Sunday, 15 January 2012

LIFESTYLE: Office Perils and Blunders

Below I discuss some of the obstacles faced in the battleground of office etiquette, along with some sure-fire ways to make a complete tit of yourself, tested by yours truly.

Peril: The Office Feeders
Beware the office feeders. These creatures will bring in food that they don’t want to eat under the pretence of generosity. They will then offer it around, you don’t want to eat it either, but you will out of an absurd feeling of obligation.

It is this invisible force of obligation which means that if Janet from accounts offers a 2 month old tin of stale biscuits round that she no longer wants now she’s trying to lose her Christmas weight I can’t say ‘no’, but will tuck in anyway so as not to seem rude.

If people bring in home baked goods then it’s not so bad, at least they’ve put some effort in, regardless of whether it should come with a health warning or not; however it’s slightly different when blatant offloading is going on. A woman at work recently brought in some frozen brownies and defrosted them on a plate in the middle of the office. As she offered them round I tried to refuse, saying I’d have one later with a cup of tea, yet she looked so crestfallen I ended up taking one. As I bit into a half frozen brownie from Iceland that I didn’t really want I realised I’d been defeated yet again. This is the power the office feeders have, good luck trying to resist it.

Blunder: Computers, Photocopiers, Printers
For some reason I do not get on with the majority of electrically powered office appliances. This is usually down to my own idiocy, such as putting stapled bits of paper through photocopiers. Not the worst crime against humanity one could commit, but enough to get a knowing tut and a role of the eyes from my long suffering colleagues.

My worst faux pas to date has to be when I was working on a computer before it unexpectedly decided to switch itself off. Being a tech savvy 21st century gal, I did the obvious thing and tried the ‘on’ button, but no luck. My confused colleagues took my word for it and turned to the only possible solution, to call a technician. I was pleasantly surprised when a cute tech guy turned up who I hadn’t seen before, and wondered where he’d been hiding. As I demonstrated that the ‘on’ button wasn’t working in the most attractive way possible, and sat trying to look seductively involved in my paperwork, it took him 5 minutes of fiddling about before he announced the answer to the problem in a pissed off tone, ‘you turned it off at the wall.’

Trying to make a joke of it he didn’t seem very amused, I later found out that it was probably because he’d travelled from twenty minutes away, our office not having its own department of in house cute technicians. I now stay away from power switches and the jokes about keeping me in a padded room have just about died down.

Peril: The Office Nemesis
At one job where I was temping I became the target of a woman’s mid-life crisis angst and her ensuing hate campaign. Not usually a fan of nepotism, I had got the job through a relative, but figured that using my contacts to get a job filing for four weeks in order to fund my travels wasn’t the worse abuse of power I could commit.

The woman in question worked in the IT department, so she already had an advantage over my weakness. She didn’t begrudge my presence out of any kind of principal, but because her son wasn’t doing the job instead. She made her animosity obvious through the usual pathetic acts of blanking me, moaning about me to other people and generally being rude. All things I could take in my stride. But she took things one step too far when she made my computer log in ‘child’. I won’t deny I’m slightly sensitive about the fact that my ‘baby face’ means people only realise I’m not on work experience when I don’t vanish after 2 weeks, and she had dared to take it there. I retaliated in the only way I knew how, to topple her reputation as baker extraordinaire, taking in an impressive array of my own home made goods. The baking battle line had been drawn as my red velvet cupcakes took on her famed lemon drizzle, to much success I'm happy to add.

I guess the motto is, if you can’t beat them, join them.  


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