I admit it! I’m gaga over Dale Carnegie Training, but it’s not really my fault. I only care so much about them because they care so much about me. Why else would they continue to bombard me with emails on topics that are so close to my heart?
In all the workplace books and articles I’ve read, I’ve never received any helpful advice on public sleeping. So, you can imagine my thrill and delight when I received an electronic billet-doux, a “Tip of the Month,” titled “Ease Public Sleeping Anxiety Through Preparation.”
Alas, I must have been taking a power-nap when the email arrived, because I apparently misread the message, but we can discuss my little boo-boo later. First, let’s explore the workplace challenge that I call “The Napquest.”
Of course, I know you love to sleep at your job, too. Not only is desk-dozing relaxing and refreshing, it’s also super-satisfying to collect $’s for catching Z’s. Why, if you only slept two hours per workday, it would be like getting a 25 percent raise!
I realize that sleeping on the job is not acceptable in every profession. Air flight controllers have to stay awake, even if it means putting toothpicks in their eyes and Red Bull in their cocoa. But for the rest of us, two or eight hours of sleep at work will not only keep you well rested, but it also will make you razor sharp during that intense, daily, 15-minute period when you actually have to work.
As usual, the Carnegie crew had good advice, starting with “Prepare, prepare, prepare.” This is so true. For a successful workplace snooze, you’ll definitely want to keep your favorite pair of pajamas close at hand. Since you’ll probably have to sleep sitting up at your desk with your computer on, a cozy, well-worn pair of pajamas can make it so much easier to drift off to dreamland.
If you think that changing from your Ralph Lauren pinstripes into your Donald Duck flannels will attract too much attention, remember that no one even knows you’re there most of the time. If you actually think you’re such a fascinating figure in the office that someone will notice, wear your jam-jams under your business clothes. It’s not a perfect solution, as you’ll discover when you try to stuff the feet of your sleepers into your Ferragamos, but it’s better than nothing.
It was the next piece of Carnegie advice that made me wake up: “Knowing your presentation through and through can help boost confidence while easing your fear and anxiety,” the newsletter’s author suggested.
I guess you could call the sight of you sprawled out on the floor of your cubicle — on your foam nap mat, with your comforter snugly gathered at your neck and Mr. Teddy clutched to your breast — to be a presentation of sorts, but as I read further, I finally awoke to the fact that the Carnegie people were not talking about public sleeping. They were talking about public speaking!
Reader, it broke my heart.
If a fear of speaking in public is your problem, contact Carnegie or simply keep your mouth closed. I haven’t uttered a word at my work for years, except for “please pass the donuts.”
As for those of us who like to take a little snooze cruise at work — here’s your “Tip of the Week.” There’s a new Internet craze called “planking.” According to the Mackay Daily Mercury, a newspaper in Australia, where the sport was apparently invented, “the term ‘planking’ refers to people lying flat on their stomach in unusual places while a photograph is taken.”
Google “planking,” and you will see a variety of world-class planks. Seeing photos of board-stiff individuals snoozing on stacks of boxes and bags of bananas will probably inspire you to even greater workplace planking efforts. You’ll also see news stories about one overzealous planker from Brisbane who died after falling seven stories from the balcony on which he had planked himself. Don’t let this deter you. You may be fired for planking in your cube, or on the conference table, or on the hood of the CEO’s Jaguar, but you won’t die.
I still don’t know much about public speaking, but despite the failure of Dale Carnegie Training to keep us up-to-date on the latest workplace trends, when it comes to public sleeping, we are already experts. So, get out there and snooze. When planking becomes an Olympic sport, you’ll be rested and ready.
Bob Goldman has been an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com.