UPDATED: Excerpt of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

In less than a month my book comes out, and in celebration I’m sharing a few pages with you.  A quick excerpt of chapter 15…

The Dark and Disturbing Secrets HR Doesn’t Want You to Know

  1. I worked in human resources for almost fifteen years at a number of different companies, including a religious-based organization where one of my duties was to teach people how to be appropriate and professional. Yes, I do see the irony in this.

Human resources is the place where people come to complain and/or shoot people when they just can’t take it anymore. Choosing to work in HR is like choosing to work in the complaint department of hell, except way more frustrating, because at least in hell you’d be able to agree that that Satan is a real dick-wagon without having to toe the company line. The HR department is the place where people stop by to say, “THIS IS TOTALLY FUCKED UP,” and the HR employees will nod thoughtfully and professionally as they think to themselves, “Wow. That is totally fucked up. I wish that this person would leave so I could tell everyone else in the office about it.”

When I was in HR, if someone came to me about a really fucked-up problem, I’d excuse myself and bring in a coworker to take notes, and the employee would relax a bit, thinking, “Finally, people are taking me seriously around here,” but usually we do that only so that when you leave we can have a second opinion about how insane that whole conversation was. “Was that shit as crazy as I thought it was?” I would ask afterward. It always was. Sadly, HR has very little power in an organization, unless the real executives are on vacation, and then watch out, because a lot of ass-holes are going to get fired.

There are three types of people who choose a career in HR: sadistic assholes who were probably all tattletales in school, empathetic (and soon  to-be-disillusioned) idealists who think they can make a difference in the lives of others, and those of us who stick around because it gives you the best view of all the most entertaining train wrecks happening in the rest of the company.

People who aren’t in HR always assume that people who are in HR are the biggest prudes and assholes, since HR is ostensibly there to make sure everyone follows the rules, but people fail to realize that HR is the only department actively paid to look at porn. Sure, it’s under the guise of “reviewing all Internet history to make sure other people aren’t looking at porn,” but people are always looking at porn, and so we have to look at it too so that we can print it out for the investigation. This is also the reason why HR always has color printers, and why no one else is allowed to use them. Because we can’t remember to pick up all the porn we just copied. This is just one of many secrets the HR department doesn’t want you to know, and after sharing these secrets I will probably be blackballed from the Human Resources Alliance, which is much like the Magicians’ Alliance (in that I don’t belong to either, since I never get invited to join clubs, and that I’m not actually sure that either of them exist). Regardless, almost immediately after starting work in HR, I started keeping a journal about all the fantastically fucked-up stuff that people who aren’t in HR would never believe. These are a few of those stories:

———

Last month we decided to start keeping file of the most horrific job applications handed in so that we’d have something to laugh at when the work got to us. We now officially have twice as many applications in the “Never-hire-these-people-unless-we-find-out-that-we’re-all-getting-fired-next-week” file than we have in the “These-people-are-qualified-for-a-job” file. What’s the word for when something that started out being funny ends up depressing the hell out of you? Insert that word here.

———

Today a woman came in to reapply for a job. She wrote that she’d quit last month but now wanted her job back. On “reason for leaving” she wrote: “That job sucked. Plus, my supervisor was a douche-nugget.” She was reapplying for the exact same job. I rehired her and reassigned her to her old supervisor, because I totally agreed with her. That guy was totally a douche-nugget.

———

In the last two months, six separate men filled in the “sex” blank on their job application with some variation of “Depends on who’s offering.” Two answered, “Yes, please,” and one wrote, “No, thank you.” I hired the last one because he seemed polite.

———

This afternoon an applicant wrote that she’d been fired from her job at a gas station for sleeping on a cat. Everyone in the office read the application, but none of us could agree on what the hell she was talking about, so we brought her in for an interview. When I asked her about falling asleep on her cat she looked at me and indignantly replied, “What? I never wrote that.” Then when I showed her the application she said, “Car. My boss found out I was sleeping on a car. Duh. Why would my boss care if I slept on a cat?”

“Um . . . why would your boss care if you slept on a car?” I asked.

“Because I was the only person working that shift. But I totally would’ve heard if anyone had driven up. I’m a very light sleeper. It’s not like I didn’t have a plan.”

The lesson here is that sometimes you get brought in for an interview just to settle a bet.

———

Today I interviewed someone who handed me a résumé saying that he’d worked at Helping Hand-Jobs. I choked on my own spit and couldn’t stop coughing. Later I showed it to the interviewer in the next office. She told me that her brother had worked there once but had quit because all the manual labor had given him heatstroke. After I started coughing again she realized my confusion and explained that it was actually named Helping-Hand Jobs and was a handyman service.

Never underestimate the power of punctuation, people.

———

Today I had to talk to an employee who e-mailed a photograph of his penis to a woman in his department. I knew it was his penis because it said, “This is my penis,” in the subject line. Also, his name badge was clipped to his belt and was clearly visible. I practiced saying, “Is this your penis?” over and over in my office until I could say it without giggling, and then I called him and his supervisor in.

“Is this your penis?” I asked, as I pushed the printout of the e-mail over to him.

I think I was expecting him to break into a sweat or try to jump through the window out of embarrassment, because apparently I’d forgotten about the fact that this was the same man who thought it would be perfectly fine to take a picture of his penis in the office bathroom to send it to a shocked coworker. Instead he grinned cockily (no pun in tended), saying, “I think the better question is, Exactly how did you get a picture of my penis?”

“It was caught in the e-mail filter. The picture, I mean. Not your penis. If, in fact, that is your penis, I mean.” I was flustered, but tried to gain control of the situation again with a deep, calming breath. “Did you mail a picture of your penis?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Would it make it better if I said I was mailing pictures of someone else’s penis?”

I’ve thought about that question for fifteen years and I still don’t have a good answer. Instead I said, “Not really. Giving a coworker a picture of a penis is sort of universally frowned on. It’s in the employee hand book. Sort of. It’s between the lines.”

“Is there anything in the handbook about someone in HR handing you a penis picture and asking you whether it’s yours?”

I couldn’t think of anything to say to that, so I just told him he was fired and made a note that we need to update the employee handbook with more penis-related directives.

———

As of today I’ve had to ask five separate men, “Is this your penis?” after their pictures got caught in the e-mail filter. (Side note: When I read this to people who don’t work in HR, they stop me here and say, “Really? People actually mail pictures of their penises at work?” And I explain that yes, it happens at least once a quarter. If it’s an HR person I’m read ing this to, they always say, “Really? You worked in HR for fifteen years and you only had to ask five men about their penises?” And I explain that no, I wrote this in my first few years in HR, and there’s another one in the very next paragraph. After that they just got so commonplace I stopped writing about them in my journal. I eventually got to where I could say, “Is this your penis?” without blushing or giggling. That’s how much practice I had at handing random men photos of their junk and asking them to identify their penis. I never once had to do it with a vagina. Probably because women are better at not getting their e-mails caught in the firewall, because they don’t use the subject line “Look at my penis.” Also, vaginas seem to have less personality than penises, so “Is this your vagina?” would probably be difficult to answer. If someone asked me to pick out my own vagina’s mug shot out of a lineup of vaginas, I’d be helpless. And probably concerned about what exactly my vagina had been doing that constituted a need for its own mug shot.

———

“Are these your penises?”

This is a question I never thought I’d have to ask, because I’ve never met anyone with more than one penis, but in this case it was two men taking pictures of their penises, together, at work. They hadn’t been caught in the filter, but had instead printed out the picture using the office printer and had accidentally forgotten to pick it up. One of the guys just nodded quietly, but the other leaned over to look clinically at the photo before he pointed to the penis on the left. “Just this one,” he said. I thanked him for the clarification, because I didn’t know what else to say. His friend looked at him, stunned, but I think it was probably a good lesson for him in picking the quality of people his penis takes pictures with. Standards are important, you guys.

 ———

Finish the rest of the chapter in the book.  You can preorder here!

UPDATE:  Penguin made me my first book trailer.  And yes, all of these pictures are from my personal family album.  True story.

 

396 thoughts on “UPDATED: Excerpt of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I always thought the purl of penis should be peni.

    Can’t wait to read the book. I’ll make sure not to sip any beverages while reading unless I want a thorough nasal flush. Snorting coffee hurts.

  2. You’ve convinced me. I just preordered my first book. Yours. I feel like a responsible grown-up now.

  3. God. I want this book so bad.
    Would it be bad form to include it on the baby registry?

    (There are a few pages about child-rearing in it so I think you could get away with it. ~ Jenny)

  4. OK, I’ll give one dude taking a picture of his penis and sending it to someone a free pass ’cause guys can be pigs. But, two dudes taking pictures of their dicks together?????? Guys just don’t do that!!!! That breaks man code!!!

    (Obviously you’ve never seen gay porn. ~ Jenny)

  5. This is hilarious…even more so because I work in HR. I haven’t had to have the penis conversation though, thank God!

  6. This is going to be sooo good! It should have a warning on the front page: Do NOT read in public places unless you don’t plan on ever going there again. The ugly-laughter may ensue.

  7. I used to work in HR and never had to ask anyone if they had mailed a co-worker a picture of their penis. I did work in HR at a UK university though. That might explain it. The only thing scientists are interested in comparing is the size of their brains/research grants. I’m still disappointed though.

  8. I can not wait for my copy to get here! Thank you for sharing the excerpt! As I’m sure you know, it just left us yearning for more. Of your book. And maybe some coffee. It is really early!

  9. I will never look at my co-workers the same especially since I work with mostly men!

  10. OK Jenny, you finally hooked me in. I just ordered your book and I can’t wait to read it. I’m thinking I may do my first book review ever on my blog. I’ll even take a picture of me holding twine.

  11. YES! I thought it was just the place I worked at the had so many dudes with pictures of their penises. Glad to hear it wasn’t just me. One time we had a guy who mailed a picture of what was obviously not his own penis to some strangers. That was a weird conversation. At least get the color right.

  12. I was going to order your book to take on spring break with me, but now I think I’ll have to read it after break. I’m worried I’ll be kicked off the plane or out of establishments for LOL too loudly. Can’t wait!

  13. I won’t be able to look my HR guy in the eye for awhile now, thanks a lot! LOL!!!
    Anyway, you’ve convinced me….going to preorder NOW! I may do my first book review on it as well, since I’ve never written one that should be interesting. Pictures of my Beyonce puppet with twine will be necessary of course!

  14. Have to say that now I’m jumping around like a kid that needs to lee but doesn’t want to waste her valuable time waiting for my pre-ordered in September of last year copy of your book. I think it might qualify as torture on the publisher’s part to make us wait so long!

    Will they send the hard copies out a little early or am I going to have to download it because I can’t wait for the one with the bookplate?

    (The bookplate comes separate so no worries. You’ll get the hardcover on time. ~ Jenny)

  15. My first thought: “What’s the word for when something that started out being funny ends up depressing the hell out of you?” Coliary.

  16. Cackled mightily while reading this. Obviously it’s going to be The Funniest Book Ever Written.

  17. And now I know I made the right choice pre-odering this.

    You have the next one in the works, right? Because when I’m done reading this I’m going to be sad. Like super sad. Sad panda even. So get started on book 2.

  18. LOL! This is just what I needed on this ugly Monday morning, thank you for sharing? I can’t wait for it to arrive on my kindle!!

  19. Awesome sauce! I hope there are more stories about stupid people in the book. I love stories about stupid people.

  20. so hilarious. I have to say, the 2 women i work with in HR are totally feisty and are highly aware of the stereotype that comes with HR on your business card… i feel like they work very hard to fight their reputation :). I’ve asked to come party with them after an offsite just to prove it, but have yet to get the invitation. Also, small thing here, and it may just be my computer, but in the sentece “thoughtfully and profession ally as” you have near the top, there is a space in “profession ally” that maybe didn’t get caught in editing? Again, maybe it’s just my damn computer, in which case i’ll blame Steve Jobs… wait… no… who’s the guy in charge now? GREAT sneak peek… can’t wait to read the book!

  21. It has been almost 5 months since I ordered your book. And no, that’s not my penis.

  22. The books sounds good! If I wasn’t afraid of being fired for reading blogs at work all day I would TOTALLY forward this to a girl I know who works in HR at our company. I’m pretty sure she’d find it amusing.

  23. OMG BRILLANT! I was already going to buy your book but this sealed the deal. If just one excerpt can make coffee come out of my nose, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the book will do :D.

    Thank you for making my Monday morning a whole lot happier!

  24. Oh sweet mary. I am so calling everyone I know who works in HR to ask how many penis pictures they’ve had to dickcuss. I mean, discuss.

  25. HR people are always known as the lowest of the low. I’ve never worked with a single intelligent or compassionate person in HR. That having been said, I’m sure they have some pretty hilarious stories! I can’t wait to order your book on my Kindle!

  26. Oh, my goodness. I’ve been looking into working in HR. I didn’t know about the penis picture problem. BONUS!

  27. I can’t wait for my ore-order to get here! This is hilarious, thanks for posting. I worked in HR for a year, and I always tell stories about the applicants showing up for interviews wearing pink fuzzy slippers. I just wanted to ask them- “Seriously?”

    I really can’t believe it’s such a common practice for guys to email photos of their penises to coworkers! What kind of office was this?! Lol. I have to say I never saw any of those, but I guess I wasn’t there long enough!

  28. Hmm. I’ve always thought the HR department was the spawn of the devil filled with his little hell-minions. But, knowing that they’re subjected to so many pictures of employee penises, I have a whole new respect for them. (Seriously, look around your place of employment and imagine if you had to slide a photo across the desk and ask if that penis belonged to them.) I’d be pretty cranky, too.

  29. Well that was just like a wine slushy! Thank you for sharing, you are very kind.

    Things I never thought I would have to say to my 3 yr old son, “Elyas get your penis off the iPad please, it’s not water proof.” Please note this was the first generation iPad so it doesn’t take photos so I am thinking positive that he doesn’t have a future in HR inquire meetings-but you never know now that the iPad has photo/video capabilities! I will keep you posted.

  30. Damn iPhone, I meant pre-order. “Hi, I’d like to place an ore-order please? Oh I don’t know, how about a couple pounds of iron.”

  31. I am super-duper stoked (NOT “stroked” people. Dammit, get your minds out of the gutter!) for this book! Can’t wait to read it!

    The End

  32. Serious giggles right now ! Your fantastic I’m going to get the book ordered as soon as I know I can get it in ireland ? Thank you for the preview

  33. There are email filters? Well that totally explains why I’ve been through fourteen jobs in the last five years. Thanks for the heads up.

  34. despite having been fired from my last job bc it was a war of tattles, and despite not having talked to my HR lady in a few months, i’m fighting the urge so much to email her a link to your website so she can read this a relate. i’m fighting the urge not bc i don’t want to spread the amazing words of you, but bc i’m pretty sure she already thinks i’m a total weirdo and really don’t want to confirm that to her. i can’t wait for the book to come out. it’s my end of the semester present to myself and it’s something i actually look foward to reading. you’re hilarious and amazing jenny. keep up the good work!

  35. Maybe I should read this multiple times so that HR definitely sees it? And send it to my coworkers? Hmm. A new crop of awkward questions for HR to ask “Is this you reading about penises on thebloggess.com? You can’t do that. It’s in the handbook.”

  36. Helping Hand-Jobs. Yes, I would assume the manual labor would eventually get to the workers. But I’m not sure how heatstroke would come into play.

    You should have hired that one. At least you know he’s good with his hands.

  37. Book purchased? Check. Book assigned for May’s book club meeting? Checkity check check. Our particular club likes to read a lot of different books and most of the meetings consist of going somewhere that sells booze, talking about the book for about 15 minutes, and then listening to one of our more hysterical members tell penis and vagina stories. I’m thinking we’re not going to have to stray too far from the book to fit such commentary in come May.

  38. Man oh man I can’t wait for the whole book!
    (Also when I first wrote this I type “man on man”. Appropos, I think)

  39. when I get this book I intend to only read it in public. the looks I’ll get for my manic laughter will be almost as good as the reading itself

  40. I’m amazed by all the penis pictures. What the hell? These guys think this is OK? I can’t imagine what they are like in real life!!!

    I’m impressed that you could handle that whole thing so well, Jenny. You have balls. AND you’re smart enough not to email pictures of them to people you work with 😉

  41. Hi Jenny, I just pre-ordered your book through Amazon.co.uk So pleased you have the kindle edition. 🙂 I am totally hooked on your blog. 🙂
    Best wishes from the UK.
    x

  42. I want to be in Renee’s book club where we read this book!

    The book club I was in quickly devolved into drink wine and talk about who is getting divorced club, but I suspect that it was the book selection that was to blame.

  43. I have preordered the book already, but now I am wondering if I made a mistake. I pulled something laughing reading this excerpt, I frightened the cats, and I sprayed Diet Coke out of my nose all over the computer screen. Which hurts. And is messy. And not the fun kind.

  44. OMG, I can’t wait until I get my copy. And if I hadn’t already pre-ordered it, I would be right now. Also? Two guys taking penis pictures TOGETHER? Wow.

  45. I have NEVER been more glad in my life that I do not have a job that involves talking to me employees/customers/bosses. Occasionally I get an annoying client, but that’s about it. Somehow, I don’t think my rampant sarcasm would help me keep a real job.

  46. Oh man! I cannot wait! This book is coming with me to keep me entertained in Mexico!!!! It’s going to be the best vacation EVER!!! =)

  47. So glad I was not drinking anything while reading this, because it would have all shot out of my nose all over my computer. IT would not have been happy. (HR would not have cared, though… no penises were involved.)

  48. I find it hilarious that men are so certain that a picture of their penis is the sure fire way to get someone to have sex with you. Usually they aren’t even that impressive. Sadly, there is no HR for dating, so when you foolishly give a guy your number at a bar, there is no one to complain to when you get a text at 2am from a number you don’t know that says “You up? cuz I sure am.” with a picture that forces me to reply “for your sake I hope it was really cold when that picture was taken”

  49. Dear Jenny,
    I love you. I will read your book every day when it comes out.
    Thanks for having a bizarre job for long enough to be able to ask people about pictures penises with a straight face. I though I was the only one outside of the field of urology with that kind of job.
    Love,
    Me

  50. Damn you! I want to read the excerpt, but I don’t because then it will be less of the book to read!

  51. thanks for the morning giggles, which may have caused some coffee to spray all over my computer and desk. also, i have never received a penis email. what am i doing wrong?!?! (oh, wait. it might be that i work with all girls. hmmm…)

  52. Oh I am even more excited to get my book! Thanks for sharing and I if I had aspirations to be in HR they are officially over.

  53. I would send this to the two women I know in HR, but I’m not sure if this is something that they would think is awesome and therefore think I am awesome, or whether they would think it was awesome but still bring me in to talk about the ethics of emailing articles about people email penis pictures…hmmm. I bet this isn’t in the handbook…

  54. OMG!! That is fucking hilarious!! I’m so glad I’ve already bought your book. I can’t wait to read it!

    I used to work in surgery as a circulator nurse. People are usually kind of shocked when I tell them I’ve had my hand in hundreds of vaginas.

  55. Does your book have anything in it about fixing chairs? Because my chair broke while i was reading your blog, and I’m pretty sure reading blogs breaks chairs.

    I’m good at this critical thinking stuff.

  56. Oh my GOD I haven’t snorted this much in YEARS. Thank you SO MUCH and you are guaranteed that I will buy this book. Me, the cheapskate who waits for the library, wants to OWN this book. Also, will libraries actually HAVE a book by a blogger? Is that allowed? Or does writing a “BOOK” now qualify you as an authentic author? Not that I don’t think bloggers are writers, because DUH. We write. Ergo, writers. But I do feel like people think I’m LESS of a writer because I don’t always spell check as well as I would if I were a Book Author.

    THEN AGAIN, I’ve seen some seriously fucked up grammatical errors in published books, so maybe the only difference between a blogger and a book author is that my words are free and not on paper. Maybe I should print my blog out and sell it as wrapping paper and call myself an author…

  57. Oh Lordy. I worked in HR too, and not one of your stories is surprising. Kinda says something about the world, doesn’t it?

    And what is the deal with men taking photos of their junk, or drawing penis pics? Not once did I ever get a satisfactory answer, it was always a shoulder shrug or ‘I dunno’.

    Men. But honestly, that was preferrable to the catty shiz ladies do to each other.

  58. I’m really looking forward to my pre-order showing up. Thanks for the excerpt!

    I must take exception though; vaginas have lots of personality. If for some reason I found myself in a world where such things happen, I could pretty easily pick out the vaginas of my last two girlfriends in a photo lineup. Even with the little black and white plaque with the vagina’s identification number and the name of its owner covered up. I would probably recognize all my other girlfriends’ vaginas too, but it’s been a while and I may not be able to put a name to them right away. You know how it is.. when you bump into a vagina on the street that you haven’t seen in a long time, you might have to try to remember where you saw it last in order to remember who it belongs to.

  59. Something tells me this is going to be the greatest book ever written! I absolutely can’t wait for my copy to get here!!!!

  60. I pre-ordered your book ages ago and I can’t wait for the day it magically appears on my Kindle!

  61. Yeah, guys can be pretty stupid. Women don’t take many pictures like that because if they’re going to show it to you they’ll do so in the flesh. Plus a guy would never turn in a vag pic. No matter how ugly it was. It might end up on a forward to all the perverts they know. Which is once again another reason you don’t see many vag pics.

  62. this is why you never email the pictures, always hand deliver, wait that goes back to the hand-job thing doesn’t it?

  63. And to think I applied for an HR Manager position just last week becasue I wanted more excitement in my job.

    I sure do hope I messed up some grammar so I get an interview!

  64. This was hysterical! I might just have to buy your book, if it’s going to be this funny!

    I worked as a Recruiter for several months. I had a person who missed a phone screen appointment tell me that her horoscope told her it wasn’t a good day for an interview. The job she was being screened for was in the 100K range.

  65. I am so glad that I don’t work in the corporate world. Just when I feel a little bummed about a situation at work, you show me that I am so darn lucky to work with non-junk photo-taking people. And vagina-owners. I mostly work with women.

  66. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your take on the why we get in to the HR field! I still like to think I was/am the idealist who thought I could make a difference. But as you know, that bubble gets burst on a regular basis. Here is one from my “journal”: One time, when I was working in HR for a local entertainment venue, I had to “investigate” and ultimately fire a Snack Bar Supervisor, for having mattress mambo with a Snack Bar Employee …IN ONE OF THE SNACK BARS!! EWWWW… to this day (approx. 11 years later), when I bring my kids there, we NEVER buy food from that snack bar. When I confronted him, his response was that they thought it was okay, because they were on break. Whuck!?!?! Oh, and the employee he was having fun with was not his live-in girlfriend who happened to be employed in the Gift Shop. I can’t wait for the book!

  67. I’ve also put this in as my book club recommendation. I hope you sell hundreds of thousands of copies, Jenny. No one deserves success more than you.

    “What’s the word for when something that started out being funny ends up depressing the hell out of you? Insert that word here.” Favourite line so far. And I’ve read one page. This book is going to be awesome.

  68. Jenny, there is NO WAY you are old enough to have worked in HR for 15 years! Unless you started when you were 12! Or maybe you made a deal with the devil so you wouldn’t age? Come on, what’s your secret?

  69. I won’t lie to you… I kind of want to get a job in an HR department now. Just so I can question people on their penises. Although, I doubt I will ever be able to say it with a straight face. I tip my hat to you!

  70. I so love you people. I’m a quivering mound of relief over here.

    The bookplate thing expired last week but if the publisher has any extras and they open it back up I’ll let you know.

  71. Am suddenly contemplating tattooing or bejeweling my initials near my vajajay in case of mug shot photos crisis.

  72. I’m afraid I’m going to have to cancel my order. I laughed so hard reading the excerpt that I’m pretty sure I would rupture some important organ from laughing while reading the whole book!

  73. So, it is against my religion to buy books written by bloggers but yea this on SOLD. P.S. I work in HR too and stuff like this makes my job so worth it.

  74. Oh my gosh—this is awesome! Thank you! I’m now going to order one for me and others for gifts. I also have new respect for HR.

  75. Also, I’m so glad to see that my text ad is right between the potty training sites….right where Tall Curly Biscuit belongs. However, my site is very high-brow, and any bathroom humor is purely artistic.

  76. As a recovering HR worker myself, I loved this. I didn’t have any penis problems because my time was before camera phones. I’m not sure that was lucky. I did have to hear about people’s weird health problems, which involved a lot of poop. Is that close?

  77. In the high tech industry, the the word for when something that started out being funny ends up depressing the hell out of you is “Dilbert”

  78. Thank you for that! I’m so excited to read the rest!!!
    I wish my HR director would use the words “dick-wagon” or “douche-canoe” I think we’d get along much better if she did.

  79. Jenny, I just pre-ordered from a local bookstore. I could not be happier for you. Congratulations on finishing and publishing your book!

  80. Now I’m even more excited about this book than I already was.

    Also, I must say that “(Obviously you’ve never seen gay porn. ~ Jenny)” is one of the best comment responses ever.

  81. This is the message I just put on FB for you:

    Sallie Hallett Thompson
    My last corporate job, the HR department was full of passive-aggressive D-bags….led by a person who was the ultimate control freak. When I read this excerpt from Jenny Lawson’s new book, I nearly LMFAO. I have it on pre-order, as should you!

    Excerpt of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
    thebloggess.com
    In less than a month my book comes out, and in celebration I’m sharing a few pages with you. A quick excerpt of chapter 15…

    LOVE your work , Jenny . .. .keep it up!

  82. I’d be fascinated to know if you had more or fewer ‘is this your penis sir?’ conversations at the religious organisations than at similar sized non-religious companies.

  83. Maybe those guys’ ultimate goal was actually for YOU to see their penis’….the in-between witnessing parties just being a necessary step to get through to you in HR.

    I like your take on HR. As a nurse, I feel like I am a built in HR representative, receiving plenty of complaints about others, confessions, and counseling seeking! But I think I’m missing out on reading those interesting job applications!

  84. oh hold crap. Thank you so much for this. I have been laughing out loud the past 10 minutes. My degree is in HR, but I ended up working in Finance, so I never put it to use. Not sure if I should be regretting that or not after this!!! I also shared with a good friend going through surgery today so she’d have something to laugh at. Perfect Timing to giving this to us. Can’t wait for the rest!

  85. Worst experience I had with an HR person… Back when Gay marriage was getting discussed in NY, the HR woman bumped into me at the copier, and she said: “I don’t know how *they* can do that, you know? I mean, really, why do they have to bother trying to be like straight people”, in a sort of disgusted voice. I’m bi, and she hadn’t a clue. And she was the only one in HR, so there wasn’t anyone to go to to complain about it…. blargh!

  86. I’m one of the HR idealists – 9 years in, miraculously. I will still never understand how someone can print out porn and forget to pick it up off the printer AT WORK.

    Thanks for the excerpt…looking forward to reading the rest!

  87. *laughs* I think I’m glad the guys I worked with on the trading floor didn’t have e-mail or camera phones back when I worked there.

  88. So, I really, really wanted to be a good kid and avoid buying this book. It’s nothing personal; I just try really hard not to buy any brand new books because one time, when I was in college where it’s totally ok to experiment with obsessive book buying, I spent three grand on books in one year. Most of them weren’t even related to my classes. However, after reading your excerpt here, I’m ordering it right now. Seriously, Amazon is open in the other tab. Plus, I follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter, and for an entire week he gushed about how great your book is. I have no choice. Sigh. Bye bye, money, bye bye.

  89. i’m hoping that i don’t get a visit from HR for busting out laughing while reading this at work. would hate to have to explain to them what was so funny…not sure about their senses of humor just yet. in other news….i am SO getting your book!!!

  90. Sold. This is the best birthday present I’ve ever bought for myself. (My birthday’s at the end of April.)

    Also… Note to self: Do not read any more excerpts from Jenny’s new book while sitting at your desk at work, at lunchtime. I am not up to the task of explaining what’s so funny.

  91. So THAT’s how you get HR’s attention! Gonna have to get myself a penis and then e-mail it to someone. The gender reassignment surgery is so gonna be worth it if it means I’ll finally get a meeting with someone who can answer my benefits questions. Thanks, Jenny.

  92. DUDE! I had to read some of these to my office-mate. Someone else walked in and thought we’d gotten some horrible news because we were sitting at our desks, rocking (with silent laughter), and had tears rolling down our cheeks!

    I will have this book, make no mistake!

  93. Only one time did I work at a company big enough to have an HR dept and cubicles. The head of HR was woman who channeled the wicked witch of the Wizard of Oz, She ate small animals as snacks while sitting at her desk wagging her gnarled finger at anyone stupid enough to enter her office.

    After that I became self employed. It wasn’t necessarily better, but at least it was safer.

  94. I work in a publishing-related field, and when I learned a colleague had gotten in an early copy of your book, I squealed like a small child who’s just found a surprise bicycle in the driveway. And I’m talking sparkly paint, ribbons-on-the-handlebars levels of excitement.

    It really is a fantastic book. I will enjoy your blog even more now, knowing the hilarious and often moving journey you made to becoming the wondrous writer and person that you are today.

  95. You have forever changed any thoughts I might have had about someday working in HR… o.O
    I can’t wait to read the rest of your book! 😀

  96. Since we’re sharing…!
    Once upon a time, boys and girls, people took photos on film and then dropped them off at the drug store or photo shop for developing, and they were sent for developing to a factory, like the one I worked at one summer in college. My job was to take the big spool of developed photos, cut and package them, and we were supposed to watch the photos as they whizzed out of the machine for quality control. Well! I soon learned that people took photos of their intimate parts (and their girlfriends’ intimate parts). Yes, Grand Canyon, Christmas tree, large blurry pink thing, Easter dinner… Moreover, I worked in the section that packaged the instamatic photos, so let’s say the photos weren’t of the highest artistic merit and lots of folks didn’t understand that you had to stand farther away for the subject of the photo to be in focus.

  97. This. is. AWESOME!!! I can’t wait to get the book and I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the excerpt, which is just enough to tide me over until the real thing arrives. Thank you Jenny. You are the BOMB.

  98. I actually debated for a few minutes whether or not I wanted to read an excerpt since I knew it would further whet my appetite for the book that I am not so patiently waiting for. Of course, I HAD to read it and although I do not regret it (“Is this your penis?”) may become a new catchphrase for me, I may now have to take a month’s worth of Xanax so I can just sleep until I get your book in the mail! Thanks for giving me another view of the HR ppl. I never really thought about what they have to see on a daily basis.

  99. I cannot wait for the book to come in the mail! I mean, I have to wait, but I’m not happy about it.

  100. I just preordered my book but didn’t make it by the cut off 🙁 let me know how I can get one if any are still available pleaseeeeeeee!

  101. Going on year 12 in HR and I think I started out as that idealist but now do it for the fucked up yet sometimes entertaining complaints I get to hear.
    I’m so glad you cleared up the whole “HR power” issue. It bears repeating: we have no power whatsoever.
    And on that note, lets just clear up a few things: 1) It’s your supervisor that wants your ass canned so blame him/her. HR doesn’t just randomly decided to fire people. Typically we don’t know what you’ve done until we’re told
    b) stop doing stupid shit that will make your supervisor want to fire you.

  102. Conversation I just had.
    14y/o son “Mum what’re you laughing at?”
    Me…”laughing too hard to answer
    *son reads over my shoulder.
    Son.”mum you are gross why are you reading this? Why are you Laughing??”
    Me..”laughing so hard I’m crying now”
    Son walks away in disgust.

    So thanks Jenny – now I get to embarrass my son in the comfort of my own home.

  103. My BFF is in HR…she shares some of the sh!tstorms she encounters on a daily basis…I could *never* do her job! She laughs about it – usually. I’d be curled up in a ball shaking and mumbling incoherent phrases about spiders & rainbows.

    Thanks for the LOL to start my day!! Ordered my copy a while back….anxiously awaiting its arrival!!! You crack my shit up!!!!! Luv ya!

  104. If I wasn’t already sold before, I definitely am now. I haven’t been able to read a book in 8 years since my oldest kid was born and all hell broke loose, but dammit I’m buying AND READING yours.

  105. I did not know you worked in HR for 15 years. I worked in it for ten. At both Entertainment and Web Development Companies. The kind of corporations where being in HR means at some point you will have to explain to the Head of Legal that they cannot specify race when looking for an assistant. Or send them penis pics once they have hired them.

    So, I guess what I am trying to say is I am pre-ordering your book.

  106. eeeek can’t read this yet, I’m in class.
    BUT I just wanted you to know that your book has been my reward to myself for graduating university (april 20th baby) since the day you said we could pre-order it.

    holy mother of potato I am excited for both

  107. I knew I wanted to work in HR for a reason! (I’m an idealist) But darn it I’m going to have to start applying asap! If anyone needs an assistant shoot me an email. I’ll relocate and everything to hear these stories!

    For now I’ll practice keeping a straight face!

  108. I think I might go camp out at my Barnes and Noble now so I can be sure to get a copy when it comes out next month. You can never be too early, am I right? Come to Chicago on book tour, I’ll buy you a new wig.

  109. Can’t wait for my copy. I am telling my son no penis pics in email EVER!!! Hey, you just never know lol

  110. Could be worse. A group of us were at the company charity golf game and two HR ladies got full view of my brother’s penis. Because both my brother and I work at the same company and look alike, we get mistaken a lot. I usually get blamed for the infamous “Penis Flashing of 2011” but it’s ok. Most of HR was drunk that day.

  111. I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THE ENTIRE BOOK. I’ll keep you posted for if and when I pee my pants or make some people really uncomfortable on a plane because I’m legit LOL-ing in public with my iPod blasting Miley Cyrus.

  112. –>I sat in the HR dept. for almost 10 years and the stories from my coworkers were always classic. There were always some good excuses for falling asleep at work too.

  113. I’ve worked for many years in management and still can’t believe some of the things my employees did and said. We had to call someone in for leaving threatening voice mails on his girlfriend’s voice mail at work (they both worked in our department…bad news from the beginning). When we called him in, he got his undies in a wad because she let us hear the voice mails. Um, hello, note to psycho boyfriends: don’t leave your girlfriend threatening voice mails at work, especially when you work for the same employer. Then he had the nerve to get pissed off that we fired him for it.

  114. I work with college students and I’ve got to say, I’m a little disappointed that I have yet to have the “Is this your penis?” conversation. Although tomorrow I get to have the “Is this you giving the finger to the security camera while wearing your Peace & Love hoodie?” conversation. Just not the same.

  115. If one day, by some freak chain of events, I become a millionaire, I vow to buy a copy of this book for every person I’ve ever met.

  116. Do we need more penis-related directives just in general? Or at least some guidelines? Clarification of existing guidelines maybe?

  117. That was hilarious 🙂 My kids are wondering why I am sitting at the computer giggling. I can’t wait for the book to be released.

  118. I’m the empathetic kind who used to think that having a career in HR would be great because I’d get to help people in some way. Then I read this blog post. And now I just want a career in HR so I can ask random men to identify their junk. That seems like a pretty good reason to show up to work each day as any other. Sure beats reams of spreadsheets with numbers that melt into each other after about 36 minutes.

  119. Pre-Ordered from my LBS (Octavia Books in NOLA)- will I be able to purchase a BookPlate at a later date?

  120. I work in HR. My company has had to fire someone for viewing bestiality porn on a company computer, belonging to another employee. “…[E]mpathetic (and soon to-be-disillusioned) idealists who think they can make a difference in the lives of others, and those who of us who stick around because it gives you the best view of all the most entertaining train wrecks happening in the rest of the company.” Yeah, I’m right in the middle there.

  121. The Helping-Hand Jobs made me burst out laughing at work and I had to read it to the whole office. Wow, it only got better from there. Going to go pre-order now.

  122. Oh man, oh man. This was hilarious. I’d been debating buying your book (on the one hand, I’m a hardly-employed linguist and shouldn’t be spending money on books; on the other hand, SO MANY PAGES OF BLOGGESS ALL AT ONCE). But now that I know just how much penis there is, I may have to cave in, at last.

  123. My my! I bet the two guys with the penis picture taken together were in some sort of competition of comparing. I would feel honored to get a pic like that at work with the caption of “Pick one”. That would most likely be a hard decision (pun intended). Btw, vagina pics are much too complicated to do. A woman is better off trying to take boob pics instead.

  124. I cannot wait til this gets released and pops through my letter box, I shall take it work and read it to me co-worker/partner in crime, whenever we get a stupid HR question, which is often. Despite the fact that we aren’t working in HR, but there’s no HR person in our office, so it’s us. I intend to make her laugh so hard she can’t answer the dumb question we’ve been asked.

  125. I would have to say “Is that your penis” WAY more than five times to say it without laughing. After fifty, maybe… but I’d still go beet red like a tomato. Kudos to you, penis girl!

  126. I already had your book on pre-order from my local library (which impressed me all to hell, to think they will carry such a spunky title!). Now I can’t wait to get it in my hands. I may have to re-think my penny-pinching strategy though & invest the dollars so I can just keep this on my shelf. You slay me… too funny! 🙂

  127. The excerpt is awesome!!! I’m counting on getting birthday money from relatives who have no idea what to get for me to buy your book!!!! BTW, I’m sorry but I have no love for HR people. Report sexual harassment of a superior and you get treated like you did something wrong. Needless to say that once they no longer owned me (read I could leave without paying back my signing bonus) I lit out of there super fast to go play with radiation. It was safer than the assholes I worked for. 🙂

  128. For the first time ever I actually squealed in delight when I got the trade email this morning – the fact your book had a UK publisher was one of the feature stories. The fact I can get my hands on it in the UK made me happy all day.

  129. ROFL. Clearly I’m the wrong sort of person because after reading this I’m like “Wow… I guess I need to get a job in HR after all”. hehehehhe

  130. One of my all-time favorite movie lines is from Clint Eastwood who sayd “Personnel is for ASSHOLES.” Not that you were ever an asshole. He must have meant that it’s where you SEND assholes. Yeah, that’s it. I can’t wait to get my book! I laughed so hard at this excerpt that I expect that I’ll require medical attention when I read the whole thing. And that my friend, is my highest compliment!

  131. I am definitely buying this book. And maybe a few more for Christmas presents.

    I am also thinking I need to set up a lunch date with a friend in HR…

  132. I remember the HR guy who told me that he was VERY disappointed in me for nailing a lady volunteer (which he had zero proof anyway – since it never happened). He was so serious, red faced and angry. Nothing ever came of it anyway since it was just a clownish rumor. I always thought that was sort of funny that he blasted my supposedly lose morals while he felt right at home in a wedding dress in the gay pride parade in his hometown. Oh well.

  133. Shouldn’t it be “tow the company line” instead of “toe the company line”? …just sayin 🙂

  134. Jenny, you must have been the best HR person in the whole wide world.

    And I am sure that you have nothing to worry about getting all famous and, thusly, reminding all the penis emailers that it was you who fired them and their Johnsons.

    You might consider investing in a stuffed pit bull or doberman or werewolf with a warning sign around their necks that says, “I EAT PENISES. GRRRRRRR.”

    It should totally be tax deductible.

  135. MAN! No one ever emails me their penis at work. What sort of a place do I need to work at to get that? JEEZE!

    Color me disappointed.

  136. I laughed so hard at the guy leaning over to inspect the photo and properly identify which penis was his. I honestly can’t wait to read the whole book. Is it April yet?

  137. Oh, man, I am so glad I preordered the book. If it’s half as good as the excerpt, I’m gonna be spending a lot of time explaining why I’m laughing in public….

  138. I try not to read excerpts books I know I’m going to read (and I’ve already preordered yours), but the “Is this your penis?” story caught my eye and I couldn’t stop laughing!

  139. Wow I totally tought HR was dull and penis-free except for the guy who tends to be in charge, but he always has a pear-shaped body so his penis is sort of tucked away – not like a drag queen but like a guy who wears mom jeans.

    Excellent news about the book!

  140. I think I pulled a muscle while laughing just now.

    I have this feeling I’m going to spend the first six months (at least) after I get your book getting odd looks from strangers. I won’t be able to help it when every day situations remind me of something you wrote, and then I’ll randomly burst out laughing.

  141. Yeah, you got lots of “junk”, but have you ever had a 15 year old who you were interviewing say, “I ain’t dating my baby’s mama no more, you wanna go out with me?” <~~ true story. Sadly, I kicked him out of the store LOL! Funny stories..I will be ordering this for a fun read 😉

  142. All this talk of penis pictures reminds me of all my slutty friends in high school. Maybe high school is the outer layer of hell and HR is the center. Filled with pictures of penises. Doesn’t sound so bad…

  143. I have been having such a crap week, until I read this and nearly choked with laughter. Thanks for cheering me up.

  144. This made me laugh a lot, then I sneezed a lot (I’m pretty sure you had nothing to do with the sneezing).
    I have never had any penis pictures, however my friends boyfriend once showed me his underwear in a bar. Don’t know what this has to do with anything but I like to share this story with as many people as possible.

  145. Love it. Looking forward to your book. I’ll make sure to give it prime real estate in my store when it comes out. 😉

    I had an applicant put under “Military Experience” that he was a member of the KISS army. I also liked the kid who turned in his app while wearing a shirt that said “F*ck Authority”.

  146. I worked in an advertising department for a newspaper. Best part of the job, since this was before the internet, was the porn vhs tapes. The sales reps who looked after the xxx video stores had to bring the vhs covers so that the cover art and movie description could be used in the ads. The first thing that would happen when the reps came back is that we would read the movie description in our most sultriest of voices. One movie actually claimed “good acting” from their porn stars in those few minutes where a story line was necessary. The odd time a movie was “accidentally” left in the case. Don’t know how a HR department would handle that one.

    This is the closest I can come to penis stories. I can’t wait for your book to arrive. I’ll be guarding the mailbox that day. No one gets my book!

  147. OMG, this was so funny I almost pee’d my pants! I have worked in HR as well and the stories never end. Seriously.

    What many people mistakenly never understand is that while Human Resources is there to assist people, ultimately they are there to look out for the company’s best interests. Their loyalty is to the business for whom they work.

  148. Holy shit. I just choked, like, four different times while reading the excerpt. I’m afraid now that reading your entire book will cause my death. I’m saving up to buy it anyway, because I’m a risk-taker like that.

  149. Now, I really want a job in HR…all those years working in corporate America and I never knew what I was missing by working in research and customer service.

  150. Douche-nugget.

    Well, THERE’S a new word that I’ll totally overuse tomorrow.

    My co-workers thank you in advance.

  151. Seriously, I can’t wait to get my book. And I feel really left out that no one at my company has sent me a picture of their penis.

  152. I can see this is a book I’ll have to read in the airport, because I love laughing like a loon while I’m waiting for my plane. I can’t wait to get my copy!

  153. At least you got to fire the guy who emailed a picture of his penis. We had to wait for a second infraction. Seriously.

  154. Omigod–I’m sure this wasn’t the intended effect and I never thought I’d be saying these words but now I definitely want to get a job in HR. Sign me up under “entertaining train wrecks.”

  155. This is very funny. I am so happy that I pre-ordered your book.
    I can see now that this book will make you famous. You will be appearing on TV talk shows and featured at conventions. Eventually poor Victor will be unable to keep up with the your busy life and will be tossed aside. The newly single, rich and famous Jenny, after a torrid affair with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, will get married to Nathan Fillian in a huge televised wedding where Nathan will wear a tuxedo made of twine.
    Since I was a fan long before the book was released, can I please get an invitation to the wedding?

  156. I am literally crying I am laughing so hard. I can’t wait to get the book. Thank you, Jenny. Thank you. 🙂 (Side note on penises – I’m currently a nanny for two almost-two-year-old boys, and one of him is Obsessed with his penis. Every time we change his diaper he points and shouts “PENIS! PENIS!” and I have to reassure him “Yes, this is your penis. Yes.” otherwise he’ll keep screaming ‘penis’ until I acknowledge it. Ooh, boys. I guess they don’t really change.)

  157. Loved it. BUT as an editor I must point out the very same punctuation mistake made by your hand job guy was made by you in the first “asshole.” Would that be first-person asshole pluperfect?
    dd

  158. Wonderful, Jenny. I knew your book was going to be fantastic and now I know for sure. I am looking sooo forward to receiving it. Since I want to listen to the audio book too, I think I will give the hard cover to my daughter for her to read on her honeymoon. Nope, she’s got a Kindle. I’ll send her the ebook and give the hard cover to my cousin. Glad I worked that out.

  159. It’s kinda like being a math teacher and you get stuck saying, “Billy pulls a blue ball out of the bag” instead of “Billy pulls a blue GUMball out of the bag”. And you would be surprised how often the number 69 comes up in math.

  160. Oh my f’ing God!!! This is so freaking funny I almost peed my pants. Seriously. I don’t think I can wait a month for more. I’m going to call in sick on the 19th so I can stay home and laugh my ass off all day while reading your book. I hope my HR doesn’t see that…

  161. Wow this is one of my favorite of your posts of all time, so I really can’t wait to read your book now.

    You know I am totally going to look at my HR dept with a cock-eye now. I mean cocked-eyebrow. Cock.

  162. I worked in HR for many years and have always explained it thus: “HR is a like the Mafia or Porn – once you get in, it is really hard to get out.”

  163. My father spent his whole career in Human Resources, but mostly back when it was called Personnel. I am emailing him this excerpt.

  164. I clearly was not working the right position in HR, although I did see some fucked up resumes. And got asked if this was the cops when I called for a reference.

  165. My husband had a girl apply for a job and under the heading on the application:

    Question: What quality do you have that you believe makes you qualified for this job?
    Answer: I watch “Millionaire MAtchmaker”

    WTF??? She was applying to be a spare parts manager in a commercial warehouse

  166. I will never pretend this never happened. Because it’s awesome. Although that sounds like I’ll never “Pretend This Never Happened.” Which couldn’t be further from the truth. I will *always* “Pretend This Never Happened.” If you know what I mean. (Do you know what I mean?)

  167. Oh my goodness, Bloggess. I was reading this post to myself and chuckling, and my husband told me to go back and start from the beginning and read the whole thing to him. I was crying, running out of breath and had to stop several times to gather myself before forging ahead. That penis story is the funniest thing I think I have ever read in my life.

  168. This post killed, especially the last anecdote. Absolutely getting your book as soon as it’s out. You need to add “Is this your penis” merch. XD

  169. When I was around 11, I noticed my mother reading ‘Dave Barry’s Guide to Life’ by Dave Barry, and laughing herself sick. I asked her why, and she dodged the question, then she wouldn’t let me read the book. So, as all nosey children do, I waited until she wasn’t paying attention and read it all. I had NO idea why it was supposed to be funny. “You’ll understand it when you are older” is one of those phrases that simply irritates the young.

    I have a feeling, based on all I read here, that your book is going to be the book that makes my daughter wonder what Mommy thinks is SO freakin funny.
    Thank you!

  170. I’ve had your book pre-ordered since you first mentioned it but I’ve been going nuts with jealousy when Wil & Anne Wheaton were tweeting about reading it. I’ve still got my pre-order in but I decided I couldn’t wait another whole month so I went out onto the interwebs and found a copy of the ARC to buy. I’ll have your book in my grubby little hands tomorrow or Wednesday and I can’t wait!!!

  171. Eagerly looking forward to the arrival of the book AND the bookplate.

    And, dear Bloggess, in addition to being the funniest blogger in the whole, wide, intertubes, you have the best fans/commenters on the intertubes as well. We need “Like” buttons for the comments!

  172. And, just as a matter of curiosity, were all those junk pictures flying around at the religious-based organization? I do so love irony.

    Finally, if you do a book-signing tour (PLEASE!), you should definitely come to Memphis. I can personally guarantee a HUGE crowd. Plus, I will happily take you on a tour of Graceland, the only museum in the world with shag carpeting on the ceiling and a television set with a gunshot injury. Fer reals.

  173. I am pondering whether to email a link to this post to the HR director at the county where I am an elected official. Would she be offended? I don’t think so, but it would be really annoying to get sued…

  174. OK. I promise to stop for the night after this: were you ever tempted to say, “I thought the camera made things look bigger” ?

  175. I too am an escapee of HR. I only lasted 4 years, mostly in recruitment.
    One of the highlights for me was the woman who included a full page photo of herself at the end of her resume… not that usual I hear you say, until you see that she is clearly at a rave party, with a chuppa chup suggestively resting on her bottom lip and very, very likely E-ing off her tits!
    This is not the reason I left – I left when I met a woman who filled the new HR Director role (and was thus my boss and mentor) who was so consumed by her work that she was a shell, and I realised this is was a career in HR is… no thank-you.

  176. Woot, I finally saw the price for your book for european kindle customers – really wanted it, but $18.71 was a bit steep, now another publisher is releasing it at $9.04

    snags it before the price changes

  177. I have just forwarded this to the HR chick at work. I may or may not have a job tomorrow.

  178. The Bloggess posted to Wish Upon a Hero awhile back, so I admit that I am posting here for self-promotional reasons- but not for me. It’s for my family. Please click here to see why:

    http://www.wishuponahero.com/wishes/?id=1165207

    Than you.

    (I’m sorry, I looked for a place to ask Jenny about this, but couldn’t fint a pace to contact her other than for advertising)

  179. I have worked in HR for 14 years and you had me laughing! I will buy your book and nod yes the entire time. Thanks for sharing.

  180. “I’ve thought about that question for fifteen years and I still don’t have a good answer.”

    I very nearly spit Cherry Pepsi all over my keyboard reading this, and I’m glad to know that the book will be well worth the money.

  181. Thank you ever so much Divine Jen…….. I have coffee in my keyboard (via my nose). I was going to wait to order your book but after reading the ‘is this your penis?’ I immediately pre-ordered it ( after I wiped the tears of laughter from my face and cleaned up all the snot laced coffee that was plastering my keyboard).
    CANT wait to read more……. thanks for the sticky keys….. smooches caitie!!!!!

  182. This is awesome. I’m on my 7th year in HR. I can only hope to make 15. I’ve been spreading the word about you, your blog and your book for months now. Yesterday I sent a link to your blog to a few of my HR friends, (the ones who are not sadistic assholes). We all love it.

  183. I had to hire people once too! The best application ever read, under convicted felons,

    Are you a convicted Felon? Checked Yes
    If Yes, please explain? My bitch girlfriend pissed me off and I knocked her around to make her behave.

    Seriously folks he wrote that, on an application to a company with a FEMALE OWNER AND A FEMALE BOSS!!!

  184. The voice of Hamlet is exactly as I’d imagined: refined, somewhat aloof, yet mildly reminiscent of Vincent Price. I agree with TamaraPaints: Hurry up April!!!

  185. Dear Jenny, Think about how you would do your own book trailer. That trailer is alright. It’s maybe even good, but frankly it is no where near as funny and clever as you are. I don’t think it actually does your writing justice. It feels like someone who isn’t you, but does like your stuff, vaguely trying to describe it, and vaguely trying to parrot your style of humor, but sort of failing. It is not bad. It may even be very successful in its goal, but my suspicion is that anything you did yourself would do a better job of selling you to those who would actually be interested in your humor.

    I have another one coming out soon. You’ll probably like it better – Jenny the bloggess

  186. I wonder if I fooled the HR dept at the State as much as I thought I did. Yeah, probably. IT though? likely not. Well. it WAS the State, after all (and no I’m not saying which state) so I can’t say as anyone there was entirely qualified for their job.

  187. Just watching the trailer for the book is enough to convince me that I have to read this book. Bobcat urine? Can’t wait to read *that* story. LOL

  188. OMG! Reading this made me realize that pre-ordering your book was like the BEST DECISION EVER! I have pictures of me, sitting alone in my house, laughing until I cry all night long. I can’t wait!

  189. *wiping away the tears*

    I can NOT WAIT until my book gets here. In the frozen tundra of Canada. Which, at the moment, is not frozen.

    Or tundra, really.

  190. I’m a soical worker. At a hospital. I have to talk to people about penis-es (wait, what’s the plural of penis anyway?”) all the time. Glad to know if this doesn’t work out I could put that skill to use in HR.

  191. First time commenting but I had to tell you how friggen’ amazing and talented you are. I really can’t wait to read your book; I just know it’s going to make me laugh hysterically just like everything you write. You are my inspiration, Jenny Lawson. Keep being awesome.

  192. When I saw the YouTube vid posted on Facebook, I thought the book somehow magically came early! (It’s possible right? If you ate that sort of special salad and walked a lot?) Anyway, I pre-ordered the book. Now the waiting game begins…. *sigh*

  193. GIRL- you are #68 on the amazon list!!!!!
    Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68 in Books
    #1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > United States > Humor
    #8 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Humor
    #18 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
    AND IT HASN”T EVEN HIT THE SHELVES YET——- YOU ROCK!!!!!!
    cant wait to read it!!! SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!………smooches caitie!!!!

  194. Why do I want to read your book?

    Because you make me long for my college years, when my friend Kelly and I did randomass things like you describe all the time. Kelly no longer lives in town, and so I have to be a grownup now, as I have nobody but the Doberman to have randomass hijinks with. And they don’t let her into stores. I mean, I could lie and call her a Service Dog (even though it’s only kind of a lie), but then the randomass hijinks would give us away and we’d get kicked out and give Service Dogs AND Dobermans a bad name.

    And that’s Just. Not. Good.

  195. I have pre-ordered! I am jealous that some people (Wil Wheaton) got a copy early, but I guess you have to be even more amazing than me, and that is hard to do.

    I know why I wanted the book. I wanted to read the escapades of a woman that I am pretty sure is my long lost sister. I have taken my children to civil war graveyards and have the tombstone rubbing of veterans to prove it.

    I know without a doubt that if I were ever to meet the amazing and wonderful Bloggess I would feel a slight need to bow briefly before groveling at her feet for pennies of wisdom.

  196. I already pre-ordered.
    But! Giggle, giggle, snort. HA!
    Thanks.
    I laughed and it felt good.

  197. Watching Hamlet von Schnitzel doing a commercial for your book is probably the best thing that happened to me today. Will pre-order as soon as someone decides to put money in my bank account (come on… it’s bound to happen eventually).

  198. I can’t wait to starting reading this in my “special place” (aka the bathroom). Love the book trailer too! Is it April yet??

  199. Thanks for the preview! I had thought about pre-ordering, but now I. HAD. TO. You make me laugh so hard stuff comes out of my nose. Which is why I have a special board on my Pinterest site called “Things that make me laugh so hard stuff comes out of my nose,” and I have most of your pictures on there. Thank you, Bloggess, for making me laugh!! So hard. That stuff comes out of my… well, you know the rest. I love, love, LOVE that you are wife and mother, and although I am neither (thank God) I can TOTALLY relate to all that you blog about. Gah. I’m gushing now. I’ll quietly back away from the keyboard and pour another bourbon and allow others to praise your almighty hilarity. Until later…. (Not a stalker, I swear…)

  200. And here I thought I saw more penises on a daily basis, given that I work at a video store with an Adult Room. But I think you win, because I never had to ask anybody if those belonged to anybody.

  201. HAD to do an interpretive reading of today’s excerpt to my husband, just so I could enjoy the girlie giggling all the way through it. Thank you for making his day (and mine)!!! P.S. The trailer is brilliant.

  202. I haven’t worked in HR but I have helped HR with hiring, application, pre-interview testing, etc. I used to score the personality tests and some of the answers were interesting. I’m not sure why someone would come in and spend 3 hours taking tests to check yes to questions of, “Do you need marijuana to start your day?” and “I smoke marijuana on a daily basis.” This woman looked like a grandmother and was wearing a sweatshirt with kittens on it. I give her points for honesty.

  203. Actually, now that I thought about it more, I kind of was in HR when I worked at a small company where I did the payroll, benefits, AP, AR, and everything else. And yes, I did have to look at porn while checking the internet filters. Hello midnight shift, please do your work instead of spending 4 hours looking at porn. Save it for home.

  204. ALMOST throught with the book and I just have to say….you’re a genius Jenny. I haven’t laughed this hard reading a book in a LONG time!! Love it!!

  205. Can’t wait to get my copy! Congrats!

    I work in IT and we see some interesting stuff on people’s computers, too. Things that can never be UNseen. *shiver.

  206. I thank god every day that we don’t have HR at our company yet. We’re downright perverted. Though it might be ok to have you as our HR. I think you’d fit in nicely.

    ps. Hooked. Will buy book. Knowing you, it promises to be insanely funny shit.

  207. on 24 hour catwalk this week (the finale) this woman talked about how she liked to use taxidermy in fashion, and alleges to currently be working on stilettos that are made out of mice. naturally, i thought these would be perfect for you for a book premiere party. http://d-i-v-y-a.com/filter/wearable/About She doesn’t have them on her website, unfortunately, but they flashed up a picture on the show.

  208. I’ve had your book on my Amazon wishlist, with highest urgency and deeply sincere statements of NEED, for weeks. Now that I read this excerpt, I know two things: 1)When I read it, I could die of oxygen deprivation from laughing too hard. 2) It would totally be worth it! I know we’ve never met, but would you give the eulogy at my funeral?

  209. So, I’ve been reading your blog for a few years, and I’m probably unreasonably invested in you and your life and your success. And I have to say, after I watched the trailer for your book, I was OVERWHELMED WITH PRIDE. I’m pretty outlandishly proud of you in a mother sort of way, even though I’m 23 and have no chillins. And by “chillins,” I of course mean “vagina rats.” By which I mean children. P.S. I totally love Hailey and would never, ever call her a vagina rat, but if she was one, she would be the queen robot rat like in The Great Mouse Detective. Just sayin’.

  210. I don’t know your daughter, but I have a feeling that she will greatly appreciate being compared to the queen robot rat from Great Mouse Detective. That rodent had a kickass accent.

  211. the idea of vagina mugshots is horrifying. i don’t want to see mine in a lineup.

    it reminded me of a girl i worked with who pulled out her i-phone during after-work drinks and flashed all of us co-workers her vag tat. unless i’ve made a written request to see it, keep your beaver pics to yourself.

    it’s sad for men that, though they pray constantly to be sent a muff shot, no woman is out there going “i have the greatest cooter and people should see it.” whilst women are electronically assaulted with dingles. instead of “here is my penis,” the subject line should read, “go get a couple of girlfriends and prepare to laugh your effing ass off.”

  212. I never buy new books. Seriously, I am the ultimate cheapskate when it comes to books. When it comes to spending money on a new book, book, I am tighter than a bulls ass in fly season. But honestly, I am laughing so damned hard and have tears squirting out my eyes, that I realized purchasing this book is way cheaper than therapy, and probably a lot more helpful. So I ordered it.

  213. A book for intellectual misfits? Did I miss something, or are all your other blog readers way smarter than I am? I’m confused and now I need cake.

  214. I really want to send this to the lady who had to fire me (not for taking dirty photos I promise) but she does not have your sense of humor.

  215. This was one of the funniest things ever – having worked in HR for a few years now. Unfortunately I work at a place surrounded by women so the “Is this your penis” questions has yet to be used. Thanks for the laugh.

  216. Aaaaand this just made me go from the type of person that never wants to work in HR, to the type of person who wants to work in HR because I want to experience this in real life. Effing hilarious.

  217. The really sad part is that, (after working in HR more years than I care to admit) it takes so little to amuse and entertain us. So what’s the protocol here? Write a witty comment or just send in a penis picture? Our HR motto… we’re working hard to make your jobs harder.

  218. Oh me please! I ordered a copy of your book as a present to my friend but that leaves me bookless and crying under a desk!

  219. Can’t….breathe…..too…..funny…..
    Seriously? Penises (or would it be peni?) showing up in work emails. LMAO.

  220. Made me laugh enormously, thank you! I’ve had to look at quite a bit of porn at work, all in the name of employee relations, of course…

    I am now wondering how many of us lurkers on here are actually once or still HR people – I’m outing myself, obviously! I am really looking forward to your book coming out in the UK – does anyone know when that will be?

    J. x

  221. Love. It. Definitely forwarded to my friends in HR. AND finally pre-ordered the book, because I kept forgetting earlier… is it too late for a bookplate?

  222. I’m probably going to get in trouble for reading this and laughing so hard I nearly choked while at work but, I *can’t wait* for your book to come out and this just confirmed it. So funny.

    I’m also now wondering if I should have reported a coworker at a former job who emailed me a picture of his junk (ostensibly as a joke). I just gave an “ew gross” and double deleted it. hmm.

  223. So before this post, I’ll be honest with you, I was like “yeah whatevs I read the blog I don’t need to buy this book it’s cool”. But then penises happened. Boom, pre-ordered.

    I’m not sure what I just learned about myself.

  224. We would love for you to come to St Louis! Love your stories. Can’t wait for the book!

  225. I work in HR *and* IT, two departments that are guaranteed to make you doubt the sanity and self-preservation skills of the everyone above your pay grade. THANK YOU FOR VALIDATING MY EXISTENCE.

    Not that I was on the fence to begin with, but this is now an insta-buy.

  226. So… I’m a minor who very much enjoys your blog. I just read the entire excerpt from your book to my parents, OUT LOUD. I never thought I’d do that, since they’re quite conservative, but it turned out as such a great bonding moment 🙂 Thanks, Jenny, for making that possible!

  227. OMG, so very hilarious. I had no idea about the penises. I guess being a lesbian and never having worked in corporate culture or HR, I just don’t expect to deal with penises much.

    I do disagree about vulvas not having a lot of personality. I could definitely pick mine and many ex’s out of a lineup (but yes, again, there would be no need because they have not committed any vulva-related crimes).

    I’m so glad I don’t have to understand why on earth someone would want to email or photocopy their penis at work. I can just listen to your book (I’ll get the audio version) and laugh and laugh and laugh at your retelling.

  228. My husband is in HR and says that he has seen pictures of vaginas and “some of them do have personalityies”…. Just an FYI

  229. Firstly, Give me a book. For a number of reasons, but the most important being that I’m broke and my husband has told me I’m not allowed to purchase reading material for the foreseeable future. Of course, that brought about a huge ‘discussion’ about the use of the kegarator and other expensive objects that men like to buy, use once, then sit in a corner collecting dust (which I then have to clean :/.)
    Secondly, I’m appalled that you think vaginas aren’t distinguishable! Barring a good (or bad) porno and that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes (and as my favorite pair of underwear states): Not all Vaginas are created Equal! Big lips vs floppy lips, hair patterning, clit size and other delightful characteristics can distinguish one vulva for the next. If you need one, I can create a picture poster much like those in the doctor’s office which asks us how we are feeling today. Let me know.

  230. Hahaha! SO HARD TO WAIT FOR THIS BOOOOOOK!

    I work for HR right now, while I am going to school. Because it pays enough to let me go to school. Cannot wait to GTFO. In the meantime, we totally have a file called “HR FUNNIES.” I think some of our best material is from resignation letters. I particularly enjoy one that was written on a grocery list. Something like…

    “Date
    apples
    fruit I am putting in my two week notice.
    chicken
    beef
    bologna
    steak

    Employee Signature

    nail clippers
    band aids”

    Lets break it down…. We have the fruity, nutritional substance with the thesis statement at the top, followed by the meat filler, with a little conciliatory, reparative post script at the bottom. BEAUTIFUL.

    Also, more recently, the woman who wanted to let us know that “at this time she is choosing to resignate.” RESIGNATE. I LOVE THIS AND THINK IT SHOULD BE ADDED TO REAL LIFE. … I mean, it was a good guess: design, designate, designation; resign, resignate, resignation… right??

  231. This had me laughing out loud! I am an HR professional in Corporate America – nothing jades you like over 10 years of dealing with crazy people and broken processes! I had a professor in school who said “don’t go into HR if you like people. If you like people, go into the clergy.” Truer words have never been spoken.
    I’m excited about your book! Congrats!

  232. This is the crappy thing about HR – got to write shit down and keep it for years and years and years before it can even be mildly referenced to… When people say “if only these walls could talk”, in an organisation they really should say “if only HR could talk”, but now we can just pass them this book 🙂

  233. Yesterday a guy came in to apply for some positions. He stood at my counter and flipped through the notebook holding various applications, postings and porn magazines. On the way out, he asked if I’d like any reading material. He won’t likely be getting a job here.

  234. I work in HR consulting in my day job and I am completely cracking up. As in, i have tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard. HR is a special place. Excellently written.

  235. I just giggled my way out of a cranky~ass mood at work reading that, thank you so much…I’m pretty sure without it I would have been talking to my own HR department today…oh wait, haha, we never bothered to create one which means that I can do whatever I’d like and never ever have to answer the question ‘Is this your vagina?’

  236. My God, Hamlet’s ‘accent’ is horrific. Seriously. The mouse needs to actually GO to England and listen to how they speak.

  237. My workplace is some sort of parallel hell dimension — I had to inform one of my technicians that the concrete in the shop out back is where he should have used a heat gun to dry his socks…not the carpet beside my desk. Now there is an outline where it looks like a ferret decayed that I have to explain to nearly every customer that walks in the door. (Nevermind the part about how I don’t feel like I should have to answer any questions about the conditions of my office, although I suppose people hold me responsible because they think I chose to work here) So the point of this rambling is….I loved the excerpt from your book, and I love your blog! My dear friend and coworker got me hooked on your posts, and they are what we turn to when our days look darkest. Congratulations on the book release. I can’t wait to read the whole thing!

  238. I didn’t even finish reading this post before I decided to comment that although I was going to purchase your book anyway, I can hardly type fast enough to go whip out my nook and order it. Yes, I said whip out my nook.

  239. This just doubled my excitement about reading your book. Also, SERIOUSLY?! Why are there so many dudes taking pictures of their penises and emailing them at work? Have we not covered sexual harassment enough yet? There are still people who don’t get that that’s reallllllly inappropriate?

  240. people from West Texas are so weird!
    weird enough that they can read Jenny’s blog for six months, consider ordering her book, a guaranteed gut-buster, but not do so until watching Hamlet von Schnitzel (in the book trailer Penguin made(?) Jenny make) and realize Jenny Lawson is from WEST Texas. Texas, yes i knew that, but WEST Texas!
    Yup, i am from West Texas and yup i just ordered the book.

  241. OMG – that is EXACTLY how I imagined Hamlet Von Schnitzel’s voice would sound – snobby British Aristocracy- Penguin got it spot on!!!

  242. I love you. I really want a copy ! please pick me, I’m not good at robbing banks or paying bills.

  243. I haven’t seen any penis pictures here in my HR job. Most of the penises I see have two legs and wear ties. Don’t like the vagina picture idea much, but would like to encourage more breast photos … I envision a whole new criteria for selecting employees of the month. Who’s going to argue with the selection(s)? And those not selcted could always submit next month … look forward to seeing you.

  244. I shared this link with so many people. My favorite part is when the guy has to make it clear which penis is his. PRICELESS!

  245. Yes, but did she ever have to ask a man about masturbating in the parking lot stairs? He confessed. AKWARD!

  246. I never worked in HR but had to hire a number of people during my career. My favorite unproofed resume claim was from a gal who wanted to work in “pubic relations.” I did not ask her in to interview for the communications position.

  247. Grats…what an accomplishment!! I’m so hoping one of your unannounced tour dates is here in Portland, OR…you have many fans here…come give us some lovin’ (in a non-creepy way)!

  248. Wonderful stuff! Although, that excerpt leaves me wondering why none of my applications for HR jobs led to an interview.

    I’m also wondering if you ever show Victor that photo of Beyonce and ask him, “Is this your cock?”.

    No, that would just be weird, wouldn’t it? Forget I mentioned it.

  249. I was laughing out loud while reading your excerpt and my husband asked what was so funny. I read the excerpt to him and we were both rendered into giggling puddles of tears. I am now headed to Amazon to place my preorder with blessings from my husband who rarely reads…

  250. The excerpts are hilarious, but am not clear about the “mostly true” part. Is the book partly fiction, or are all the stories true?

    (It’s 90% true. Some of the details were changed to keep me from being sued or to protect people who may or may not have sold me illegal substances. ~ Jenny)

  251. I should know better than to read your posts while drinking my morning coffee! I can’t wait to read the whole book!

  252. After reading about your stay in HR, your ‘you-ness’ makes a lot more sense to me now. 😀

  253. Holy shitsticks. This is the funniest thing ever. I remember stories of when I worked retail and boy were some of them good. I’m glad I kept a journal of those too. Maybe one day…

    I can’t wait to read the rest of that chapter!

  254. Great excerpt! I am definitely going to have to read your book when it comes out – I am sure that it will be very entertaining. You should share some of your HR horror stories at mycrappyresume.com – it’s the perfect place to share these (mis)adventures. Thanks for sharing, Jenny & I look forward to your book release! 🙂

  255. I just about peed my pants reading about the imagined vagina lineup. I think that would come under the heading of “Shit My Vagina Did When I Wasn’t Here.”

  256. I sent this to my sister who runs HR for Deloitte in NY. She laughed so hard – she couldn’t breathe. She said it was “scary accurate.” Great blog!! Really enjoying it. If you get a chance – check out mine as well – http://www.genxdaddy.com. Thanks!

  257. I almost ended up calling 911 because I was laughing so hard I was gasping for air!!! Thank you for letting everyone know that the HR people at work are NOT making this shit up when they tell their stories. This is too outlandish to be made up. My favorite from my career in HR (so far) ended with “and the two hookers told the cops where he was and when they entered his motel room, they found the money he stole from the hookers, a bag of drugs and a gun”! I can not make this up!!!

  258. I’m glad that there are people who share “real” HR stories. I learned the limited power of the HR department when a CFO was cursing out various staff members to the point that they were crying, but HR couldn’t do anything because the top HR person also reported through that CFO and the CFO made too much money for the company for them to jeopordize that by making a big deal about the various complaints. In my experience, they basically have a hand in the hiring and firing and they are often there to make it appear that someone cares about the employees, but don’t get it confused and think that a low level employee and a manager have the same response when they approach HR. A low level employee brings up an issue and there is an “investigation.” A manager brings up an issue and the person can be fired that same day. Before you even get to give your side, the paperwork is already done–no questions asked.

    It’s important to remember that the people in HR are just that–people. They make connections with other people in the organization just like you do, except their connections will be more managerial because those are the people they will deal with more often. When you have an issue, it may be your first time meeting the HR people, but your manager/supervisor may have weekly meetings with them. Your manager worked with the HR people to get you hired. Your manager worked with the HR people for your performance evaluation process. Your manager may even do stuff with the HR staff outside of work. Don’t ever think all things are equal. I’m just saying. LOL.

  259. Sooo, I was at our annual company meeting this week and I ran across our HR director, who’s a woman. I told her about I I had seen this book and I thought she’d really enjoy it. But then I ran into the issue of forwarding the link to her, a link to a page filled with the word penis.

    I told her that my desire to do good was outweighed by my fear being fired because of forwarding a link filled with talk about photos and penises.

  260. omg…I have been thinking about writing an HR comedy for years…this is awesome! You are encouraging me to write my book also – thanks! It is in a different industry, that is very interesting. Could you contact me? Thanks!

  261. I love Jenny and her work to bits, but– I could have done SUCH a better voice-over for the trailer! How does one market one’s fake-British rodent voice to prominent publishers??

  262. Okay, so I’ve *never* heard of you before :)) and have just come across a link on Google+ and…I think I’ll be buying your book.

    I didn’t work in HR but worked for the State in internal complaints management. I can affirm that even if you say it’s a ‘mostly true’ work…it sounds pretty much true to me 😉

    Congrats on the book.

  263. I knew I wanted to buy your book anyway, since I love you and your blog, but after reading this excerpt on HR, now I have to buy multiple copies for my fellow HR colleagues… that’s right, I too, work in HR (for 10 years now). One of my favorite resume faux pas was a guy applying for a job in a warehouse, stocking shelves… he indicated he had previous experience as a “night stalker.” We took a pass on that one…

  264. those stories are HILARIOUS! I laughed so hard I woke my sleeping children. Good luck with the book. I wonder if SHRM will put it in their bookstore? LOL

  265. As a 17 year old looking for a job… HELLO, HR, ARE YOU HIRING~?
    I’d love a job that gave me a good laugh. God, this sounds perfect. 😀

  266. Sometimes I think we are living parallel lives. I too have had to ask the “Is this your penis?” question. Along with the “And is your personal email address ‘chocolatehorse@[deletia].com’?” and “Explain to me again why you thought it would be OK to have oral sex in the conference room and why this shouldn’t ‘count’ because it’s not ‘real sex’.” I have also been flashed by the employee who wanted me to see the spider bite on her inner, upper thigh and send her home with pay so she could see a doctor. Thanks for making my life seem normal… ish… 🙂

    http://www.ifihadablogitwouldlooklikethis.com/2012/07/19/employees-say-the-darndest-things/