Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I think about what I will not miss

Yes. In four days, I will be literally non-working once again. This has many benefits, but most of them - in the beginning anyway - will be to do with what I do not have to do anymore (at least for a while). For e.g:

Working in the same office every day
Disclaimer: I work in one of those 'industries' where you do not make something tangible e.g. biscuits, and where you do not have to be literally looking in the face of the people who are your clients like you would if you were, for example, working in a shop or an actor on a stage.

I have yet to understand why (and if) the logic of working in the same office every day still makes sense in this day and age, what with technology etc. It is rare that clients work in the same building as you; in my case, they often work buildings that are in a different city or country, not just down the road, so most of the time when we are 'communicating' we do it with telephones and emails etc. If we need to look at each other in the face, we have a meeting. But most of the time we do not have to look at each other in the face, so do not need to be in the same building.

Talking to and looking in the face (some of) the people who work for the same company as you can be important, but is becoming increasingly less important as most people email/IM to talk nowadays even if they share a desk in the same office.

There are also 'smart phones', which allow you to review Excel spreadsheets whilst having a fish pedicure. All this means that the old-style idea of planting your bimpty in the same office every day seems curiouser and curiouser, invented, as it was, before computers and telephones existed.

All this aside, there is time (and money) wasted travelling to work every day, let alone the fact that it is almost impossible to do any work in the office for the following reasons:

1. People ask if you "have 5 minutes" 10 times a day, and they always need 20 minutes. It is OK (especially if it is your job to answer questions, give advice etc), but it adds up in no time. Before you know it, it is 4pm and Binky in head office accounts still needs his thing. (Note: people ask you if you "have 5 minutes" even if your door is shut with a big sign that says "cock off" on it. I know. I have tried.)

2. Distractions, which are everywhere - for e.g. people talking, singing, the weather changing, needing a wee, needing a cup of tea, remembering to go and tell someone something funny you saw 3 days ago, having a stiff foot, going to get pens, going to put things in the recycling bin, going upstairs to get something and forgetting why you were there, going to get lunch, etc etc. Distractions take up about 3 hours of every day, and that's excluding the necessary social chit-chat etc.

3. Other people generally. When they are not distracting you for "5 minutes", they are doing things like being late for meetings, making you do conference calls, talking to you in the corridor, showing off in a way that makes you pretend to stand around and be amused, 'being funny' in meetings, being annoying in a way that makes you so cross you can only stare at the wall and sweat for 15 minutes and/or go for a walk round the block, etc etc.

I strongly support the notion of "working from home" being a genuinely OK thing, not something people say when they can't bear the thought of looking at Binky from head office accounts for another day. Why do I say this? Because I think it is good for the soul, but more importantly, I am convinced it increases productivity by over 523%. For example, when I work at home, I am not lying around watching Oprah and posting things like "My cough is getting worse!" on Facebook. No. I am watching Oprah (and sometimes also coughing), but I am also able to do approximately ten times more work than if I am in the office, as well as saving one half-hour of travel time and the price of a bus fare (approx $2).

Having to be at work at the same time every day

Ticking people off for not being in at 9 (or whatever it is) if they are doing their work well and on time is the sort of thing Sting would do if he was a boss. Other versions of ticking off - and this is a particularly British habit I think - include saying things like "good afternoon!" and "nice of you to join us!" when someone comes in at 9.23. Fuck. Off.

When I rule the world, I will say to the people who will be begging to work for me that I do not care what time and where they do their work, as long as they get it done and as long as they do not behave like preening cockmonkeys in the process. Everyone works differently and is good at different times of day. For e.g. I can't look at anything to do with numbers after 11.45am and I always need a nap at around 3pm, but I have been known to write entire presentations (that make sense) between the hours of 2 and 4am.

Not being listened to

I have written about this before and it still makes me very very cross, simply because it is so puzzlingly stupid. The more work I do, and the longer I do it for, and the more years that pass, the more I realise that at the root of most problems is the fact that someone didn't listen to someone else.

Having to be civil to people you think are idiots

If I worked with Sting it would be OK, because I wouldn't be afraid to tell him I think he is an idiot. (N.B.: Sting would not be my boss - he would be my 'peer'. I would not be his boss because he would have manoeuvered his way up the slimy ladder using a combination of rough North-Eastern charm and sex-favours, whereas I would have been rewarded for my genius). But sadly, I do not work with Sting, which means that I am not able to tell anyone that they are an idiot, even if it is clear to everyone else that they are.

I think that is enough for now, although I know for a fact that as this week goes by I will think of more and more things I won't miss. For e.g. here is one other thing I won't miss: the man with the wet mouth with the mop in the lift who looks at ladies' breasts. And the pavement outside the office when it's been snowing and the gritter hasn't come. And the annoying man in the shoe shop on the ground floor who shouts "I've got some lovely new Camper for you - you like Camper!", when I don't.


Jane said...

How about people using words and/or phrases that either (a) mean nothing except "I am a preening cock monkey who wants to look like a leader" or (b) really mean something ordinary but they want to look clever? (Oh, that's (a) again then.)

For example (a): ""pinch point", "touch base: "show stopper" and "thinking outside the box". (Does anyone ever think inside a box? Just asking.)

For example (b): "Jane, we need your core competencies. Will you come on board?" means "Jane, you can do a bit of Powerpoint. Will you write the presentation for us?"


You have no idea how right you are. There's months and months of posts coming on this very subject. You will see. They are starting next week. You will love it. I know it. "Can we reach out next week?" No.

Waffle said...

I think your brain is badly broken when you can - even in a hypothetical scenario - conjure up the awful spectre of having Sting as your "peer". A spell of non-working is long overdue.

If I hear anyone say "low hanging fruit" around here again, I will amputate their low hanging fruits with a rusty fork.

Waffle said...

Sorry, NWM.By "here" I mean my workplace where I am looking at weblogs (at lunchtime, office behavioural police) Not your weblog. As you were.


I did not take it in that way at all, do not worry one bit. I think you and Jane are going to like (a lot) what I am going to work on when I stop working (you are right, my brain is still mushy and soft like the fat injected into Trudy Styler's lower lip) next week, which will involve me doing some motivational/management coaching-type posts featuring some of the expressions we enjoy so much. Fingers crossed!!!

Megan said...

What about meetings about having meetings? Recently I started a project where we met to discuss that there was going to be a project and someone said we should probably set up some meetings about that, after which there was an awed hush and someone else mentioned Tuesday would be good to get together to talk about when we would meet. Which we did. Only we did it twice. For over an hour.

tea and cake said...

... and the tea is NEVER any good at ANY office. eg you'll never hear the reverential sounds of 'mmm, that's a lovely cup of tea,' at the office, where, even if a proper coffee pot is provided, it tastes like shit.

tea and cake said...

... and, I recently found out that the person who brings the trolley round with the hot water flasks and pre-packed (for helf 'n safty) biscuits round was upset by a particular person some years ago. So, she put poison in his coffee! She was let off, though, as she has a learning difficulty.
I take my own flask and home made biscuits, now.

Jane said...

Wouldn't Sting actually make up his own salad of alfaf sprouts and other "biodynamics" while murmuring something priggish about the evils of saturated fat (butter) and machine-processed carbs (bread).

Bet he'd also hum a little tune just as you got to the tricky bit in the computer program you were writing. Then, just as you got back into it, he'd say, "oh, sorry."

Y S Lee said...

I love the word "bimpty". Thank you for that.

And Sting wouldn't use Tupperware. He'd have one of those stainless steel bento boxes with folding chopsticks for his fruit salad.

Frances said...

How about making some "Leave Me Alone, I'm Non-Working" badges or hats or something that I can wear to the office to ward off the idiots? Or perhaps a monkey-monogrammed portable electric fence to prevent the 'have you got 5 mins' people from getting close enough to interrupt?


Tea & Cake - am RIGID with glee about the poisoning tealady.

Jane, there is no telling what Sting will do next. The only thing we do know is that he will make a twat of himself. For e.g.:

"About 45 minutes southeast of florence, Italy, near the town of Figline Valdarno, there’s a place called Sting’s Café. This establishment is known to only a handful of insiders; to visit, you must first snag an invitation to Sting’s Tuscan home, a 900-acre estate known as Il Palagio, where the yoga-toned musician, his producer/actor/philanthropist wife, Trudie Styler, and their family spend the end of every summer. Their household staff christened the outdoor patio “Sting’s Café” because it’s where he often hangs out during the day, pushing oversize chess pieces around a giant marble board, enjoying a glass of wine or doing nothing at all."

What a fucking twat.

Y S Lee: yet again you are triumphantly right - he would, wouldn't he? Urg. Re. Bimpty: my grandparents (sounded quite posh) used to say it about todders' bottoms waddling around in nappies: "What a dear little bimpty!". Amazing.

Rachel - do not laugh. I am going to add this to my 'online shop'. Right now. You will see.

Icy Mt. said...

Lists of what you don't like about working...HUZZAH!!! Now that's properly non-working stuff there, old sock, old bean. Keep up the good work, let's have no bottlenecks in our production process.


Dearest Icy Mt, I am cracking my metaphorical knuckles, know what I'm saying? Any advice, topics etc (very gratefully) received as am paralysed by a) glee; and b) many ideas spurting out of my brain, most of them quite shit. Avanti!!!


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