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How not to be an office Karen

Do you love speaking to the manager? Here’s how not to be the Karen of the office

Have you ever been stuck in a queue, held up by an angry person demanding to speak to a manager because of something that probably could have been settled there and then? Maybe a joke didn’t go down too well with them, or they gave off a strong air of self-entitlement? Well, if so, you have more than likely come across a Karen.

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And Karen is not just a term for the middle-aged mean girl, your male boss may be the biggest Karen of them all. Whichever it is, we’ve all had an eye-rolling experience with a Karen at some point. So here are a few pointers on how not to be the Karen of your office—and who knows, you might actually have a good Secret Santa gift in your future!

1. Just stop with the passive-aggressive emails

No one wants to open their emails on a Monday morning to find a snobby, passive-aggressive email from Karen. “As per my last email” can read a lot like “as I said, you idiot.”

Karen often changes the way they end emails depending on the subject or how frustrated they are. ‘Kind regards’ will become just ‘regards’ when someone’s reached the bad side of a Karen. If this sounds like you, it’s best to just create an email signature that’s professionally friendly, and just stick to that.

2. Don’t take charge of everything

The Karen is always the one taking charge, so step back every once in a while to let others have a go. Maybe it always has to be you organising things like work socials, where people go, and office decorations. We understand, you want everything to be just perfect—but you may be the one getting extra stressed and taking it out on other staff members.

Sit back, relax and get on with your day’s work from the comfort of your own desk. Whenever there’s a work outing, are you always complaining and causing a scene? If there’s a problem and other colleagues think so too, let someone else take the lead for once.

3. Chill

One of the surest ways to be typecast as a Karen is to go from 0 to 100 on the angry scale in no time, especially in situations where it really shouldn’t warrant it. The Karen is programmed to go into a rant mode and start demanding things, yelling out their rights, being needlessly pedantic or being intentionally difficult.

Regardless of who is in the wrong, try to remain calm and level-headed. Use a quiet area or comfy sofa in the office if you can to help destress. The rest of the office will appreciate it.

4. Have a laugh

Sounds simple, but the Karens of the world are named so to fit the modern-day definition of a person who is very serious, often angry and very entitled. It’s important to remember that everyone has a job to do and mistakes can happen; everyone is not always out to get you or do you wrong. This also applies to office banter and jokes. Try not to get too offended when colleagues are bantering, especially when you understand the joke. Play along, relax and if you personally know an office Karen, try to have a laugh with them!

What’s your office alter ego, we wonder? Are you the office Karen, the Jobsworth Jane or the Banter Barry? Take this mini quiz to find out!

It’s all memes and games until we actually storm Area 51

Some memes go viral, and the storming of Area 51 meme is no exception. If you’ve missed the memo while scrolling down your social media feeds, there is currently an event on Facebook trending, inviting people to join together and storm Area 51 collectively. So far, over 1.6 million users have clicked ‘attending’ with 1.2. million ‘interested’—and the number only keeps growing.

‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us’ is the name of the event that has now turned into an internet joke, with thousands of memes circulating everywhere. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens”, says the description of the event. So what is the plan? To meet up at 3 am on 20 September 2019 and jointly storm the heavily patrolled Area 51 (an open training range belonging to the U.S. Air Force), of course. The joke is that, we, as internet users and meme enthusiasts, can barge in on the government and uncover their secrets, all in the name of humour.

Firstly, why is Area 51 so protected? It is a facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range, a detachment of the Edwards Air Force Base (officially going by the name of Homey Airport and Groom Lake). Like many military facilities across the globe, its primary use is hidden from the public. Some conspiracy theorists believe that the U.S. government is hiding information on UFOs and that Area 51 is the biggest base holding captured aliens. 

These theories began circulating when a man named Bob Lazar claimed he worked at Area 51’s ‘Sector Four’, while he was apparently contracted to work on alien spacecrafts. There is no verification to his claims, nor is there proof of his academic qualifications that would enable him to acquire this position in the first place, yet Lazar maintains that all such evidence was erased by the government. He has since appeared in interviews, Joe Rogan’s podcast, and even had a Netflix documentary filmed about him. Popular culture played a role in creating the associations between the military base and aliens, but there is no physical proof of this. It is unlikely that the research base holds any aliens captive, so raiding the premises to “see them aliens” would, quite frankly, be a waste of time.

But why are we taking this joke so far? The answer is simple—because of how meme culture works. Memes have become such a common part of our internet experience that we began incorporating them into our daily lives. Millennials and Gen Zs began forming tight-knit online communities of different demographics, with forums largely consisting of memes. They allow one to connect to others, gain a sense of belonging, and stay relevant within the digital realm. 

Therefore, memes and internet phenomenons have a tendency to blow out of proportion and merge with reality. We’ve seen the bottle cap challenge go viral in recent weeks, criticized for being unsustainable and promoting pollution, the Kylie Jenner lip challenge a few years back, and one that deserves honorary mention—the Tide Pod challenge.

Remember the start of 2018? What began as a meme gone viral soon turned into an online challenge where people would film themselves eating tide pods, daring others to do the same—with some, even cooking elaborate meals using tide pods prior to consumption. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported 37 cases of pod digestion among teens, with half of them intentional. Tide had to urge people to stop eating them, and Facebook and YouTube began deleting videos of people consuming these. Eventually, supermarkets and corner shops began locking up tide pods and other laundry detergent products. 

Why would a human consciously choose to eat a tide pod, you may ask—no one can say for sure, but what is clear is that meme culture has really gotten out of hand. So, are we actually going to storm Area 51? History does tend to repeat itself, and so there is no doubt that at least a small group of people might show up. With many hotels, campsites, and Airbnbs around the area fully booked out for these dates, it seems that some people are taking this joke more seriously than others.

Here is the thing, then. I don’t want to sound like a killjoy, but raiding Area 51 is a bad idea. The U.S. government does not find it funny, with a spokesperson telling the Washington Post the Air Force is “ready to protect America and its assets”. With ‘no trespassing’ signs all around the base warning that “failure to do so can result in the use of deadly force”, the message should be clear to anyone attempting to get in. The title of the event might state “They Can’t Stop All of Us”, well, they very much can.

Even CNN is currently trying to stop people from raiding Area 51 with a collection of memes, which is obviously an effective form of communication. After all, memes are what got us talking about this matter in the first place. Facebook user Jackson Barnes, who jokingly created the initial ‘game plan’ on how to storm Area 51 had to go as far as to write, “Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan”, not wanting to take any responsibility for those who plan to go ahead with this idea.

It is evident that the joke is getting a little out of hand. It might die out in a few weeks like most internet phenomenons, or it might keep snowballing—and if it does, then it is uncertain what will happen or who actually has the power to put an end to all this. Until then, ‘Storm Are 51’ merch is available for sale, as a joke or not. That’s the internet for you.