The “Get Out Of Jail” Kit: How To Prepare For The Inevitable Office Emergency

Sometimes the workplace can provide more adventure than you bargained for.

Files go missing, drinks get spilled, heels break, seams rip and clients show up early. It’s enough to make you feel like a character in a British farce (anyone remember “Noises Off?”). So, other than running away or drinking heavily, what can you do to prepare yourself for that office emergency?

Here are some items that you should keep in your office to help get you through an “obstacle course” kind of day:

  • Crazy glue and duct tape: Why? Because they can solve 90% of all emergencies.
  • Dental floss, a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash: Sure, no one thought that your primary client would show up just as you returned from “all you can eat garlic bread day” at the local pizza joint…but you need to freshen up quickly. Excuse yourself and get that breath minty fresh.
  • Clean underwear, a dress shirt/blouse and a blazer/sport jacket: When, out of the blue, the Boss wants you to accompany him to an “event” because his wife bailed at the last minute, you need to be ready to go. Keep this on a hangar behind your desk in a suit bag. It’s time will come.
  • A spare set of glasses or contact lenses: Squinting during your big presentation (because you lost a lens or your glasses broke) is neither endearing nor persuasive.
  • Extra cash: Find a good hiding place and keep some petty cash around for the next emergency. You can’t schmear a restaurant Maitre’D with a credit card.
  • A small toilet kit with deoderant, cologne and a hair brush: Because you were just informed that YOU will be entertaining that opposite-sex client who is in from out-of-town and anticipating a nice dinner. It doesn’t matter who you are– at 6:00 PM, everyone’s personal hygiene could use a little “freshening up.”
  • Band-aids and bactene: That paper cut is more serious than you thought and none of us want to watch you bleed on the McGregor file.
  • Instant stain remover: It only takes one leaky pen or one messy pasta lunch, to turn that crisp white shirt into an ink blot. Get one of those portable stain removers and keep it in your desk.
  • Aspirin and cold medicine: No one cares if you have a headache or a cold. Shut-up and make the presentation without sneezing all over us.
  • A nail-clipper: No one is impressed with a nail-biter and no one cares if you just ripped a nail. You do not have time to go to a drugstore. Be prepared to trim as needed.
  • Some bottled water and some food that can last awhile (nuts, crackers, chocolate, etc): Hey, the 4-year analysis is suddenly due tomorrow and there’s no one delivering take-out at this hour…so this is your dinner tonight. Bon appetit!
  • Today’s Tip: Perhaps the Boy Scouts have it right…”Be prepared.”
    You never really know where your workday will take you: surprise client visits, demands from the Boss, new projects, re-jiggered analyses, corporate turmoil…and on and on. The key is that while you can’t prepare for everything, you can prepare for most office emergencies. That’s why when the sh_t hits the fan, I am coming to your office.

    One Response to “The “Get Out Of Jail” Kit: How To Prepare For The Inevitable Office Emergency”

    1. Ericka Watts Says:

      Nice tips. Thanks. Yeah…yeah never know what can happen in the office…even behind a desk and a computer.

      Ericka Watts

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