If you’re half way through life then it’s highly likely, at some point, you’ve suffered the woes of The Office. Not the witty television show (UK did it best) – although having an office with David Brent would’ve made the place more bearable – but the actual Seventh Circle of Hell. The point where you realise that there’s more to life than Excel spread sheets, being another rat in the race, and discovering that Sick Building Syndrome is too real.
For those of you still surviving the perils of the office, have survived the perils of the office, or have never endured the office…This is for you.
It begins on Sunday evening.
You’ve had a good weekend, regardless of the thumping hangover you’ve had to survive. It ended with a Dominos so…swings and roundabouts. You’re just putting the Pizza boxes on the side (shut up. No-one puts them in the bin straight away) when it hits you like a Calzaghe punch in the stomach – Monday is around the corner. You start inwardly cursing the working week (two days out of seven for a break. It’s a joke) and retire to your well sculpted ass groove in the sofa.
Those of us who are of the more optimistic mind set may adopt the great British “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It’s Monday. You’re (semi-) revived after the weekend, you mentally prepare to hit Monday and finish off Friday’s work, and you’re ready for the week ahead. Come at me, bro.
The rest of us who are more
pessimistic realistic may decide to rebel against the ever-ticking clock and attempt to stretch out Sunday as far as she can go. That is to say you fall asleep on the sofa at 12am, watching a crap documentary on Elephants or some shit, and wake up at 3.30am to the BBC news rerun. You drag your weary ass to bed hoping that the next three hours sleep are going to somehow cure you of all fatigue.
Bullshit. Your alarm goes off at 6.30am and it’s like an air raid siren. Snooze that motherfucker – You’re getting at least 10 more minutes…
…Until you wake up at 7.40am and realise you’ve slept through the second alarm. Shit fucking shitty shit.
Shower, shit, shave (applies to both genders.) Except you’re late, asshole, and you have to skip the shower, squeeze out a nugget, and don’t wear anything above the knee because you’re a gorilla from the waist down.
Made it to the car and you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes. At this point, you may have a weird head rush thing as your brain catches up to the fact that you are definitely not in bed and the cold air has shocked your system to shit. Let’s say it’s Winter. The steering wheel is Baltic but you haven’t got time to cry; you need to get to the office before 9am because they want you work-ready by 9; the bastards.
Traffic…of all that is unholy. Fucking traffic. And when it’s raining it seems that Britain just cannot cope and everyone panics. Either that or they just drive like absolute monkeys everywhere. Here is the part of the day where, if the Swear Jar was in the car, you’d be able to afford a two-week holiday to Barbados by the time you got half-way to work. Every driver on the road is a use-your-fucking-indicators, stay-where-the-fuck-you-are, are-you-having-a-laugh, prick. It’s all very dramatic. The rain is causing spray to go everywhere; you can’t actually see but you know the route so well you could do this shit with your eyes closed. Nick Grimshaw is babbling his way through the morning with his cheerful Northern accent…Doesn’t he realise its fucking 8.15am? With the paycheque he gets at the end of the month, I’d be fucking laughing, too. Smug arsehole.
And yes, you drive down the centre lane because you’ve got at least seven junctions to pass on the way to work and are you fuck as like going to wait at every single one to stay legal. Out of my way, I’m coming the fuck through.
You’ve made it. On time. You feel euphoric until you realise there is no victory in arriving at the office. It’s the same feeling in the pit of your stomach as when your parents used to look at you with those sad, sympathetic eyes and say “it’s the taking part that counts”; deep down, you knew you’d never be the Egg And Spoon Champion. Finishing last won’t get you anywhere, kid…
Morning routines ensues:
Blame childhood errors for current situation.
Have a little cry in the toilets as you come to terms with the fact that this is your life now.
Grab vile coffee from Linda in the canteen and know that this is the only warmth you will feel inside you today.
Here things get interesting because human interaction. There are certain types of people you will encounter during your office career:
- The Debbie
You’ve called her the Oxygen Thief because that bitch can talk. No matter what topic. No matter what time. She’s like a ticking time bomb of conversation – legend has it that if the world ended tomorrow you’d still hear the echoes of her voice.
Her favourite topic? Herself, mostly.
You’re going on holiday? She’s been there.
You have a wedding? She’s had two.
Your daughter learnt to walk? Her niece just learnt to sprint and do the high jump at the tender age of 3.
Oh, fuck off, Debbie.
- The Rebecca
Works in admin. Young, fun, and way out of the legal age range. Still, doesn’t stop you having a lingering look when she walks past. Nice face. Thick as shit.
- The Robert
Doesn’t say much. In fact, doesn’t say anything. No one has any idea what he does. Sometimes laughs at your jokes with the rest of the you – and when I say laugh, I mean he exhales forcefully out of his nose and maybe twitches his mouth. Maybe.
- The Chris
The only ‘normal’ one of the office. Has a wife and three kids and, let’s face it, he looks like he has a wife and three kids. You and him are in it together. Mostly takes the piss out of everyone else but somehow everyone loves him. Last time you tried to make a joke of the same calibre, Debbie didn’t speak to you for three days. (Note to self: Make more jokes like that toward Debbie.)
- The Jackie
Your boss. Hates everyone. Seems to hate you especially. Might be because of the joke thing but you’re not sure. She looks like a cross between a horse and the hulk. Often demands unreasonable amounts of work in impossible amounts of time. You deliver, just, whilst loathing the fact that you are essentially whoring out the best of yourself to her every day. You daydream of throwing your keyboard at her face. The only thing you have on her is that she was impeccably pissed at the last Christmas party and walked around with her dress tucked into her pants most of the evening.
- The Margaret
Sweet Maggie, the maternal one of the office. Understands the trials and tribulations of life and when you turn up smelling like last night’s empty can of Fosters, she gives you a knowing wink. Makes tea often and calls you things like “Petal” and “Sweetheart.” If you’re going to cry on anyone’s shoulder today, it’ll be her. (Often happens at least once a week.)
- The Kevin
Workaholic wannabe who sucks up to Jackie at any given chance. Tries to fit in and make a joke but ends up sounding like a twat. Wears wonky glasses and eats Tuna sandwiches everyday. Acts like he knows everything but knows nothing.
How did he get where he is? It’s who you know, not what you know. Covers up his lack of intellect with an overly enthusiastic attitude that Jackie adores…mainly because she’s found someone to make her coffee every half an hour.
- The Rachel
Twenties. Chances are she’s part of your lunchtime group. Will join in with you whinging about the job and how much she hates it. However, she’s saving to go travelling and this is her stop gap. Your biggest fear is that this is your forever. One of those positive types who tells you to “Go for it!” and “You can do it!”
This is your 37.5 hour a week company. No wonder you find Mondays so damn hard, eh?
…You know I tease you with the cynicism. You already know I’m a bitch. Part 2 coming soon.