Throughout the ages, older adults have given youngsters advice on how to be successful in life. It probably started back when we were still cave people:
Urgh Sr: Always sneak up on the mammoth from behind.
Urgh Jr: But why?
Urgh Sr: See those tusks? You don't want to grow up to be a shish kebab.
Later, during the Roman Empire, the trend continued:
Julius Caesar Sr: Son, beware the Ides of March.
Julius Caesar Jr: What?
Julius Caesar Sr: Oh and never trust anyone named Brutus.
Julius Caesar Jr: Dad, what are you talking about?
Julius Caesar Sr: It's right here son, on today's tablet. In your horoscope.
Julius Caesar Jr: Oh Dad, please, that stuff is rubbish. Last week it said that I should be wary of Gauls, especially those that are very short or very fat. I think some druid makes it all up.
Julius Caesar Sr: Don't say I didn't warn you.
And right up into the 1960s, elders still felt compelled to give out advice:
Mr. McGuire: Ben I just want to say one word to you just one word.
Ben: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Ben: Yes I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Ben: Exactly how do you mean?
Mr. McGuire: There is a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?
Ben: Yes, I will.
These days, the advice has changed. It's not who you know, or what you know. And life is no longer like a box of chocolates. It's all about a bowl of candy. According to a new survey done by the Life Savers candy company (so you know it will be completely impartial), a dish of candy is the key to success in the office.
For example, among those surveyed, some 60 percent of respondents who kept a candy dish on their desk received a raise last year, versus only 49 percent of those who didn't have a dish. The survey didn't go into detail, but I'd be willing to bet that those candy dish owners who did get a raise were the ones who a) had strategically positioned their desk near the manager's office, b) stocked their manager's favorite candy and c) used a metal ruler to fwap the knuckles of other office workers attempting to raid the dish. This last tactic had two purposes: to keep the dish stocked for the boss, and to maim the typing fingers of co-workers, reducing their productivity.
The survey also suggests that candy dish owners were more likely to get a bonus than those who didn't stock candy. This is probably the result of sharing very sticky sweets with the payroll clerk, who then accidentally adds a zero or two while inputting your paycheck. (This technique is described in Sun Tzoffee's Art of Office War).
Romance is also affected by the presence of candy. About seven percent of candy dish owners say romances occur frequently in their workplace, versus only one percent of people who don't have candy dishes in their office. It's unclear what might be behind this phenomenon. On one hand, the candy dish provides a place to engage in office chitchat, and it's a well-known fact that 98 percent of office romances are 100 percent gossip. On the other hand, the presence of free candy might be a, um, life saver, for guys who forgot to buy chocolate or roses on Valentines Day.
Candy dish owners believe they are more organized than their counterparts. This is very likely true; speaking as someone who does not have a candy dish, I can say the reason for this I that I can't see a bare spot on my desk where I could put one. Indeed, I'm not sure I even have a desk any more. For all I know, the desk collapsed years ago, and my computer is being held up by the most recent layer of paperwork.
Finally, some sixty-three percent of dish owners say they are hard working compared to their colleagues. This is probably also true. After all, they don't have to wander to someone else's desk for a candy. And on that note, I'm off to forage. I have this sudden craving for something sweet, and surely someone around here is more organized than I am.
(To read more of Chandra's work, visit www.ChandraKClarke.com.)