Work

Fiction: Autumn Leaves

The light above my head flickered. It had been like this for one thousand four hundred and seventy eight days, according to my tally. It was not the kind of flicker that was rhythmic and satisfying. On one particular boring afternoon I had tried to find a tune on my phone that it synced with. It flickered along gleefully out of time with Beyonce’s entire back catalogue and my Mum’s favourite Johnnie Mathis.

By the end of the day, no longer would this erratic illuminator be an issue.

Not for much longer would the office banter and clicky clack of other peoples pointless emails being constructed be an irritant. No more would Doreens flatulence (the silent kind) and Daniels annoying laugh be a reason for me to want to turn my car into oncoming traffic on the commute home. For the past four years, me and my relentlessly healthy body (only two sick days) have attended the office Wellbellow and Batholomew. Tomorrow there would be no commute.

The morning was quiet. I’d got in before most of the cretinous wastes of carbon had arrived. The coffee machine decided to spit out a good half a spoon of whitener into my black coffee. Laughing at my request. I heard it.

I cancelled 3 meetings, sent 6 calls to voicemail (deleted the messages) then generally counted the minutes until lunchtime respite. Lunch that would today come in the form of a luke warm steak bake (Greggs).

“Did you buy snacks?” Jessica asked. Before I’d even taken my coat off, the steak(ish) chunks still flavouring my palette . Of course not. Despite everything I do not have the money to waste on you, I cannot find a flavourless poison and in a few short hours I’ll be free. Any murderous plans I had faded when I handed in my notice. Don’t push it Jessica, I might make exceptions, I might…
“No Jess” I replied.
“Oh ok, Steven did…”
I continued walking, bully for Steven. He wasn’t leaving, he was Steven Wellbellow. He was the bosses son. He could afford snacks, he could afford bespoke patisserie creations. He brought in, Lidl’s own brand cupcakes. Retailing at 70 pence for 25. But big him up Jess, see where that gets you. Been there, did that at the Christmas Party. Nothing was well bellow with Steven. Steven Isitinyet, would have been more appropriate.

That interaction with Jessica was an hour back now. My soon to be old colleagues mostly had more sense to leave me alone as I went through my inbox. Deleting reams of messages that detailed, picnics, down times and other corporate initiatives to promote “staff engagement”. I attended a few, boss said I should. These events are always attended by the exact types that shouldn’t be anywhere near them. People who, since they left University in 1977 have had no fun unless it was part of a wacky organisation with special badges and meetings. I’ve seen more engaging party political broadcasts.

It was then when I saw it. Behind me, reflected in my screen, a large semi circle was forming. People left their seats, like a hoard of zombies, drawn by the prospect of false platitudes and lies. People buy lottery tickets to get out of situations like this. You think that winners can just stop work the next day. Alas that wasn’t true for me. Cheques need time to clear, bills still need to be paid.

Ten million pounds and I still had to have the “we are sorry you are leaving”

“Autumn.” My bosses voice….

Not much longer. I thought as I turned, fake smile intact. To face them.

Autumn Leaves - Saskatoon

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Don’t Panic

Easier said than done eh Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army.

I have lived with panic attacks now since my early teens, for the most part I can deal with the signs of them impending and head them off at the pass with not quite consummate ease. Except of course when I can’t and it all goes horribly wrong.

Case in point, work conference 200 miles away from home, so a double overnight stay. Didn’t sleep a wink despite driving and being tired. Cue the panic, cue the nausea, cue the sweating, dizzy spells. My hands are tingling now just thinking about it. Lucky I have a very supportive set of colleagues at the moment who were able to talk me down from many a metaphorical ledge that I’d reached the edge of at approximately 3am in the cold morning light.

The conference itself went fine. Of course it did. Will that stop me panicking at similar events going forward. Probably not no. Why? I can only venture a guess that when things get that bad and the physical and mental combine to give you the “night of your life” the rational becomes like a mythical dragon that was banished long ago. So you can’t say “Well it was fine that time before” because your internal arsehole mind replies back with “But what if it’s not this time”

Real Ramblings of my Arsehole Mind in panicsville:-

“What if I piss myself in front of everyone?”
“What if I shit myself in front of everyone?”
“What if everyone hates me?”
“What if I don’t know anyone?”
“What if there is someone there I know?”
“What if they find out I’m dumb”
“What if I never sleep again and crash the car?”
All these hits and many more….

I have further challenges in the next few months and in a effort to quell the Arsehole Mind I know I will have to consult tutors and managers to tell them of my fears for situations. I figure its best to be upfront so that people can at best help or at least be aware. However its a double edged sword because these consultations will almost certainly be my first communications with people. I want to convey enthusiasm, interest hell even talent. The Arsehole Mind forces me to display weakness, self involvement and a lack of confidence, straight out. The social equivalent of meeting the girl of your dreams and crapping your kicks before you’ve said “Hello”

Maybe thats a real worry after all.

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: The Stone

Everyday, I place it on,
The stone around my neck,
Although the cord that it hangs from is not tight,
It suffocates my brain.
My freedom lost for eight hours,
Can’t think, cannot express.
I am not me.
The stone it casts a wicked spell,
I am someone elses.
I represent ideals that aren’t mine.
I smile at those I despise.
The stone keeping my hate weighed down inside.
The stone tells them who I’m paid to be.
Not who I am.
Now..

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Poem: Gravy Train (Bitter)

Am I me, the me with the tie.
Or are we four conspirators in one big lie,
Dressed in fresh suit,
Beard neatly trimmed,
The hour of judgement about to begin,
Hypothetical scenarios,
For which I have incorrect answers,
From across the desk shoots judgemental glances,
“If black was white and the sky was the sea”,
“But it’s not” Say I. “same as you are you, and not me.”
“But if this was that and that was this..”
There, right there, is the point I missed.

If all your questions are not as they seem,
All this pantomime may well be a dream,
Don’t judge me from that side of the table,
I am a person, not a label,
I’m not playing the game anymore,
With people who don’t acknowledge the score,
Corporate world, built on a game,
Let me off the of gravy train.

Embed from Getty Images

Work? Optional!

So todays prompt from the lovely folks at WordPress asks the question would you work if money was out of equation.

Well regular readers will know I love my current job and all of my colleagues are an absolute delight to be around for 6 hours every day. If had no monetary reward I’d still want to be with them every second that was available to me. My work is the reason I live. It’s as important to me as my solid grasp of sarcasm.

If money was out of the equation I would still work, for less time and for a vastly different company in a vastly different field. You see I do have quite high standards for myself, I want to do a good job, be the go-to guy. Be trusted to do a excellent job and leave the customer feeling more satisfied than someone who has had a 48hr free pass to a high end brothel. But where I currently work I am not trusted to order so much as tea and biscuits without managerial approval.

It is like being at school. We are treated like kids, some respond in such a way. Some like me dream rather sadistically (and this is the piece that will be quoted on the news when I finally snap) of disembowelling the vast majority of my co-workers with only a paperclip. (It can be done I have blueprints)

Weapon of Choice

Weapon of Choice

In any given year there are approximately 253 working days for me. 1518 hours a year if I work until I’m 65 (I’ll be dead by then) 45 years working that’s 68310 hours in total.

68310 hours surrounded by people who I have nothing in common with other than a shared work place.
68310 hours surrounded by people who know nothing of what I like (nor me of them)
68310 of dancing to someone elses tune.

I’m tempted to leave right now. But it’s the money that keeps me here or rather the need to have a roof over my fair bonce. I would love to throw this away and do something that helps people, makes me feel good too. Use my 68310 hours for good instead of evil. So wordpress if you want to take money out of the equation and pay my bills I’ll gladly accept your offer of work.. I await your confirmation.

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

Birthdays: Women and Children only

If it’s your birthday today, Happy Birthday from all of us here at SudoOne. (Just me then) I hope you get all the gifts you want and a cake especially for you. Unless you are a male over the age of 18. In which case, happy birthday mate. I haven’t got you anything because I’m not your Mum. If you are lucky I might buy you a pint. Men don’t do birthdays.

Embed from Getty Images

The male arrangement for birthdays.

I buy a beer, pie or coffee, if birthdays are mentioned at all. If not, all the men I know carry on as if their birthday was nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to work on my birthday. But this has more to do with me disliking work than anything else. Today is a work colleagues birthday. He is way over 18. He spent £50 feeding people who aren’t his friends, some of them hate him and yet will eat the free food (I didn’t). He works on phones, spent the majority of the morning telling customers it was his birthday. Now I know you have to build a rapport with the great unwashed but when your customer wants to do what he needs to do and hang up (Sounds like I work on a Sex line) your ‘special day’ matters diddly squat and mentioning it can come across as unprofessional.

Food rituals in the workplace are bullshit too. Its a unwritten rule that you have to bring stuff for your birthday, and you are judged on the quality of food you get, catering for all allergies in the office and watching out for those arseholes who will double dip the breadsticks. You are therefore a mixture of You, Jamie Oliver and Robocop.

I like other peoples birthdays. It gives me an opportunity to show the women and children in my life how much they mean to me. Really thats a grand total of three or so gifts (Daughter, Mother and the official photographer of the New York Yankees etc) But those are people I care about and people who I know appreciate what I got them. Not some people I happen to sit in a building with. Birthdays should be banned from the workplace. Which brings me to Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure protegiendo el balon

Yaya Toure (centre) during a previous spell at Barca. Birthday Cake (not pictured)

I know this is a ruse. Yaya even tried to point it out himself. But for those who don’t know, Toure plays for Manchester City FC and his agent is saying that he will leave because they didn’t wish him Happy Birthday. In all reality he wants to leave because he can get a big bundle of cash from Barcelona. Thats fine with me. (Man doing job wants more money for working). However he does need to sack his agent for the “Birthday” plan because Yaya now looks like a bit of a dick. I hope he stays at Man City just for all the Birthday related chants he’ll get.

My birthday is in June by the way. Hint..

Interviews

“I’ll help you, I’ve had lots of interviews”

An acquaintance at work trying to be helpful, after finding out I have a job interview on Friday. Strange thing though really. Because on the face of it, advice from someone who is well practised at a certain thing has to be good if you are preparing for the same thing. But is that the case with someone who has had a load of interviews?

This of course means one of two things.

1. You are excellent at interviews, but rubbish at the actual job and therefore move around a lot.
Given that this offer of help came from someone at work this could be the true meaning. But it’s more likely to be option 2
2. You are really bad at interviews. Falling at the final hurdle on a regular basis.

This is not a criticism, I myself fall into option 2. Interviews are hard, kinda like a corporate speed date, where you are trying to impress three or maybe four suitors all at once in different ways. However in a marked difference from speed dating, the people sat opposite you are often looking for a carbon copy of their ex. Someone with the same abilities, same traits, same looks and when you look like me, unless I’m following Jesus or Russell Brand chances are I’m not going to get the job.

My Mum always says to me “Are you going to do your hair?” well I’m not going to make sure it is styled so that it looks like I have been pulled through a hedge but this is another thing that gets me about Interviews. Everyone dresses up, plays the game. We all know how to dress up, even scum of the earth who commit so many crimes they know the first names of court clerks. You can see them sat in their best whistle pleading not guilty. So whilst we are playing dress up, why don’t we pretend too? Pretend that I am in my best shirt, with a tie that cuts off circulation to my head, I in turn will pretend that you are pretty and that you don’t spit when you talk.

Interviews are these days it would seem nothing to do with the job you are applying for. Instead opting for a strained (on both sides) conversation complying to a “model” often asking you to display that you are a good team player by using the word “I” numerous times. Because no-one in your team did anything it was all you. If it wasn’t, no job for you sunshine. We don’t want your teamwork here, we want you to go all John McClane in Die Hard.

So onward and upwards, a man stepping up to the plate. Painting on a smile, crossing fingers and toes and hopefully not tongue.. yippee kai yay motherfucker indeed.

And If this piece on interviews was not enough to give me the job, please check out this piece by Miss Four Eyes who blogs much better than I, she also does it naked too.

Sixteen Tons Prompt

Regular readers might have guessed that I am not that fond of my job, so when I saw the daily prompt last week. I thought I’d take part (of course I’m late… just like when I’m at work)
It’s strange. I am not one of those people who can be pleased because “at least you have a job” Nor am I happy doing a job where I can see no worth in my output. This is my issue currently. It doesn’t really matter if I turn up or not, there is no scope for promotion or if there is, the work I’m doing now has no impact on my ability to get the higher graded job because everything is based on application and interview. So if you can spin a good line you’ll go far.

I have been in my current job for 6 years. It no longer provides me with a challenge I can use my skill set on. Surprisingly though the longer I stay here needing a new challenge the further I get away from it. I’ll explain.. or at least try to.

Before I arrived here I had skills, I know I did. But now my confidence is so low that I doubt my ability to do anything else. I wasn’t the most confident guy to begin with, but the frustration of this role, combined with failure after failure at interviews for other positions has led me to believe I am completely worthless and it is either this or nothing. For now, for ever.

This has spilled over into my personal life. I have no confidence for anything, which leads me to cling on like a limpet to anything that might be good, and squeeze it until it squirms away. Lots of the time I just want to curl up and die….. hey hey.. come back it’ll be ok. I won’t throw myself off a bridge, knowing my luck I’d screw that up!

(speaking to the camera) What the hell’s going on? I lost my show, I lost my best friend, I lost my girl. I’m being shit on, that’s all, shit on! And you know what really pisses me off — [camera pans away] Wait, no, come on back.. OK, things aren’t as bad as they seem… I’ll figure somethin’ out, OK? – Wayne Campbell (Waynes World)

Ok I realise this is wallowing a little. I haven’t stopped trying. To all those people who have met me within the last five years. I am a nice guy, I have a great sense of humour and I like pina coladas and going for walks in the rain. (oops wrong window) I’m sorry you haven’t seen that much. Sometimes I feel like I’ve not smiled since 1987. But guess what. I am currently putting off writing the final “Give me this job please” statement for two jobs whilst I’m writing this. Go me!

Who knows I might get one of those until then…
The vicious cycle continues. I hate work, I have no confidence to get out, frustration levels in my life are very high which makes me not a nice person to be around, so I resent work, I hate work….