Don’t dock your bottle, and other things I learned at Microsoft

The passive-aggressive notes blog reminds me of a coworker of mine at Microsoft who used to fly off the handle about water cooler hygiene. At one point, he got so outraged about how people were using the water cooler that he posted a note that said “Don’t dock the bottle! If you must refill a plastic water bottle, don’t place the bottle over the water cooler spigot and share your germs with everyone!”

I don’t think he made too many friends that way.

But there’s something about office kitchens that brings this tendency out in people. Each individual likely is in the kitchen by himself and thinks of it as his or her own domain; when a reminder (in varying degrees of rudeness) comes that it is in fact a shared space, the individual can lash out in some surprisingly ugly ways.

The office kitchen, in short, is a lot like an Internet forum.