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Cathy

Posted: July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Do some work and stop reading this…..

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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!


I have been evicted from my old position as the neighbour, confidant and sometime nemesis of Gary(th) and have been forcibly relocated into the far corner of the battery farm we call the office. For those who saw that Hugh Fernley Whittingfool documentary on cheap chickens I am stood on one leg below the far water feeder by the CD hanging from the roof, and for any of you who know this place I am now in the corner opposite our change control monkeys……. In other words and you can’t sugar coat this (if you did the woman that doesn’t do anything would have eaten it before I could publish it) I have been relegated to remedial central.
I have no idea who I have offended, and the list is long, but clearly I have upset the apple cart and now the smiley HR bailiffs have moved me and my pitiful box of belongings from my nice comfy desk with the beautiful people, and Gary(th), and forcibly relocated me into a dark corner with the lost, the lame and the loony, none of who seem to be toilet trained. It’s comparable to moving from a nicely sized Surrey country house, nothing too ostentatious, no heli pad or indoor pool, into a Leeds tenement that you have to share with drug addicts, the homeless and that annoying twat who presents Deal or no Deal. And before you think it, yes I do know his name I just can’t bring myself to type it.
So in keeping with my wish to involve you in the trials and tribulations of my career such that it is, here are short biogs of my new cell mates. If you recognise yourself in any of these descriptions then the fiendishly good looking man sat next to you might well be the world famous RLD. Oh and if you think it is you and someone keeps leaving packs of Tena lady pants, the odour eating ones on your desk, maybe you should take a hint and strap one on, please!

So then, in no particular order we have;

Kenneth Battleship

Kenneth, never Ken or Kenny, is the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back, assuming you were swapping it for several thousand pounds and a better shirt. More fashion unconscious than fashion conscious he has been in this place long enough to know that advancement is unlikely and resistance is futile. Keeps an Evian bottle filled with Gordon’s Gin in his desk that he thinks no-one knows about and has a mysterious predilection for mouldy fruit which he stacks up in neat piles like some sort of sexual homage to the man from Del Monte. The cleaners threw some of the more furry bits away recently and Kenneth’s wrath was awesome to behold.

Kenneth does not smell of his or anyone else’s wee.

Rupunzal Granola

The Doyenne of the department, she puts the ‘pun’ into Rupunzal alright. Rupunzal keeps pigeons, in a loft and races them, for fun. I shoot at pigeons, cook and eat them, for fun. I am not expecting an invite to visit Chez Granola anytime soon, and that’s fine, but I do wish she’d see the funny side of me attaching pigeon wings to her cycle helmet (she looked a little like a very angry Asterisk) and not keep hiding pieces of glass in my lunch.

Rupunzal does not smell of her or anyone else’s wee.

Sara Beetroot
I have mentioned Sara before; she steals tea money from me. Fanatical about the imaginary divide between my desk and hers the East German border police could have learned a thing or two about protecting the Berlin wall from this lass. If so much as the corner of a post it note accidentally crosses the great divide its like world war III but with tutting and eye rolling instead of real war stuff.
My dear old Gran used to say, anyone who has an ‘America’s next top model’ mouse mat at work needs to be treated with healthy respect and whilst I might not want her awards for gymkhana displayed on the wall next to my chair at least it shows she has interests outside of work other than taxidermy. Sara has a somewhat obvious crush on Kenneth and rumour has it she has a copy of his staff pass photo laminated and hidden under the sun visor of her car.

edit – no smell of wee – ever ever ever – Sara smells lovely, too nice sometimes in fact – it makes me all red faced and breathless!

It’s always been adapt or die in the big brother house that is this place, but if any of you had told me last year that in 12 months time I’d be pining for Gary(th) and his technology fetish then I would have slapped you round the face with a wet fish and called you a liar but here we are, no wet fish, no Gary(th) instead we have the heady aroma of gin and last weeks wee. Oh how the mighty have fallen.


Contrary to general opinion most people that work here are generally pretty skint, Sara Beetroot who sits across from me actually keeps a spreadsheet to monitor her daily in and out goings (money, not the other sort) and if things fall in the red she pleads poverty and a bad foot and forces me to buy her tea and food. Bearing this all in mind you might be unsurprised to realise that it’s not uncommon for staff here to augment their income using other means.
There are those who choose to make jewellery from bits of old rabbit hutch and hawk them on e-bay as examples of original San bushman shaman regalia. There are those who choose to give massages with or without happy endings behind the bike sheds (yes we do have bike sheds, yes you can get behind them, no there is generally no happy ending) and there are those who take an altogether more perilous route and open up their homes to foreign students.

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle which in my case is quite accurate. My house is falling down, I have birds nesting in the ruined chimney and my porch bears a frightening resemblance to a drawbridge that has been ravaged by a marauding band of Vikings. Take all that into account though and I can heave a huge sigh of relief that what I do not have is a lost fourteen year old Columbian boy in national dress wandering round at night looking for the toilet!
The thought of having my house invaded by homesick foreign teenagers makes me want to pull my teeth out…….through my arse! Teenagers are rather like the Albanians, lazy, surly and smelly with random mood and opinion swings and a penchant for never changing their socks. Imagine all that coupled with an inability to speak our language and the need to clean up after them and make their breakfast and dinner everyday and you are starting to see how the marauding Vikings are looking like the more attractive option, not that I find blonde beardy men in armour and pointy helmets arousing I’d like to add!

So anyway I have decided to come up with some fun uses for foreign students, aside from the money of course that could make their stay with you constructive and enjoyable, for you at least.

Dress them up and fight them – for example if you have a Spaniard and a Russian staying (they tend to split up nationalities by the way) you could dress the Ivan as a bull and give Pedro a cape and some skewers, hours of fun! Bored with that then you can play Chechen insurgents…. All you need is a fur hat for each of them, some sharpened spoons and a media blackout. You could always ask for specific nationalities for a specific historical event, do you have a hankering to re-enact the battle of Stalingrad? Simply ask for a German (or Hungarian) and a Russian …..simples……

Teach them the wrong words for things – They are here to learn and learn they shall, its just funnier if you teach them that the name for a kettle is ‘Darth Vader’ and the way to ask someone the time is to say ‘please, my buttocks hurt, do you have any margarine?’

Hire them out – no, NOT for that! You could hire them out to your friends and relatives as cleaners, chimney sweeps or to play the parts of foreign child sized chess set pieces at garden parties.

Play Mind Games – hide fake body parts in the fridge and a chainsaw behind the sofa. Measure them up with a measuring tape when they arrive and start to build a coffin in the lounge. After the first day when they arrive back from school dress up as a pirate and pretend you have no idea who they are. You are only constrained by your imagination and how quickly the police can find someone to translate the 999 call and send a car round.

When I started writing this I was dead against opening my doors to students and wanted to poke fun at those who do, but the more I think about it the more uses I can find for them and the more I am warming to the idea of being paid to have a pet that I can give back when I get bored. The only sticking point, not sure Mrs. D will have the same outlook as me.


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?

tribesmen

Say hello to my new management team, they couldn’t do a worse job than the present incumbents.
Left to Right – Bernard Feathernose, 2 Dogs Copulating, Bonaparte Nostril and Trigger.

To coin an old adage ‘It’s a jungle out there’ which to be honest is less daunting that you might first think.…..jungles are easy places to live and even thrive compared to an office environment, think about it, Mega Mears, God botherer Bear and the legions of bark smoking loonies from the Amazon basin whom Bruce Parry insists on pestering all seem perfectly happy wearing grass skirts and chasing their dinner round with a spear, lets face it, its as easy as falling out of a hollowed out log canoe!
Take me out of the concrete jungle and parachute me screaming like a girl into the leafy one and I’d be fine for at least a few days if not longer- I can eat frogs and other stupid things attracted using the standard Nokia ring tone on my mobile (I have been reliably informed it sounds very similar to the mating call of the lesser spotted Bolivian flying squirrel) I could fashion a still from a shoe and my Y fronts and make vodka from banana leaves and believe you me if you have never had frog ala banana leaf vodka then you have not lived my friends.
Anyway my point really is this, put me into a frog eat frog real world survival situation and I’d be moderately ok for a while but put the Umbutu people from the arse end of Papua New Guinea into my office and they would be dead within the hour, either from gross boredom, stress induced by gross boredom, being ambushed by our change control idiot or similar gruesome end.
I hate to see our Change Control idiot happy, it irks me nearly as surely as double joggers nipple on a cold morning so I have compiled the following handy survival kit list for all my Umbutu followers out there just in case they ever take a wrong turning down by the river and find themselves in my florescent hell.

1) Ipod or not fruity less cool substitute

If it wasn’t for my headphones and the soothing calming melodies of ‘people equal shit’ by Slipknot the monotonous drone of Gary(th) my neighbour would have driven me to suicide. At least I would have made it look like suicide, or maybe a freak accident – people trip and bludgeon themselves to death with a monitor all the time, its practically a daily occurrence isn’t it?

2) Pocket full of loose change

Without the means to use the new utterly shite drinks vending machines you will either die of dehydration or be forced to drink from a toilet bowl like an Albanian peasant and die of diphtheria, AIDS or Ebola. Personally though the jury is still out as to if death is not preferable to ingesting the sludgy chemical waste that passes for beverages here.

3) Blow pipe and Curare tipped darts

Just because I am imagining shooting my boss with one and then watching him fall over forward like that bloke from Indiana Jones with a back full of quills, do you think it is possible to make that look like an accident or maybe some bizarre sexual fetish game gone wrong?

4) A Management bullshit into Umbutu phrase book

Available from all good publishers and Asda. Without it you will be a stranger in a strange land with no knowledge of the language and practices of the natives, if you can’t put it on the backburner and deep dive with the best of them you will be cast asunder and end up in the post room never to escape.

5) Jaguar skin cloak complete with claws and teeth

Because nothing gets to the front of the queue in the coffee shop quicker than impersonating a jaguar, honest…… apart from possibly a two person full grown polar bear costume but lets not get carried away.

6) A Chilled bottle of Vintage Krug Champagne

For no other reason than even this mired cess pit of despair could be transformed into a veritable Eden by the liberal application of vintage Krug, not to mention the fact that the Umbutu people are not known for their alcohol tolerance and the though of a pissed stig of the dump gambolling round the office with a bone through his nose amuses me.

18c61d10_BadNeighbours
I have a new neighbour at work.
This might not seem a big deal to those of you who work out in the big old wide world and can get to see daylight and stuff but to us battery farm types its big news and critical to our continued well being and happiness. We are forced to spent at least 8 hours a day together in close proximity so any niggling issues soon fester into massive ebola ridden running sores and can turn the most mild mannered janitor type into Ian Huntley.
Imagine if you will the impact of getting a new cell mate in prison, you have a very small personal space that you are forced to spend most of your waking hours in and for better or for worse you are inextricably linked to them….. its like being married I suppose but with more sex!
Their farts and morning breath impact on your senses, their dandruff and flaky eczema drift across your field of vision to settle like the first snows of winter on your lunch, their annoying nasal whine is the mosquito in the darkened bedroom that you can never locate, conversations with their wife about their senile parents latest toilet disaster invades your dreams like a thief in the night. In short and without any effort on their part they can metamorphose swiftly and irrevocably into your nemesis!
Of course it could go either way, you might get that rarest of rare beast, someone you click with on every level, who laughs at your crap jokes, fetches you coffee when you are stuck on the phone to India and starting to sob and doesn’t snitch on you to the thought police for spending all day planning your next holiday that the non existent bonus you’ll never get is supposed to pay for.That sort of person though is rarer that rocking horse shit and the chance of having them move in next door is about as likely as Heather Mills winning the sports day parents sack race.
Enter stage left my new ‘cellie’ Gary (not his real name, its really Gareth but for anonymities sake I can’t tell you that) I suppose the acid test for any new relationship of this kind is would I feel comfortable letting Gary(th) meet my mother? the answer to that is an unequivocal and resounding yes, assuming this meeting was held over the bonnet of my mothers car doing fifty miles an hour that is.
Gary(th) is the kind of guy that would give an aspirin a headache. He is in his forties, lives with his parents has an unhealthy interest in train sets and crab sticks and is banned from every pets r us store in the country – in fact why go to the effort of having to decipher my shaky prose to describe him when I could just introduce you with this.
I could forgive him the odd sexual proclivity, I mean what goes on between closed doors toilet or otherwise is none of my business but that thing with the crab sticks is starting to get to me! I don’t know where he secretes them upon his person but he does. I can close my eyes and I don’t have to imagine Billingsgate fish market on a sweltering summers day I just have to inhale and I’m there. In fact its getting so bad I have cats and seagulls following me home and I am definitely not imagining Rick Stein (sans Chalky, ha ha) hidden in my hedge sharpening a knife!
Worse than using his bum as a makeshift train tunnel and his need to don fishnets and stuff processed seafood into every available orifice is, and prepare yourself for this, is that he is a proper Christian.
I don’t mean one of those meek and mild turn the other cheek and tut when you swear types this guy has actually been a missionary in Africa and converted quite happy harmless nomadic smiling goat herders into pious annoying twats who are in fear of their moral souls whatever that means. Given half the chance I’d be hoisted up by my thumbs and filled with olive oil whilst this guy and his friends danced round shouting ‘repent’ ‘repent’ and waving fluffy cushions.
In summary Gary(th) is on an annoyance par with syphilis aside from the cheery thought that syphilis is curable with penicillin whereas he is not, I do suppose though that a sharp HB pencil if jabbed in the correct place and with the correct pressure might do the trick.

Gary(th) if by any chance you read this, mine’s a coffee, 2 sugars there’s a good chap, amen eh!