Wolfster at 10:57 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Clean your gun.
Brush up on your target shooting.
Make them all pay.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:01 AM on March 27, 2009

Work from home.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:01 AM on March 27, 2009

Response by poster: This is a better response than I could hope for. Rest assured that most of these will be posted on bulletin boards at my place of employment next week. Many thanks, mefites.

If anyone has more, please feel free to post them.
posted by zainsubani at 11:09 AM on March 27, 2009

dumpster dive
posted by advicepig at 11:11 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I feel like such a downer (and old), but I have to agree with Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger.

Unless you've got some sort of iron tight job security, and/or you are 100% positive every one of your bosses and their bosses will love this joke, I totally want you to carefully consider bulletin board posting.

I assume the 20 things mostly were free or low cost, and maybe written by someone who felt genuinely bad about the furlough, so maybe a parody might not go over well in these rough and uncertain times...
posted by KAS at 11:15 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

"How is this different from what I do at work every day?"
posted by Simon Barclay at 11:19 AM on March 27, 2009

Figure out how to pronounce furlough
posted by nomad at 11:21 AM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Start a union!
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:25 AM on March 27, 2009 [8 favorites]

Develop airtight business plan for unloading trunk full of office supplies.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:39 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cash your non-paycheck.
posted by hamsterdam at 11:44 AM on March 27, 2009

Ms. Vegetable recommends brushing up on "Cubicle Warfare" by John Austin.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:11 PM on March 27, 2009

Shave your cat
Spackle your floors
Complete that unified theory of everything you've been slacking on
Pop that boil
Feed the drifter in the basement
Bon-Bons, Bon-Bons, Bon-Bons
Kegel exercises
Cocaine binge '09!
posted by Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific at 12:20 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Invent a cocktail using the leftover bits of liquor in those not-quite-finished bottles that were languishing in your bottom desk drawer.

Suggested name:"Furlough On The Beach."
posted by anthom at 12:22 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

In the same vein as TPS reports, perhaps :

Become "Jump to Conclusions" champion
Put some strychnine in the guacamole...ya know, just cuz...
posted by arishaun at 12:40 PM on March 27, 2009

How about going into work anyway. Yes you wont get paid but might make you look better if they start laying off people.
posted by majortom1981 at 1:19 PM on March 27, 2009

masturbate at home for a change!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:35 PM on March 27, 2009

Help your kids construct cubicles from blankets and couch cushions, then have them do your next two weeks' work by telling them it's a fun game called Unpaid Overtime.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:45 PM on March 27, 2009

*Try out new soup recipes. You'd be amazed by how far one bullion cube and a handful of salty-looking rocks can be stretched!
*Explore the wild world of casual hitch-hiking.
*Take a "master class" over the internet! Some job sectors are doing well right now, like IT, actuarial work, and grief counseling.
*Do some gardening. You'll find that the soil in [your area] is perfect for rutabagas, turnips, and other hardy vegetables. Put your seeds in now, and come winter, you'll be the envy of your neighborhood!
*With just a gas can, a length of hose, a funnel, a screwdriver to pry off gas caps, and some lung power, you can teach your kids a hobby that will pay a lot better than that ol' lemonade stand used to!
*Learn to sew or knit. Your clothes will last longer, and you might even be able to make some smart new outfits! Think about using the sack from the potatoes you bought for your soups.
posted by penduluum at 2:12 PM on March 27, 2009

Micromanage your pets.

"No, Miss Squiggles! You've had 57 pieces of kitten kibble already!"
posted by spinifex23 at 2:43 PM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Learn how to be productive and stop wasting company time.
Catalog stolen office supplies.
Apply for new jobs.
Find a part-time job.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:49 PM on March 27, 2009

*Shake shake shake
*Shake shake shake
*Shake your booty
*Shake your booty
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:10 PM on March 27, 2009 [5 favorites]

I guess it's a little insulting, but I can't imagine The Big Boss saying or even thinking "how can we help the proles figure out what to do without the constant supervision of the Great White Father?" No, I expect it's just them trying to be helpful. Giving ideas for making the best of a tough situation. I can only speak for my own employers, but they have had to suffer a lot more than their employees- while I have to make do without raises, they all got 20% pay cuts. So I'd be wary of public mockery.

However, my list:

"Learn German. Trust us on this one."

"You finally have the time to get that cosmetic surgery we all secretly wish you'd get."

"Two words, and you can thank us later: home smelting."

"Plant a victory garden. Trust us on this one."

"Be green: Before painting your kitchen, sand down the previous layers and collect the dust. Not only does it make a great topping for brownies, you can cut that expensive new paint with it and you'll save big money!"

"Catch up on your reading- visit the local library for a relaxing and inexpensive way to bone up on a subject you've been meaning to study up on. On a completely unrelated note, Bob the CFO asks that you grab him a copy of 'Blood from Turnips: The Idiot's Guide to Sure-Fire Creative Financing'. Preferably before the end of the next pay period."

"Paint your car white to save money on airconditioning during those long commutes."

"Seriously though, if anyone knows how to get $120,000 by payday, we'd really appreciate it."

"There are stacks of old files in the front conference room. If anyone's interested, we're paying a nickel a pound if you sort through them and repackage the sheets with one clean side so we can finally refill the printer in accounting."

"Oh, and if anyone has a cyan, magenta or yellow room that they were planning on painting, we'd like to work out a deal with you."

"Sell your gold."

"Those 'small engine repair' pamphlets at the grocery store? Next time pick one up. Trust us on this one."

"Start a flock of sheep. Mmmmm, sheep."

"Learn to tailor your own clothes- this means you, Jenkins from accounting! We shouldn't be able to hear your pants dragging on the carpet!"

"Start a secret family. You've been wanting more kids, right?"

"Home barbershop- it can be yours!"

"Have I told you about how having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can save your soul?"

"Finally learn to shower in under 45 minutes."

"Take my wife... please."

"Bone up on deboning catfish."

"Get that high school diploma you've always wanted."

"Develop a new, less costly to employ personality."

"Can you let me have a fiver until next Michaelmas?"

"Rodent trapping- for sport and profit!"

"Dig a cheese cave under the garage."

"Does anyone know how to devein a cat? I've got this problem..."

"Why spend money on wasteful things like auto maintenance. Here, look, with this string and laser pointer, I will show you how to get that alignment you've been needing done."

"Start a dangerous hobby. Also, please return those forms we asked you to sign."

"Home dentistry. Trust us on this one."
posted by gjc at 5:29 PM on March 27, 2009 [2 favorites]

Do all cooking for entire year.
Make an address book out of last year's phone book by crossing out the names of all the people you don't know.
Create a dewey decimal filing card index for your books and CDs.
Translate the Harry Potter books into Klingon.
Crash a wedding or six.
Dye your pet's hair pink or blue.
Cut the grass. With nail clippers.
posted by orange swan at 6:18 PM on March 27, 2009

Update the resumes of your supervisors and all individuals who designed “furlough week” and place them on monster and career builder

Wolfster, you sick, disgusting, hateful ... words fail me! Are you actually suggesting that zainsubani should sabotage someone's career opportunities over this?

I think I love you.


* Volunteer at your local career grief counseling hotline.
* Take the Pepsi Challenge.
* Actualize yourself holistically.
* Resolve that, every day and in every way, you're getting better and better.
* Determine which neighborhood restaurants throw out the best eats.
* Bring it on.
* Good time to score a job interview with Our_Competitor!
* Help those less fortunate than yourself. Help with the landscaping of upper management, stuck in meetings while you have the day off.

Seriously, zainsubani, you might think twice before posting any comments regarding guns, violence, profiling coworkers, etc, at work. "Fired with cause" is worse than "laid off".

Unless you can be sure of anonymity, that is. ;)
posted by IAmBroom at 8:21 PM on March 27, 2009

Paint your car.
posted by auntbunny at 10:30 PM on March 27, 2009

Bust a move!
posted by !Jim at 11:56 PM on March 27, 2009

Donate plasma.

Not dark enough. Sell plasma
posted by IndigoJones at 9:52 AM on March 28, 2009

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