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There are a million articles out there about how to navigate the politics of an office when you start your first grown-up job. Unfortunately none of them seem to mention the place that seems to be the hotbed of many an office conflict – the office kitchen. One would think common sense would prevail and we could all handle the kitchen like adults,but one would be wrong. So, so wrong. In both of our offices, the kitchen causes conflict like no other place. In honor of this unappreciated battleground, here are some tips for how to not be a complete jackass when it comes to the main common space of most offices.
Clean Up After Yourself
This one should be a no brainer, but apparently, people think there is a fairy in the office kitchen who washes your dishes, throws away your creamers, and wipes up that coffee you spilled on the counter. Guess what – there’s not (if there was, we would kidnap her and take her home). Don’t be a dickhead. Clean up after yourself.
Don’t Bogart the Microwave
Odds are, the microwave to people ratio in your office is woefully low. Therefore, don’t be the asshole that puts their lunch in at 12 noon for 10 minutes. And if you leave the kitchen and don’t come back within 30 seconds of the timer going off, the next person in line is fully within their rights to take your food out and put it on the counter, whether it’s done or not. Lastly, don’t try and cut the microwave line – we aren’t animals, people.
Leave The Stinky Food at Home
Speaking of the microwave, we think it’s great that you really enjoy seafood, eggs, or curry. No judgment here. However, only douchebags microwave those things at the office, so please don’t, and instead enjoy them at home. On the flip side, if you microwave popcorn or bacon in the office, you have a moral obligation to share it with everyone. It’s the law.
Label Your Baked Goods
It was super nice of you to make brownies for the office and leave them on the kitchen counter for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, the walnuts in them gave Karen from IT anaphylaxis and she had to stab herself with her EpiPen. So please, for everyone’s safety, label the things you make for the office with the ingredients.
Stop Gathering In Front of the Coffee Maker
All that stands between us and a full-on psychotic break any given day of the week is the liquid gold that comes out of the office Keurig. Why, then, bastard coworkers, do you insist on standing in front of it to discuss last night’s baseball game? GET.OUT.OF.THE.WAY. Or suffer the consequences.
Keep Personal Conversation to a Minimum
For some reason, people feel like the office kitchen is the appropriate place to discuss their personal lives, including that night last week that they got blackout drunk and pissed in the corner of their living room. That’s pretty awesome…until your company CEO walks in and overhears you. So remember – kitchen conversations are not private conversations.
Eat Your Own Food
If you didn’t bring it, don’t eat it (unless there is a note that says you can). ‘Nough said.
Respect the Fridge Space
Much like the microwave to people ratio, the fridge space to people ratio tends to be on the low end. So while it’s terrific that you went to Costco this weekend and got five 24-packs of Diet Coke, let’s limit how many cans we keep in the fridge. Additionally, please remember to throw out your old stuff. Nothing can ruin a Monday morning like opening the fridge to put your lunch in and getting smacked in the face with the stench of a week-old tuna sandwich.