Valedictions for the Modern Office: How to Make Your Email Sign off Work for You


Is your career stalled? Do you find yourself holding onto the corporate ladder while your colleagues pass you by on their way up? Do they crush your fingers and stand there for longer than they really need to? Is this jerk eating a piece of cake from the kitchen that you didn’t even know was there, getting crumbs in your eyes and making it look like you’re crying but you’re not and even if you were how is it anyone’s business how you process your emotions with other people succeeding all over the place while your career is stuck on this stupid ladder?

Well, you’re not alone.

Have you considered why your career is in a soul-sucking rut? Maybe it’s your poor networking skills. Perhaps you don’t trumpet your accomplishments in the workplace. Or possibly your cubicle collection of Valentine’s Day cards from notable serial killers is considered less of a ‘colourful quirk’ and more of a ‘disturbing off-hours hobby’.

It has to be one of those reasons, right? Wrong!

Email is the single most powerful tool of communication in today’s office, still surpassing instant messaging, HD meeting holodecks and some curious act known as face-to-face conversations, whatever those are (they sound painful and awkward).

Experts agree (one would assume, if one were to interview any) that how you sign off an email is just as important as the actual content, if not more so. Experts would also say that the sign off is called a “valediction”, because they like to show off even though it is very clear that you are on a first date and didn’t think through the whole spelling-bee-as-ice-breaker thing.

Take a look at this sampling of the most used sign offs and a handy guide as to why you’re a big dumb clod if you still use them:

“Regards” My stars, aren’t you just the picture of refinement. You’re probably wrote it while scratching your back with that ruler that no one ever wants to borrow. You’re not fooling anyone!
“Best” Snore. “Best” what? “Dressed”? “In Show”? Not valediction, I can tell you that for damn sure.
“Cheers” This isn’t a darts tourney at a seedy “Cirrhosis and Firkin”, you faux-cockney git.

Those are your standbys, aren’t they? You’re worried how long people have noticed this complete lack of originality on your part.

Slow down, Panicky Slim, and get that gun out of your mouth. Now isn’t the time to suss out who has been laughing at whom, for how long, or how many meetings have been called in Conference Room C to discuss what faces to make behind a certain person’s back. It’s time to map a plan on the road to that corner office.

Use any of these handy valedictions and hold on for the career-related rollercoaster ride of your life!

I beg you to look favourably on this, my respectful submission, Formal? No, classy. Watch those upwardly-mobile ivy league jerks steal this from you and get that big promotion you promised your wife you’d get under threat of divorce.
Alas, being this my last living breath, please RSVP to the Funny Hat Friday Committee with my sincerest salutations, That, friends, is a call to action. (Also works for Pot Luck Wednesdays and Theme Day Idea Tuesdays.)
Jag förblir din ödmjuk, lojal och sycophant smilfink, Oh, who’s this mysterious author? Not only do I want to answer her message, I want to know what the family crown looks like.
Yours truly, BA, MDIV, Ph.D, DDS, VetMB Look, if you want an email sign-off to improve your career, you clearly aren’t much of a planner. So go with lying! In this multi-media culture, who’s going to verify your claims?

You’re welcome.


Jesse McLean


Story Ideas Of Mine That Didn’t Make It Past The Title Stage

  1. Dude, Where’s Your Tsar? (historical romp)
  2. Hello My Name is Lorne Ipsum
  3. Been Drunk in the Wheat So Long, It Looks like Chaff to Me
  4. Mister Perfectt
  5. Namaste, Bitches!
  6. The Dorothy Parker Character Assassination and Vinegar Pie Club Meets at The Broken Arrow Cafe
  7. Another Shit Day in Asstown
  8. This Metaphor is Condemned
  9. Dead Men Knit No Cardigans
  10. Michael Corleone-Type Metamorphosis from Unwilling Participant to Head of the Crime Family But With a Middle Eastern Setting (shelved after a certain FX show hit the air)
  11. From Hair to Eternity: My Battle with Male-Pattern Baldness and Terrible Puns
  12. Who Ate My Parachute?
  13. No Big Deal, But I Think The Work of Carlos Castaneda Is a Bunch of Hooey
  14. Sex Is a Four Letter Word If You Spell it With Two X’s
  15. White Privilege Doesn’t Exist: Dispatches from the Penthouse




All the People All of the Time: Adventures in SEO

Like most bloggers I am a traffic whore–one so desperate for eyeballs that I am ready to open up for business no matter how likely the customer is to choke me out and run out of the gas station bathroom without payment or even a cordial thank you.

Why else would I obsessively review the search engine terms that have driven people to this blog by the dozens (and those are all-time numbers, people)? Why, to find out what people want and then give it to them.

Of course, I am almost as interested in the one-off searches and what plagues the occasional oddball. What type of person would ask Jeeves for help with 21st century existential puzzlers such as:

  • why isn’t the Bob Marley documentary on Zune
  • what Stephen Harper doesn’t want you to know about his church
  • vomiting what looks like coffee grounds
  • picture of a monkey votion (sic, and most definitely, huh?)

Actually I’ve since surmised that this last search was hoped to produce an image of a monkey voting, which brings up an interesting point: it was a two-time search term. Now I’m not sure which is the more frightening end-times scenario: that two people separated by geography and social strata entered the same mangled phrase into Google; or that the same person entered it once, was displeased with the result and thought, “Fuck you, Internet. Can’t you understand my simple desire?” and entered the same phrase in again.

For the record.

Come to think of it, I believe I could string together a few of these search terms and emerge with a strong entry for any open mic poetry slam:

Jon Hamm Ass

how tall is Lisa LaFlamme
Herman Munster in caution tape
improvised knuckles
weekday richie flannel
cup of flowers
how to deal sexually abused child
laptop muppet skins
mud therapy
romney rusty trombone
triumph tree, black box tree
dead gaddafi pics
Horrible Bosses on TV
how do you make your vagina tighter with alum vinegar rock salt
might be mine r. kelly

Intriguing, but how will appealing to these one- and two-term entry people spike my numbers? No, I’m better to appeal to the broadest crowd possible, those search terms that clock in at the mightily impressive mid-forties.

The following is a compendium of the greatest search engine hits, with a few overlaps put together for a better big picture view. I believe that a study of the larger numbers draws a more detailed picture of the psyche of our fellow Netizens, but also provides me with the excuse to include all my “best hits” in a single post.

I hereby present the burning questions from a select number of people in places such as Canada, the United States, Algeria, Israel and Thailand and the deepest, most profound existential quandaries that gnaw at their very souls:

  1. Gay Boner
  2. The Way I See It (Starbucks parody)
  3. Wu tang Christmas
  4. Bad Writing (Monkey Writing)
  5. How to Fuck
  6. Cafe Pick up Lines
  7. Mad Men
  8. Ol Dirty Bastard Christmas
  9. Upside Down Christmas Tree
  10. Stupid White People

Now while I’m not exactly ashamed that “gay boner” has driven up my traffic (if you know what I mean), I can’t say I’m all too chuffed about it, either. No one to blame but myself, really, but when you write about professional presidential bridesmaid Mitt Romney’s faux pas with a gay veteran, how the hell else would you title it? I mean, to distinguish it from any of his other whistle stop faux pas? (Apologies to those who arrived at this site in hopes of seeing an actual homosexual erection–I guess those must be difficult to find across the Internet and I am truly sorry for wasting your time.)

The second is interesting because Starbucks stopped their The Way I See It coffee cup aphorisms a few years ago. I suppose this tells us that the attention span of the people isn’t that short after all, provided it is something they really important.

A post about an apocryphal (but no less desired) Wu Tang Clan Christmas album has turned up quite often, and I have to dispense mad props to the like-minded genius who also thought said masterpiece ought to be titled 36 Chambers of Christmas (another one-time search term).

To my mind, “Bad Writing” is the most heartening search. It signifies a determination to avoid the pitfalls and traps that we use the language for (or “…pitfalls and traps for which we use the language”…yes, that’s better).

Of course I included it as a tag for a piece on How to Write like Michael Crichton but this was a while before he died, so get off my back. I do like that neophyte authors arrive at my site in an attempt to find, and hopefully avoid, bad writing; by the same token, I’m not happy that bad writing has brought anyone to a site featuring my work, so I may have to rethink that tag.

Now for the heartbreak. How to Fuck Up a Cup of Coffee was meant as no more than a long-winded goof-about (and in that way so different from everything else on the site), and not a siren call for the sexually cumbersome. Those searching the Internet on how best to copulate were met, I imagine, with frustration at the results (or downright rejection if they tried to use any of the items in that list in the bedroom).

Maybe this is simple projection, but I can’t help feeling bad for those who search with those three desperate words. I imagine this because of my vision that those surreptitiously pecking the question into a keyboard are likely crater-faced, goat-smelling teenage boys and I say that with all due respect and I’ve-been-there-myself affection.

This might be a good time for a big It Gets Better speech, but here’s the cold truth about how to fuck:

  1. Stretch first
  2. Use protection
  3. Try to think about your partner as much as yourself
  4. If it gets all weird, fake an orgasm and pretend to fall asleep

This will also work for the ladies, if required.

All well and good, you might ask, but what about people who aren’t already hitting up your sporadically-posted buckshot humour postings? Apparently I need only pander by including celebrity names and the single most search term of all time. See if you can separate the wheat from this chaff (thanks to the Yahoo Buzz Index):

Lindsay Lohan

Giselle Bundchen

Katherine McPhee


Zsa Zsa Gabor (?)

Nicki Minaj

Christina Aguilera

Kelly Clarkson

LeAnn Rimes

Obama Grandmother

Malcolm X Tape

Israel and Iran

Obama Mother

i am bored

Optimize that, Internetizens!

How to Write a Michael Crichton Novel

"A team of genetically enhanced monkeys band together to write a thrilling novel about sentient voting booths..."

Well, now that he’s been dead for awhile…


How to Write a Michael Crichton Novel


  1. Scour newspapers for hot button topics with a technical slant, like cloning or on-line predators or the race to create the largest flat screen television
  2. Alternately, try to create a situation or innovation that would cause great concern if it existed, like robot monkeys who learn to pick pockets or a deadly virus that only targets good mechanics and air traffic controllers
  3. Create a cast of rich, compelling characters and place them in a dire situation so the reader will care about the final outcome, thereby creating suspense; scrap those plans and sketch cardboard, ersatz humans who belch paragraphs of technospeak and then lay a monotonous line of hurdles before them
  4. Remove multi-syllabic words from your  vocabulary, and only use verbs when absolutely necessary; if it doesn’t read like an insurance claim, then you’re aiming too high
  5. Plan your novel first by writing a quick outline; upon completion, shrug and submit outline as finished product
  6. If your outline is a little thin, consider fattening with a couple of subplots, one a romance and the other, I don’t know, a car chase?
  7. Lobby Webster’s to accept Crichtonesque as an entry for the new edition, thereby validating your career and protecting you from future lawsuits from the Chrichton estate
  8. Consider the dullest aspect of your novel’s setting/premise and let that dictate the title; e.g., if your novel is about the creation of a teleportation device in post-Stalinist Russia, it should be titled Quantum State Preservation or Borscht
  9. Find an empty box and fill it with all literary ambitions; tape that sucker tight and put it in the garage because, brother, you won’t be needing it