The Dali Grind: Surreal Stories about Real Jobs
Have you ever had a work experience that was funny, bizarre, or just plain awful? Share your experience so we can all laugh at those who frustrated you. Email us your stories at and we'll post the choicest ones. We don't publish real names of you, your coworkers or your employer.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
  DALI SAYS: Anonymous Work Blogs

Some prescient folks have been blogging about their jobs anonymously. Although we here focus on the surreal, sometimes the ordinary details of real jobs are fascinating. Check out the blog ring of mostly UK blogs at Anonymous Work Blogs Blogring Later on we'll post links to some of the best of these. 

Saturday, January 29, 2005
  STORY: Counting the Spoons

The comptroller of the law firm at which I was working was a rather flamboyant lady. She had been living in a townhouse fairly far down the New Jersey coast, and she decided to take an apartment in Manhattan, to reduce her commute. To help defray the cost of her new Manhattan place, she decided to rent out her townhouse.

Her secretary was told that she had to go to the townhouse -- she was provided with company-paid car service there and back -- to inventory every single item in the house, so that the incoming tenant could not steal anything.The inventory took the better part of ten days, and while the secretary was off counting the spoons, a temp was brought in to do her work.

The townhouse's new tenant, by the way, was told before she moved in that everything in it had been catalogued; and the secretary was required by her boss to make unannounced semi-annual trips to the house, to do spot checks of the silver, the china and the appliances, and determine if anything was missing. It never was, but we always wondered what would happen if to the tenant if she accidentally broke a cup or lost a fork down the garbage disposal . . .

Friday, January 28, 2005
  DALI SAYS: Don't Try This Yourself

Let us tell your story for you. Venting about your job on the web can be a dangerous business if you do it under your own name.

  • San Francisco Chronicle, Beware if your blog is related to work
  • NetworkWorldFusion, Another Workplace Blog Backfires
    Give us the bare bones of your story and we’ll share it with readers, stripped of any identifying details.

    Of course, even if they should have known better, the stories of those who blogged and paid the ultimate price at work make great reading. Check out

  • queenofsky
  • dooce
  • gravityspike
    Thursday, January 20, 2005
      STORY: The Employee Most Likely to Go Postal

    My boss, Irwin, hired an assistant for me who, he said performed well on the editing tests. Irwin also told me that this candidate was the one most likely to enter the building bearing arms and firing.

    Jay turned out to know little about working in an office. When I asked Jay to make copies and told him to darken the pages a little, he came to me four hours later with over 100 pages he had copied: all were completely black.

    Jay was the president, founder, and sole member of his own religion. He had magnetic signs on the sign of his car advertising his religion.

    He wrote me long, single-spaced memos of ideas he had on how to improve the company. They were, as he continually reminded me, written on his home computer during his leisure time. He offered suggestions about how to improve our textbooks:

    At other time he provided ideas on office management:

    For months, I told my boss that Jay wasn't working out. Irwin didn't believe me. I told Jay to start giving all of his work to Irwin to review. Finally, my boss ended Jay's contract a month early but gave him two weeks notice. Every day for the next two weeks, I worried that Jay would enter the building bearing arms and firing. Luckily, I survived.

    Monday, January 17, 2005
      DALI SAYS: Nine Types of Surreal Work Stories

    Many of the best work stories fall into one of the following nine groups.

  • 1. What is the most bizarre task you were ever assigned?
  • 2. What is the most outlandish reason you lost a job or were reprimanded?
  • 3. What is the weirdest or most shocking thing your boss has done?
  • 4. What is the worst treatment you have ever received from a business partner or co-worker?
  • 5. Who is the worst employee you've ever had to supervise?
  • 6. Who is the most bizarre customer or client you have ever had?
  • 7. What is your most ludicrous, embarrassing, job-related mistake?
  • 8. Have you ever experienced violence or the threat of violence on the job?
  • 9. What is your greatest triumph over adversity on the job? But we'd love to hear your story even if it doesn't fit neatly within these categories.
    Test photo of care