Archive for the ‘office life’ Category

Foot ‘in’ Mouth is just as much a disease as Ebola, being Ginger or AIDS; it even sounds like a disease. There are other common characteristics prevalent across these three ailments, there is no cure, prognosis is never rosy and you can catch it from unprotected sex with monkeys (allegedly)

I can confirm I am a carrier of foot in mouth and have been so afflicted for many years, I don’t know if I caught it from having sex with a primate but the wife doesn’t have it so I don’t think so. Maybe I caught it from a public toilet seat; I really must get out of the habit of licking them.

Generally I can control the symptoms with judicious application of ‘shutting the fuck up’ although when I forget to take my tablets the repercussions can be severe. My wife pointed me to another herbal cure on the market ‘thinking before you speak’ but I just can’t seem to get on with it, all that happens if I take it is that I come out in hives and get migraines. Warning – sufferers of FiM should not drink alcohol, it only exaggerates symptoms and can lead to the far more serious ‘feet in mouth up to the knee’ syndrome.

In case you were wondering if you were a carrier let me describe several symptomatic incidents, it’s rather like Tourettes I suppose but generally without the pithy one liners and light hearted mockery.

Meeting a vague acquaintance from many years ago in the waiting room of the doctors, I was there to have a monkey bite treated. After striking up a ‘hi, how are you, long time no see’ conversation I congratulated her on her pregnancy and enquired as to how far gone she was and here is where my FiM kicked in, she wasn’t pregnant she was just very fat….. Not my fault really and I think she should have been blaming Mr Kipling not crying and shouting abuse at me!

FiM as many of you will know is technology savvy bug, take the following example which I have previously covered under another guise. I was chatting to Kenneth on our MSN style chat application. Instead of sending Kenneth a message saying ‘Gary(th) is a massive tool and is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot’ my illness made me send the message to Gary(th) instead. Cue much wailing and tearing of hair and that was just Kenneth laughing hysterically when I told him what had happened.

Many years ago calling a girlfriend by the wrong name, yep, I actually did it! Luckily we weren’t playing horizontal gymnastics at the time but we were in a restaurant enjoying dinner, well I say we were enjoying dinner but post FiM outbreak the mood at the table was more psycho than bistro. Word to the wise, either only date women with the same name or fall back on the old cockney pastime of calling everyone ‘love’

Having a not so young lady ask you for your honest opinion on a dress she was wearing at a soiree. Clearly a non FiM sufferer would have known the correct response to this would have been banal platitudes accompanied by much head nodding and arm patting not ’what Marquee did you steal that off?’ The only good news was that her husband managed to loudly snort champagne whilst laughing and I managed to exit stage left before she could turn her anger from him. Yes, I had been drinking and yes later in the evening I did end up in a ceremonial fish pond wearing nothing but a top hat.

I could go on with many more personal examples of how suffers of FiM are afflicted but I won’t. I will just leave you with this reminder – next time someone says or does something so embarrassing that you don’t know whether to laugh uncontrollably or bite through a major vein and end it all remember, it might not be there fault it might be FiM……on the other hand of course they might just be a massive twat.

By the way famous suffers of FiM include George Bush, Adolf Hitler, the other George Bush, most football commentators and that one eyed ex prime minister.

We have a shop on site; I might have mentioned it before. Frankly it’s to customers what British Petroleum is to coastal conservation.

Ostensibly it is a hybrid of newsagent, coffee shop, dry cleaners and an undertaker, all rolled into one not very handy one stop shop for all your consumer needs, assuming you don’t need a bargain or anything vaguely good…

If you have a mental picture of a bustling corner style shop packed to the rafters with all manner of wondrous items then think again. It more resembles one of those pictures you see of shops in Russia – shelves empty apart from the odd lonely non descript tin of mystery meat and staff who look like they were trained by the KGB and are about as happy to see you as they would be an outbreak of cholera. I think most of them were extras in Shaun of the Dead and not only have they forgotten to have their ghoulish make up removed but they are always in character, impressive.

As per my last missive you’ll be aware that I currently have a heightened awareness for ludicrous posters on notice boards, and this week they seem to be multiplying quicker than Albanians at a free range goat farm. One of my new favourites is the ‘Meal Deal’ marketing that’s sprung up everywhere near the little shop of horrors. For the princely sum of £4.29 you can be the proud new owner of a soggy pre packed sandwich and some crisps – round that up to £4.99 and you can throw in an apple or an orange, since when is spending 70p on an apple any sort of deal! More to the point, guess how much the shop charge if you just fancied just purchasing one of your five a day, yep, its 70p.

Meal………Nutritionally debatable but I’ll concede the point

Deal ……..A Provincial town in Kent which is about as close as this laminated piece of fiction gets!

One of the other oddities of the place is that in these times of economic drought they do not like being busy, so much so that they had an email sent round to the whole battery farm sternly admonishing staff to stay away during busy periods. For those of you interested, their published busy periods apparently are from eight in the morning till one in the afternoon and then three in after afternoon till they close at six, effectively giving us 2 hours to buy stuff, the 2 hours during which they are either stock taking, sleeping, masturbating into the latte machine or a combination of the three. Word from the wise, stay away from the Latte, it tasks kinda peppery.

A McDonald’s style express queue has also been introduced to ‘enhance the consumer experience’ – their words not mine. The express queue by the way is the same as the old queue just with a new shiny sign above it. What I find ironic is that you actually have to wait longer because the lemmings from downstairs seem to think that even if the express till is more crowded than freebie night at the local knocking shop, it it’ll still be quicker that the empty one manned by the bored looking spotty kid at the back, it does say it’s faster after all so it must be…….. for the Love of God, find them a cliff, point the sign towards it and do the world a favour.

Speaking of the lemmings downstairs, nothing is more likely to send me into an apoplectic spiral of rage than some total dullard mincing around in front of me with a jury rigged tea-tray made from the lid of a cardboard box and an order for 15 drinks they are never possibly going to remember, all paid for separately of course. If you want a cup of tea get off your fat arse and go and get one, don’t send the office retard.

All in all I’d rather lube up and enter Mr T than have to shop there but it’s the only thing on offer and as we all know beggars can’t be choosers. Begging isn’t an option here since they off shored the bloke who used to sit by the car park entrance with his cute dog (the dog was not off shored – word is there is a very good reason the Korean cleaners bought up all the beef soup in the canteen that week) anyways, as I see it that only leaves one choice.

……and everyone knows it’s not gay if it’s with a member of the original A Team


The notice boards in the corridors here are used as some sort of Orwellian method of brain washing and for communicating propaganda to the masses. Anyone stupid enough to stop and read them will either immediately fall into a bullshit induced coma, or in rare cases assume the identity of a chicken and have to be talked down from the bike shed roof. This has always been the case and I would imagine will always continue to be so until the end of time or total financial Armageddon, which ever comes first. This topic has so far slipped below my blogging radar because I try my best to totally ignore it, if I can possibly help it, but it’s fast getting to the point where their campaign of puerile patronisation and pedantry is even beginning to burn through my shield of cynicism and world weariness.

Usually I embellish these diatribes slightly to try and make my banal work existence seem interesting but I am going to let the following announcements stand up and speak for themselves – remember reader, someone out there gets paid for creating these genius Goebbelsesqe pieces of propaganda gold!

Exhibit A – A poster showing an elephant with 5 legs emblazoned with the question ‘What do you see?’

Well, I see a 5 legged elephant the same as anyone else from planet earth who looks at it. I suppose if I stood and stared long enough maybe a metamorphosis into something useful would occur, maybe like a 4 legged elephant. The worst thing about this is it’s supposed to be something to do with disabled people in the workplace, personally if I were down on my personal quota of 4 limbs a poster showing an animal with an extra one could be construed as rubbing salt into the stump!

Exhibit B – An order from the third directorate, thought Police.

The football world cup was somewhat of a damp squib (which is an excellent description of Wayne Rooney) but instead of using the opportunity to improve staff cohesion and morale by giving into the inevitable and allowing staff to watch / listen / swear at the football, it was decided to send around a very tersely worded email to the effect of anyone caught even thinking about football would be taken out into the car park and personally introduced to three very real and very hungry lions. The email, which I will not be quoting because it would give away my employer and more importantly because it was a crime against grammatical sentence structure, essentially encouraged all staff to only watch world cup football games using the facilities provided by the company, the rub…… there were no facilities provided by the company – genius!

Exhibit C – Random emails about people I don’t care about nor will ever meet. If my career was any more stagnant I’d appear on maps as a pond so I do not appreciate this newly emerging trend of mailing every man, his dog and his dogs vet to congratulate some arse kissing salesman in the Guatemalan office and laud his pointless accomplishments to all and sundry. Frankly it’s the corporate version of spam although if I am totally honest I have far more use for penis enlargement creams and cheap Prozac than I will ever have for Juan and his impressive quarterly sales figures! Bottom line is no one apart from Juan and his mum could give a shit.

Exhibit D – Begging Letters
Some genius somewhere upstairs has decided that sending what amounts to begging letters to the staff extolling them to apply for current vacancies and using such words as ‘exciting’ ‘talent’ and ‘career’ and the like is a good idea.

Its not….

We all already work here, we know what its like and those ‘new opportunities’ have only arisen because the bloke sat next to you has been made redundant. It’s rather like a poultry farmer asking his chickens if they’d like to apply to be a dipper instead of a Kiev!

Exhibit E – Faux concern about our health and well being.

We are slave labour, that’s fine and we accept the situation. Without slave labour the Egyptians could never have built the pyramids which just goes to show you they need us as much as we need them. They don’t make us wear stripy pyjamas and nor do they insist your id number is tattooed on your forearm (yet). But even so everyone here knows someone who has cracked under the relentless pressure and ended up being forcibly moved from the battery farm to the funny farm.
Emails extolling the virtues of work life balance and telling us that smoking is bad and lettuce is good are constantly arriving in my inbox. Filled with twee nonsense such as ‘invest in yourself and your health, we think you are worth it!’ might ring more true if they hadn’t closed the gym and made it into offices and didn’t insist on phoning me day and night to ask puerile questions instead of letting me spend quality down time with the internet and a take away!

For years then I have managed to let this wash over me, on the Moon there is the sea of tranquillity, sounds nice, here what washes over me is the antithesis of that, lets call it the sea of idiocy…..either way I need some arm bands because I can feel myself going under – I thought drowning was supposed to be peaceful!


There are mornings when it’s just impossible to get out of bed, the alarm has gone off and you should be in the bathroom scraping polar bear fur from your teeth and contemplating another day of drudgery in the orifice, instead all you can do is summon just enough energy to lay there like Christopher Reeves staring up at a horse’s arse wondering why he can’t feel his feet. It happens to the best of us, not being paralysed in a fall from a horse which is less common and moderately more annoying I am of course referring to that extreme lethargy known as cant-be-arsed-itus
Whilst nine times out of ten we soldier on, claw our way from beneath the duvet and stagger on regardless there are times when it’s simply too much and the only thing to do is text in a lame excuse to your manager, turn over your pillow to hide the claggy cold patch of dribble and re-enter the land of nod, safe in the knowledge that no suspicions will be aroused and your secret will be safe.
Nearly every one of us has at some point made up a reason to be late to school or work (dentists appointment, pets circumcision, car won’t start) or to not come in at all (dentists appointment, own circumcision, car on fire with you trapped in it) and nearly all of us know when our colleagues are attempting to try and pull them wool, the art to this, and it is an art, is think big and brazen and I don’t mean Dawn French!
I have compared below some of the usual excuse suspects and replaced them with more interesting, outlandish and let’s face it eminently more believable alternatives, besides if you are going to get a reprimand and possibly end up unemployed it might as well be for something original!

‘I don’t feel well and have hardly slept’ – ‘My neighbour works at Huntingdon life sciences, his pet Macao escaped and bit me and now I am exhibiting all the early symptoms associated with a military grade small pox infection, If you own a biohazard suit I suggest you put it on.

‘My car won’t start’ – ‘3 Middle Eastern gentlemen have been seen in the vicinity of my vehicle acting suspiciously and because of my old job with the Government (I can’t talk about it) I have had to call out the bomb squad and evacuate all the houses in my street. Don’t expect me to be in contact, all mobile phones signals are about to be jammed to prevent remote detonation. If anyone with a tan comes around work looking for me you have permission to stab then in the ears with a pencil.

‘My random relative has died’ – ‘My paternal grandfather has been secretly extradited from his holiday home in Argentina to Israel to answer to a charge of mass genocide. It’s all a case of mistaken identity but as my likeness to a young Grandpappy Heinrich is apparently uncanny I have been asked to dress up as a Waffen SS Major and have a black and white photo taken with some skinny models in pyjamas for some stuffy old judge to look at. I’ll be back once the next UN War crimes tribunal has met and sorted out the confusion.

‘I have an emergency dentist appointment’ – ‘my psychiatrist has changed my lithium dose to a new miracle drug and it’s turned the voices angry. I am afraid that if I leave the house then they will have free reign and the world will end in a blaze of homemade explosive glory. Apparently the side effects wear off in five days but until then if you see me please call the police, the coastguard and the nearest vet.

Of course once your coup de main has been achieved it is advisable to maintain the illusion until you are ready to reappear. It’s no good telling your boss you have Beri Beri and have been quarantined for a week to then be spotted out that night at a local hostelry several sheets to the wind! Note: In this case you have several choices; 1) pretend you have an identical twin 2) try to convince people that alcohol is known to have rejuvenative qualities for those suffering from Beri Beri or 3) lure whomever has spotted you out to the car park under a pretence and then…. Well ok maybe that’s going a bit far.

It would have been easy to have compiled a list of the best excuses for non arrival at work but it’s already been done numerous times on the interweb so instead I thought I’d share the top REAL, yes all these are real! excuses I have either used or heard first hand.

‘On my way to work today I was chased and attacked by a pack of wild dogs’ – I know I know but its true! The unlucky individual ended up with cuts, bruises and a lost ball and had to have several days recuperating. That’ll be the last time he comes to work dressed as Scooby Doo.

‘I have been bitten by a weird escaped venomous insect and my breathing is getting shallow, I am on my way to hospital now’ – That unfortunately was me….. Its always disconcerting when the nurse calls the doctor who calls the specialist who calls the cleaner who asks the question;

‘Have you come into contact with any highly venomous tropical insects recently?’ Like I wouldn’t have mentioned it!!!

They pumped me full of antihistamine and I never found out what it was that attacked me and left the fang marks on my arm but I slept in a mosquito net for weeks.

‘I met a girl in the pub last night, we came back to mine and we are going to spend the day in bed’ – Not me unfortunately…… the gentleman in question had used up all his holiday and obviously felt that honestly was the best policy. It was and the term ‘duvet day’ was never used in the same way ever again.

‘I am trapped in my house because a local film star has died and the city is rioting, if I leave bandits might beat me to death’ – Clearly my company has an office in Bradford! This one was good for a whole week of non work. I wish they did that here every time some B list nobody died, at least Jade’s life would have had some sort of purpose then.

On that note I have warbled on enough, besides I have to leave work early today, my dog has a headache and needs to be kept under close observation in case he explodes.


I am in the unfortunate position of having a birds eye view of the car park from my desk, it’s not even the interesting corner of the car park where the ladies running team warm down at lunchtimes and the work dogging club meets, oh no I get a marvellous vista of the disabled parking spaces near the door (where not much warming down and only nominal amounts of dogging are done)
Anyway in my position of ‘Physically Impaired Monitoring Person’ or P.I.M.P I have been closely observing the ‘Handicapped or Equivalent staff’ or H.O.E.S as they like to be known. Now as most of you are aware companies like my employer love hiring people with defects not because it salves a guilty conscience or out of a sprit of togetherness and inclusivity, it’s because they get tax breaks for every Stephen Hawkins stunt double they employ and all they have to do to accommodate them is knock up a ply wood skate board ramp by the door and install a children’s toilet.
What I want to know is when being a massive fatty became a disability………….I mean these people are assigned parking spaces which are clearly designated for those with disabilities and yet all they have to do to qualify is have a big hole at one end that they shovel food into quicker than they jettison it out of the smaller hole at the other end, more laziness than disability in my opinion.
At least two of every three H.O.E.S are just basically whale sized cake eating machines and it must really piss off the quadriplegic switch board operator Richard, known to his friends as clever dick who has to squeeze his postman Pat fliddy van in between their SUVs to park. That’s not to mention the danger to life and limb (ok not limb) that being that slow moving and made of meat represents around these Megalodon food Hoovers either.

What’s that’s noise I can hear? Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a man on the plane setting his Y fronts on fire?

No!

It’s the chorus of the fatties, and what’s their cry?

‘We have thyroid problems, its not our fault, we have thyroid problems its not our fault’

If it were up to me, and it isn’t but if it were I would make our big boned brethren park as far away from the doors as possible. Disabled spaces by the door for those with genuine disabilities and fatty spaces at the far end of the car park for those who like their cakes, we could even set up a burger van there to furnish them with snacks for the waddle.
To conclude, if you dear reader are sat at home reading this with a coke in one hand and a subway in the other and if the last time you saw your genitals was the wrong way round in a mirror then spare us the tired thyroid line and get out there and do some exercise! As the Arabs would say I declare a FatWar on you!


If there was ever a software tool that has revolutionised the way we arrange office affairs, organise our hectic social schedules, gossip about the bloke with the massive head we saw in the coffee shop that morning and occasionally do some work, it has to be instant messaging. You know the type of thing, its like real time text message conversation with little pictures that you can use to convey your emotions which generally, in the context of work, are pretty much exclusively sad, angry and depressed repeated ad nausem at least until someone comes up with ones representing futility, lethargy and a general loss of the will to live.
Still, it has its uses, no longer do I have to wrap a hankie around my phone receiver and furtively hide under my desk to tell the blonde from down the corridor she has a rack like two puppies fighting in a sack, I can just message her and tell her. Its somehow easier this way, more personal whilst being less personal – obviously in this case you have to frame your compliment in a easily misinterpreted way lest offence be taken and the thought police called, something maybe along the lines of:

‘LOL’ ‘winky smiley’ Has anyone ever told you that the top row of that spreadsheet you just send me looks like 2 puppies fighting in a sack?? ‘LOL’ ‘winky smiley’

Using Instant messaging in the office is somewhat different from how children and paedophiles use it on the internet and lets face it, they are the only people who do, after all, I can hardly pretend to be a twelve year old girl with an unhealthy obsession for Take That and cute puppies when this time yesterday we were sat opposite each other in a meeting room arguing over some imagined budget related slight. More to the point, everyone in the office is over 16 anyway therefore rendering the old ‘lure them into your van with offers of sweeties and then chloroform them’ tactic largely ineffective although not even I would wager with the woman who does things on the phone, I have no idea of her actual job title or responsibilities aside from eating constantly but by the look of her, she’d service the whole England rugby team for a chubba chubba lolly!
Whilst the instant message has had a profound positive influence on the so many facets of work life, it does also have to be treated with a little respect. Just like the family dog can one day, and for no discernable reason, turn round and bite you on the arse – so can this. Imagine the following scenario if you will…. I have had an IM from Gary(th) asking me a stupid, frankly borderline retarded question, at the same time I am having another conversation with a friend in another office, discussing the benefits of midget farming and how we could make serious cash from breeding small people. In a moment of lost concentration I type the following in the wrong window and send it to Gary(th), instead of my Umpa Lumpa farming compadre.

‘That oxygen thief Gary(th) has just asked me the most retarded question ever, he really is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot, in China they would have injected formaldehyde into his head at birth and saved us all this arse ache’

Luckily, in this case no offence was caused as Gary(th) just assumed I knew two people in this place called Gary(th), one of them in our Peking office – small world eh! but you can see the potential for disaster that this kind of situation can create!
Something else that has caused me to run the good ship Messenger firmly aground on more than one occasion is the fact that unlike a verbal conversation there is a record of anything that finds its way across the messaging ether. Imagine we have been having a conversation about what a total dimwit my esteemed leader is and how given half the chance and a total collapse of law and order I’d love to take his laptop and firmly stuff it where the sun does not and never will shine. Ten minutes later, and with the aforementioned dimwit at my desk, you type a reply to my last statement and up flashes in all its Technicolor glory for the whole world, especially those at my desk to see the whole angry rant… Oh how we laughed, all the way to the door marked ‘Human Resources – de lousing showers ahead’
I haven’t finished this subject yet, not by a long chalk so expect more on the virtual minefield that is instant messaging sometime soon. In the mean time you all just keep LOL’ing your way through 2010.


My boss has invited me to take up the challenge of arranging our department Christmas party, when I say invited I mean ordered, I don’t get a choice – those of you that know me will realise this is about as clever as asking Myra Hindley to baby-sit. This is a ridiculously bad idea for two key reasons, firstly I don’t really like Christmas and secondly I don’t really like the majority of the witless dribbling unwashed masses I am forced to interact with at work, a recipe for festive related disaster me thinks.
The princely sum of £20 per head is available for me to blow on this soirée so an evening at the Ritz is out, incidentally the term ‘per head’ is on the conversational ban list here as it is seen as being derogatory to minorities who were born without heads and also latterly victims of Al Qaeda like that scouse bloke Ken, anyway as usual I digress.
So, I have decided to come at this from a multi faith ethnically diverse and non exclusive approach which for those of you who do not work in directorate three of the thought police (ethnic festival management) means I am going to make it as un Christmassy as humanly possible. Not for the benefit of the PLO sleeper agent in our architecture team although he will be pleased but more because its my party and I don’t like Christmas.
In Bygone years Christmas in an office environment used to be a time of long pub lunches paid for by grateful management, time to bond as a team, to buy each other presents and if your luck is in or you have a spare fiver a ten minute knee trembler in the stationary cupboard with Janet the bike from accounts, all before going home to get ready for the big gratis evening dinner dance, partners welcome.
Christmas isn’t even called Christmas anymore, the ‘Festive period’ is no longer about peace and good will to all men (sexist statement) nor is it about management making that extra effort to make staff feel appreciated and included. It’s all about making sure your dates don’t slip, projects still march inexorably forward and people who know what they are doing are on call over the holidays to assist our offshore friends. As for the knee trembler with Janet well, the stationary cupboard has been rearrnaged into a windowless office with 8 desks crammed into it and even if it wasn’t Janet and her Yule tide duties are now being carried out by someone called Ranjeet in India, at least the post it note ordering part is anyway.
All in all celebrating Corporate Christmas is crap (alliteration mega streak!) its more about making sure work isn’t effected and minority groups aren’t in some way offended, not that any of the ‘minority’ individuals I work with care, the cynical amongst us might say its our paranoid directorate three friends keeping themselves in work and I would have to agree.
All that said at least my boss will be pleased that his year and probably slightly suspicious as I have for once decided to tow the company line, embrace our mission statement and ethos and pull in the same direction as management – in other words I have arranged for our department Christmas to be at our local curry house! Pint of Kingfisher anyone?