Column: How to bring your “A” game to the office


Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt

Going on a coffee run for your co-workers sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Not only do you seem considerate of their caffeine needs, but you also offer to pay (usually), which makes you seem generous. You’re the hero of the office! But then you have to take down all their complicated orders, take the drinks away in one of those multi-cup holder things without spilling them all over your car (or your shirt), and then bring the correct drinks to everyone. Seems like a hassle, doesn’t it? The next time you have this idea, just hand out five-dollar bills instead.

Here’s a free invention idea for you (as long as you name it after me): Someone needs to invent a cup carrier that has built-in slots for seat belts. That way, you’d be able to secure your scalding cargo without ruining your interior. I call it, “The Honeycutt Hot Holder Holster.” I can almost see it on shelves in the “beyond” section at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Everyone wants to be the office hero, but not everyone knows the right time to use “bring” or “take.” The problem is, both words have similar meanings. Both words are verbs that involve carrying something, whether literally or figuratively. “Bring” means to carry something along with you while “take” means to carry something away with you.

For example, when the barista finishes making everyone’s espresso drinks (quick tip: it’s “espresso,” not “expresso”), you take the drinks from her. Similarly, you would bring the drinks to your co-workers. However, if I, as your boss, asked you to deliver coffee to the accounting department down the hall, I would say, “Please take this bucket of coffee to the accounting team.”

It all comes down to the difference between “toward” and “away.” When the object is coming toward the person speaking, use “bring.” When the object is coming away from the person speaking, use “take.” “Bring” indicates movement toward the writer/speaker, while “take” indicates movement away from the writer/speaker.

Take this advice to heart. Soon enough, your office mates will be bringing you piles of compliments on your journey up the corporate ladder.