Office: Impossible — Navigating Impossible Situations at Work

Impossible Situations at Work

Your job may not require you to wear disguises or eradicate international rogue forces, but from time to time, you face situations so seemingly impossible that even Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt would need to call in reinforcements. 

Impossible situations crop up all the time in the workplace. But how would Mr. Impossible himself, Ethan Hunt, handle matters if he were an office professional instead of a secret agent? Yes, all of these examples are over-the-top (like Mr. Hunt), but read on. There are some nuggets of reality at the end. 

Assignment #1 

It's 4 p.m. on the day before a long weekend, and Hunt has just been tasked with filing an important report by Monday. But he has already agreed to spend the weekend at the beach with some old friends. His mission, which he decides to accept, is to get that report filed without completely bailing on them.

Hunt packs his laptop in a nondescript black bag and stashes it in a dark recess of his car so no one suspects he’ll be on a working vacation. While on the beach with his friends, he makes an excuse to go back to the hotel, saying he forgot to take an important medication. From there, he goes to the airport and hires a small plane and a pilot to do acrobatics over the water, a tactic sure to capture the attention of anyone on the beach. With his friends distracted, he’s up in the hotel finishing the report. 

Assignment #2 

His boss insists that he play golf with some important clients, even though the game is scheduled on the same day as his mother-in-law's 70th birthday, and he promised to prepare dinner for the family. His seemingly impossible situation is to chat up clients on the links while still feeding his whole clan back at home.

Hunt hires a professional golfer and creates a latex mask so the golfer looks exactly like Ethan himself. He then coaches the golfer on how to adopt his voice and also on all business matters that might come up during the tournament. While the golfer/actor is wooing clients, Hunt is back home preparing pulled pork, braised short ribs and homemade chicken for his mother-in-law and the rest of the family. Meanwhile, the golf game concludes with no one the wiser.    

Assignment #3 

Hunt has an 8 a.m. job interview at a very formal office, but he needs to be at his current job by 9 a.m., and it's casual Friday. His mission, which he accepted the moment he agreed to the 8 a.m. interview, is to dress to impress his prospective employer without tipping off his current boss as to how he started the day.

His first step in prepping is to choose his interview attire. Using Superman as inspiration, Hunt plans for an outfit change that can be done in a bathroom stall (good luck finding a telephone booth these days). He opts for a simple dark suit, layers a plain white T-shirt under his button-down shirt and stashes a pair of casual shoes inside his laptop bag. On his way to the office, he slips into a restaurant bathroom to deformalize his look. Hunt arrives at his job with a minute to spare, and his boss never suspects a thing.  

Each of these scenarios is pretty farfetched, and we’re certainly not offering them as advice, but there are still some lessons to be learned when it comes to navigating real-life “impossible situations.” Your time management and problem-solving skills, for example, are invaluable in helping you exceed expectations and impress your superiors. Management and coworkers alike appreciate can-do workplace attitudes that rely on creative thinking and innovation instead of simply assessing challenging situations as “impossible.” 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to realize that even though a course of action may not always be obvious at first glance, a solution is possible in every situation. Good luck.

What impossible situations have you handled in the office? Share in the comments section.

Tags: Creativity, Humor