Recently a friend at another company told me about a wonderful example of advanced memo-manship.
Her department had been plagued for weeks by assorted equipment failures. In each instance a request for repairs had gone to the person responsible for maintenance, with no results. Finally, after the output of her own typewriter had become virtually invisible . . . and no help was forthcoming . . . she proceeded to get almost instant action on her whole department's accumulated problems.
What she did was to write a memo about the situation to the man in charge of repairs -- on her defective typewriter. Then she appended an explanation, typed on someone else's machine. This note started out, "The attached memo was done on the typewriter I am supposed to be using. It says . . . "
She went on to detail her department's history of equipment woes. And she sent copies of both the illegible memo and its attachment to some higher-ups.
Personally, I find this story inspiring even beyond the realm of memos.
Good salesmen and advertising people know the impact of demonstration. But we have generally ignored their wisdom when it comes to remedying the petty aggravations of life in the office.
Consider some of the possibilities.
The very same technique could be used with a computer system's defective printer, or an adding machine that has gone haywire. And you could send a bad copy, instead of the original, if you write to the service rep for your copying machine. ou could dramatize your frustration with the slowness of the interoffice mail by sending a note to the person in charge -- by interoffice mail, of course. Include the date and time of day that it is mailed, and ask for an immediate response by phone. And if the mail is as slow as usual, you'll have a chance to send a follow-up a day or so later before you get called.
You could use a variation of the above for dealing with a bad messenger service.
If your office is extremely hot or cold and nothing has been done about it, you could find a pretext to hold a meeting there with whoever is responsible for such matter. Drag out your get-together as long as possible . . . let him or her sweat it out, or shiver . . . and then hark back to this problem.
You could use your worst, most indecipherable handwriting for a complaint about your department's shortage of typists.
You could take the appropriate person a bowl of soup and a fork when the cafeteria runs out of spoons again . . . or the cup of warm water you got when you pushed the "black" button on the coffee machine.
If George, the maintenance supervisor, keeps reneging on his promises to have your grungy hallway repainted, you could try putting an inscription on it:
"This wall will be repainted within a week. -- "Goege Doe, 11/22/82 (for the 4th time)"
Just how public you should go in demonstrating your gripes is a matter for your own discretion. But even just one-on-one, a cold hamburger is worth 10,000 words.