Many people have knack for getting into trouble in the workplace. I am one of them. Most of my trouble stems from uttering something that ought to have been left unuttered. Whether I utter something to emphasize a point that I find important, or whether I say it for comic effect, there is always someone around to take offence. Sometimes, it turns out, they should take offence. It gives me a chance to practice weaseling out of it.

Sometimes my workplace is a stage in a gym where I lead fitness classes. In fact, my inspiration for this piece came from the 9:00 AM Circus Training  class I lead at West Point Grey Community Centre in Vancouver. The class is in the weight room where participants are determined to get fitter in spite of me.

Today’s topic  was how I managed to get a complaint from the staff at one of those glittery private gyms that  at the time had one of those mirrored disco balls spinning on a spindle that reflected those little beams of light all over the stage. I was just finishing  the class by leading participants through a series of stretches, including one that had everyone pressing their chests to the floor while having both legs forming a 180 degree angle to their trunks.

“Make sure you do this stretch slowly,” I chanted into the microphone. “Just relax into the stretch. Stretch slowly. Always do them s-l-o-w-l-y. I do everything s-l-o-w-l-y.”

Suddenly I sensed the opportunity to drop one of my bombs. I pitched my voice up half an octave to break the chance and said, ”Except for one thing.”

My class laughed this morning, but there were a few in the glitter gym that didn’t see the humour at all, and I found myself in front of the coordinator explaining that I thought the joke was pretty good. “Self-deprecation is the second simplest form of humour.” I said.

“What is the simplest form?” she asked.

“Repetition,” I said

“Go with the repetition,”  she said.

Notice what happened. I saw an opportunity , took it, and accepted responsibility for it. That was the end of it until I brought it up again this morning. If a complaint should arise out of that, I will explain to the coordinator that part of the class involve not only fitness theory, but also history of fitness, and stories about fitness personalities since the 1950s – of which I continue to be an active member.

I’ll bet Chip Wilson could use a crash course in weaseling out of trouble. A few short months ago the Chipper – one time owner of Lululemon Athletica , got into trouble for explaining the pilling  and eroding of the material.

He said that his apparel doesn’t work for some of his customers. He insulted his customer base. Then he gave an apology:


His apology, however, was to his employees, not the customers. There was one good part. He said he was sorry for ‘Chipping’ away all the success they garnered over the year.

What he could have done was made an apology, then fund a video of be putting duct tape on the threadbare portions of my spandex fitness shorts. That way he could have used humor to weasel out of his customers’ ire and not having his board of directors take the company from him.

Let me know when you buy the company back, Chip. We’ll talk about a retainer. I’ll call my company Weaseling Out 101.

  Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .

He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: