office

Tuesday Tale: Move

Gareth was an office worker, nothing fancy not the work of his dreams, but it paid the bills. Gareth’s office was slap bang in the centre of the city, in a unassuming office block most of which, if the sign out the front was to be believed, was available “To Let at reasonable rates” Ten years ago Gareth wondered what reasonable rates were, but the mists of time and the fact that he generally only had £3.03 in his bank account after his rent was paid, dulled his curiosity.

The office was usually quiet on a Thursday. With the homeworkers wangling Thursday and Friday as their “WAH” days. Gareth enjoyed the peace, it enabled him to get on uninhibited by office wit and tales of Justines boyfriend. Including Gareth there were five people on Floor 4.Thursday morning passed in the blink of an eye, even the teleconference, which usually was a nightmare, completed without a hitch.

Gareth went for lunch at Jean-Claudes not because he liked the food, it was overdressed and dry at the same time, go figure. But because he quite liked to look at Paula, pale, Polish and as curvy as a coke bottle. Maybe one day he would talk to her about something other than his BLT.

Full of regret, bacon, lettuce and tomato Gareth returned to his desk to find a pink neon Post-it note with “MOVE” written on it in block capitals resting precariously on his keyboard. Gareth sat down on his wheeled chair and examined the note further.

MOVE

“Dave.” Gareth shouted in the general direction of a bespectacled man at the opposite end of the office. “Did you see anyone near my desk at lunch?”
“There was a man, no-one I recognise though. Didn’t stick around for long” Dave hollered back.
“Cheers mate, did you…”
Dave held up his phone in the air. Dave was on a call.

MOVE

Gareth pondered for a few seconds before his phone sprang to life. He answered it expecting whoever was on the other end to give him answers to what the MOVE note was all about, just like in the movies. But no it was Michelle about the case notes he was preparing. She had amendments, lots of amendments so Gareth was to be sat at his desk all afternoon.

By 5pm Dave had waved farewell and the office was empty. Gareth had forgotten about the note. The case he was working on was high profile and complex, Gareth couldn’t remember how long it had been since he had work that really mattered. If he delivered this report, it would help Michelle put this guy away for a long time. Robbery, Battery, Bombings, GBH the list was long. All the prosecutors evidence was finally tied up. Gareth crossed the metaphorical t’s and dotted those hypothetical i’s on this one

By 7pm Gareth had completed his days work. He flipped the switch to turn off his computer, exhaling he swept his hand over his desk knocking his pen to the floor.
“Bugger.” he said aloud to no-one in particular.
He wearily rose from his chair and bent down towards to the floor to retrieve the escaping biro. It was then he noticed the second note.

“DON’T” it said.

It was then he heard the ticking of the bomb.

Buerostuhl fcm

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Friday Fiction: The Lift

“17th floor please.”
“Oh, in to the frying pan eh”
“Well I told them, I said there is no way that was going to work.”
“You got nothing to worry about then have you… Why does this lift take so long?”
“Maybe the hamster died!”
“Hamster?”
“Yeah the one in the wheel that powers all three lifts!”
“Finally! Movement, if you can call it that. When is your meeting? Do you have time?”
“I have about 10 minutes”
“Should just about make it then. You know he won’t let you in if you are late don’t you?”
“I heard that but I thought it was just a rumour”

Fifth Floor, doors closing lift going up

“Morning…”

Seventh Floor, doors opening.
Doors closing, going up.

“God I hate him.”
“Watkinson, yeah. I saw you gazing at the floor”
“The guy is a idiot. Part of the reason it all failed, but will he get any flack?”
“No course not, he’ll get promoted.”
“I’d laugh but it’s all too true. Lets hope no-one gets in from nine!”
“Here he goes again with the totally unjustified hatred of the workers of floor nine”
“Unjustified it’s not unjustified.”
“Steve, if you choose to have sexual intercourse, no less, next to the photocopier and then get caught it’s hardly their fault.”
“Hmm. They got me suspended for…”
“9 months.. Yes I know, you’ve told me. At least once, maybe six hundred times”
“Yeah well it’s not like she was worth it.”
“You are only bitter cos you got toner dust on your bum”
“That stuff doesn’t come off… My wife noticed.”
“What did she say when you got suspended?”
“She didn’t stick around. All because of those bastards on nine.”
“Yes OK Steve. Whatever you say.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake.”
“I don’t like the sound of that.”
“Loud wasn’t it? These lifts are clunky but that was something else.”
“Now the lights.”
“Hang on I’ve got my lighter in here somewhere.”
“I thought you’d given up.”
“Anyone would think you wanted to stay in the dark. Here we go”
“Should I press the alarm button?”
“Now would be the very best time I would think.”
“Did you hear anything?”
“Nope. Try again.”
“Still nothing. For fucks sake”
“Don’t worry I’m sure someone will be along in a minute, Watkinson knows we are in here”
“Oh yes!…. Do you have any signal on your phone?”
“No.. I don’t think so..let me check.. Oh fuck that’s hot.”
“Oh well done Steve. The end with the flame is hot! Good luck finding it in the dark down there.”
“Move over I think you are stood on it.”
“I move, it creaks.”
“It’s only creaking, besides it’s not like you weigh anything”
“Ok but I’m scared.”
“I’m sure it will be fine, better when it’s not pitch black eh Suze”
“Ok ok, You found it?”
“Yep got it.”
“That’s better”
“Suze?”
“Yes Steve”
“Are you holding my hand?”
“I’m scared, I hate these lifts. I’m sorry I’ll let go if you like”
“No it’s ok. I kinda like it.”
“Good as long as it’s not weirding you out”
“No not at all….”
“…. Steve…”
“Yeah”
“I have often thought what it would have been like if it were me by the photocopier. With you I mean.”
“Wha… Wait it’s the doors, they’re opening.”

Ponderosa elevator


The beautiful Captivating Kitten has given me a lift this week by participating in #FridayFiction here with another dialogue only story which encouraged me to write this one. My earlier dialogue drama is here if you liked this one. The Resident Weeble has something good in the offing, but it’s not ready yet.

Poem: Canary

Every year the chillers break,
Every year us workers bake,
Yes it is a sweaty mess,
On the corporate ladder to success,
It’s hard to have blue sky thoughts,
When you are sitting in your boxer shorts,
Sweaty arms, sweaty back,
Sweaty balls, sweaty crack,
Windows you can’t open or close,
Farts from the 80’s all in your nose,
It’s like this throughout the seasons,
Wash everything for hygiene reasons,
Melting hot Summer,
Drafts in the Fall,
Frostbite in Winter,
Spring never happens at all,
Corporate patsies, uniform lines,
Swear they had it better down the mines,
You think I’m joking? Take back what I said?
We had a Canary here. It’s definitely dead.

Part of the WordPress Daily Post: Seasonal Scents

(WMB4X) Takin Care of Business

This is the first piece of WMB4X I’ve not really planned, off the cuff seat of the pants time here. You see I have always written at work in part, this is because my job involves a lot of waiting around for MS Access queries to run (yes Mac boy has to use a PC), tables to import. So I would fire up Pages on my iPhone to cleanse my soul, and appease the masses that read my blog. (Well at least the one man and his dog Hi Chili)

However that has been curtailed apparently the powers that be would much rather us just sit and look into space (the PC can’t multitask) rather than do anything creative. It did get me thinking though. How much time does the average office worker actually spend doing anything bordering on meaningful? Now before we get into this, two things. I do, and I make no secret of this, hate my job. However I do also have high standards of my work, so I am in the strange position of caring about what I do, but not really seeing the point of it. Anyway time waits for no man…

Lets say you work an 8hr day.. altogether now “You work an 8hr day”

Of that 8hrs you have to take a 30 min lunch break by law, although lots don’t. I mean why would you not. Unless you are one of the very small percentage of folks who do actually love what you do. There is legislation that says it’s ok to break, so go ahead and break already.

So we are already down to 7hrs 30 mins.

If you work on a computer (PC my sympathy, Mac you lucky shit) you are supposed to take a 10 minute break away from the screen every two hours. So to make my maths easier lets say you work on the computer for 6hrs that gives you 30 mins break away from the screen, it’s not all in a lump though so that probably means you’ll go for a wander so thats us down to 7hrs.

Of those 7hrs 20 mins of every day is spent walking up stairs, removing jackets and logging on to networks. So thats 6hrs 40. They say to keep optimally hydrated you should drink 8 pints (not beer, awwh) of water a day so lets say you spend 15 mins a day drinking. Thats 6hrs 25 mins maybe even a further 25 mins walking to and from the kitchen to fetch your beverage. 6hrs.

Then because you have drunk all that water you are gonna need to pee. Also lets to be frank here, you are also gonna wanna take advantage of the free bog roll and getting paid to crap bonus, which everyone loves. So lets be conservative here 30mins per day. 5:30.

So 5:30. Well offices all have notice boards or intranet pages you are supposed to read but never do. 30 mins for that 5hrs. If your office is like all the others there is that one person who wanders around talking to anyone who’ll listen about anything. Either you are that person (take those five remaining hours) or you will occasionally talk to them, take at least an hour. Or you will spend an hour trying to work unsuccessfully because of the inane prattle.

4hrs. Team meeting. 2hrs of sitting nodding, agreeing.

2hrs. Well it used to be researching and preparing the blog one hour each. But I guess I’ll have to do some actual work now.

(To any potential employers, I have held down a job since 2000, this is not a true representation of my work output…. I barely even go in)


Check out the fine work of the Resident Weeble who is always in work by the crack of Noon

Open Plan

Human beings, social creatures, co-habiting with friends, family. Forming long partnerships, spewing forth offspring. We like to go to pubs, clubs and restaurants, sharing a drinking, dancing and eating experience (sometimes all 3 at once) with our fellow man.

Even when we are not able to be with others in person, billions of tweets and facebook status updates now inform our nearest and dearest what we are doing. (Often down to the most mundane of things “I just updated my blog…” Bah) I class myself as a anti-social person, but given the right people I too can become the all singing, not quite all dancing social animal.

However very few people are social animals all the time. As George Carlin once said we all need a place for our Stuff. So even in these very social flat sharing, communally conscious nests we build for ourselves we need a space we can call our own. A place where we can gather our thoughts, be stupid, play air guitar, dance around in our pants, or without our pants. It’s a break, it’s a virtuoso guitar solo from the guy who usually provides rock steady rhythm. It rocks!

Then we return to work. Where the wheels fall off the social wagon. If you are an office worker there is a good chance you sit in vast open plan areas. Thrown together, there is a small chance you sit with people who you might share an interest or two with. Even if that is the case, there will always be those people who talk constantly, in voices that are always at the correct pitch that makes ignoring them impossible. These people will talk about banal subjects. Now I’m not the master of wit these blog pieces may have led you to believe (!) but I do like to think I have a reasonable boring filter. Subjects of no interest to anyone are (to name a few):-

  • What you had for tea, last week.
  • How much you paid for your blinds
  • The fact that you got into work 3 minutes earlier than usual

Now you may think the list is harsh. But imagine if you will the same stories, over and over throughout an eight hour day. Banter is good, minutiae is not. You will often find the same people use the office phone for personal calls, so you will find out that their iPad is broken, their urinary tract is infected and their husband is cheating (I wonder why) all whilst trying to get on with a job.

Workplace rules:
Non-repetitive banter is good, in short bursts.
In general, whatever you are thinking, unless you have connected on a social level. No-one cares!

Cupid Stunt : A Window into the Soul

Technology marches on, the pen and paper have largely been replaced by tablet like devices, (smart phones, iPads* Other tablets are available.. somewhere) your Mum is the only person who ever rings on your house phone. The remote control on your TV a sign of late 70’s affluence has been replaced in some cases by a mere flick of a hand. I have yet to find out what happens when anyone is watching Babestation.

The Yellow Pages, a huge tome back when I was a kid, is now a slim volume, a large proportion of which serves as a sign post to web pages and apps. Everyone from men with movers to morticians are online. It’s not a choice or business strategy it’s a customer expectation. If you are not online, you are not anywhere so it seems.

Next though a technological advance that has been superseded way before it’s time, it has been bringing light into our lives ever since Urrgh the caveman noticed a gap in the cave wall that was too small to walk through, but allowed him to look out and watch Urrghina the cavewoman take a swim in the lake. Urrgh didn’t call this gap the “window” Bill Gates did in the 80’s. In-between times the window was known as the “Pain in the Glass” due to the amount of people who walked into one.

Sometime in nineteen hundred and squawk, Mary Hinge invented the opening window, unknowingly harking back to the early experiences of Urrgh and missing out on lucrative retro marketing opportunities. With the Mary Hinge attached to the “Pains” users were able to get a taste of fresh air, or shout at “You..you man there” with relative ease. It also ended the fifty year queues at the McDonalds drive thrus. The last explorers looking for the next available window were found in November 1987.

Disaster for Mary Hinge in the UK in the early 80’s. Betty Swollocks introduced the air conditioner. Originally designed to accompany anti-dandruff shampoo in the nations showers it was pointed out to Betty that air conditioners could indeed regulate the temperature of office buildings and homes of those people with more money than sense.

Businesses all displayed their Betty Swollocks. Mary Hinge’s openings were sealed off, and summer in the 80’s was cancelled. Since then office workers too tight to pay the premium for Betty Swollocks enhancements every year have been cold in the winter, where the cheap Swollocks thermostat broke, and baking like Victorias personal Sandwich in the summer as the Swollocks cooler ceased to function.

In a story where Mary Hinge should have had the last laugh, tragedy was just behind her. Mr Tragedy a long time lover of Mary Hinge flew in a tempestuous rage after Mary had discovered him in bed with a another woman. Ironically Tragedy pushed her out of one of the windows she herself designed and installed in her London penthouse. She fell many flights into the path of a steam roller, and to this day people talk of the spread Mary Hinge in Soho.

Mary’s invention by rights should still be used in office buildings. Prevent Betty Swollocks, say no to Air Con.

Katie H in Window

Mary Hinge and her Invention

Poem: The Snitch

 

BAHSUniform


The snitch is oh so eager,
To report to Miss,
So he’ll get a house point,
Or even steal a kiss.
Not on the lips,

Snitch working the way,
To the top of the class,
By Kissing some butt
Being a pain in the arse,

If we were still at school,
His point I could almost see,
But this is an working office,
And I’m almost thirty three,

 

The Joy of Misery

This post has sprung out of an in car conversation I had with the Weeble. You see the Weeble is a positive person a bright jovial individual. A good friend to all and pleasant to everyone in the workplace.

I on the other hand. Am not. An example:

Work Colleague: “Alright Mate can you do me a favour?”
Me: “No”

The aforementioned work colleague then walked away and left me alone. Result! Now don’t get me wrong I do actually have a very good customer service ethic, give me a job to do and I will do it to the best of my ability. However the domain of the “favour” lies firmly with people I actually like.

The same is true for:-

  • Morning greetings (Hello, Good Morning etc)
  • Small talk (Good weekend?)
  • Caring about colleagues family (Kids, Boyfriends, Dogs… not ever Cats (sorry))
  • Farewell ritual (Bye, See You Tomorrow)

If anyone gets these responses out of me it means I actually care. It is not because I feel bound by some workplace etiquette. Because my responses to others I don’t actually like are very short, sharp and to the point or not at all. I have a reputation of being grumpy.

Good. Played for and got!

The means that people I don’t like avoid me, leave me alone without me even having to give them any hints. They don’t like me, I don’t like them everyone knows where they stand there is no awkward grey area. New starters at work who meet me for the first time, think I’m “a bit off” but they are quickly told “He’s like that with everyone” so they actually feel good. It’s nothing personal.

Whereas, those rays of sunshine folks, when they do have an “off day” which does happen, they actually upset people more. Mr Sunshine with a hangover snaps at new Ms Priss. Ms Priss says to her new colleagues “Why did Mr Sunshine snap at me?” The answer they get is “I don’t know, he’s usually so nice. What did you do?” So now Ms Priss will spend the whole day worrying she did something. So who’s the bastard  now.

We live in a world where it’s deemed wrong to be negative. Any idea has to be a good one. If you say “That’s crap it won’t work” you are labelled as awkward. The human race survived due to negative people. The caveman that said “No I don’t think we can fly” saved the lives of millions.

Be the best Bastard you can be. To spread the happiness.

An office… spot the bastard

(28DW) Office Hot

The office. A banal, bland environment where boring people get on with boring work, sat in uniform rows, in front of identical computers (which in my experience are always 3 or 4 generations behind what is current) The 9-5, the old grind. A soulless place, it couldn’t be less about sex if it tried.

Except it is.

It is a hotbed of frustration, fantasy and lust. In fact in some cases it is more productive than the caffeine infused beverages fed intravenously into all office drones. All offices have the “office hot” girl or boy. You know the type of person you wouldn’t look twice at in the street but someone who looks great in a open plan environment, surrounded by others who have given up trying.

Office hot, can get away with murder, especially if their line manager is of the opposite sex. Even if they are older, married or whatever. A quick smile or giggle from Office Hot can excuse them from turning up at 11am 3 hours late for a meeting.

Office Hot, By Jakob Montrasio from Saarbrücken, Germany [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Although I have explained Office Hot can be a girl or a boy, as a male I have to mention Office Hot girl. She will use everything to tease and beguile male colleagues, anything short and tight is her dress code, flirtation a key factor. Office Hot girl will be twice as productive as her colleagues, because whereas they have to fill out a Request form and sign it in triplicate Office Hot just has to smile and ask nicely, standing just that little bit too close.

Don’t get me wrong. A little bit of office flirtation is a wonderful thing. It lifts the boredom, and boosts self-esteem for both parties. But with it there are risks. Firstly there is always that one person who takes the attentions of Office Hot seriously. Maybe the creepy guy in the corner, he falls in love and turns up at Office Hots house, after calling in a favour from his friend in HR.

Secondly (and this is where I take my tongue out of my cheek) Office Hot can set back any progress made for office equality. Here again I am talking mostly of office hot girl. She knows she has to flirt and flaunt herself to progress. Giggle at the right times. Doing this she might even rise to a management position. Meanwhile, a girl who is more professional and hard working may miss out. Purely because she is not noticed.

Office Hot manager, now out of her depth, faced with guys who are older and are so sexually frustrated they are more able to sort out a wonky golf swing than muster any arousal. Office hot manager, promoted beyond her ability, useless. A black mark against women in management. It happens.

When Office Hot boy ages, he often doesn’t notice. He married one of the girls from accounts 20 years ago, now his bald spot reflects the fluorescent strip lights and due to beer gut he hasn’t seen his penis in 5 years, his wife is screwing the pool boy. Office Hot man still thinks he can pull and flirt how he used to. Except now he is coming across as a lecherous old man. Which is what he is.

The office, despite all the legislation in the world. Will never be a fair place, with fair representation of man, women, gay, hetrosexual, disabled, able-bodied. Because no matter how hard you try, there will always be someone being the stereotype.

 

Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium 

Poem: Festive Lunch

So we gather round the table,
Having paid over the odds,
In case you haven’t guessed,
I’m a “bah humbug miserable sod.”
They twisted my arm to come along,
Paid time off they said,
It’s only on the day,
We are told to take our time instead,
Still in for a Penny in for pound,
In the hope the boss pays for a round,
In the hope I’m sat next to that one bod I like,
In the hope that food is nice,
In the hope that it’s not like last year,
When they run out of beer,

We are not friends round the table,
Everyone cept the most deluded know, but forget,
Making best of just because…
Because of what? Because of a date,
Because some of you think you like each other,
Because Miss “office hot” might let you cop a feel,
Just because you’ve had a meal.

From where I sit, In reality,
It’s still a case of them and me,
They’ll blow festive sunshine up their pipes,
Fake festive smiles never to be wiped,
Why did I pay to share a room with you?
It’s bad enough when they pay me to.

By Photo by M. Rehemtulla [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons