In this life there are spooners and shakers. The spooners like the comfort of boundaries. When someone says “I’d like half a teaspoon of sugar with my coffee”, a spooner will diligently measure the requested amount of coffee and sugar, and you can be assured that your hot drink will be served at a reasonable strength and just sweet enough.
Shakers, on the other hand, live life on the edge. They have no need for utensils! Instead they prefer guesswork. You cannot be guaranteed consistency with a shaker. One day you might receive a potent, dark coffee that’s bitter and acrid until you hit the bottom where the unstirred heap of sugar (measured by eye) makes you gag and gives your pancreas something to think about. The next day, you may have a cup of slightly caffeinated, watery gnats wee and you chastise yourself for relinquishing control of your morning coffee.
I say this because in an office where people regularly offer to make you a drink, you have to choose wisely. Knowing who the spooners and the shakers are can be the difference between a good Monday morning and a bad one. However, there is one pitfall with some of the muckier spooners which could muddy the friendship between tea drinkers and coffee drinkers. It’s dirty habit which led to my cartoon of the week…
Last week my good friend and colleague, V, left our little team of four to return to her homeland, Ireland. In the year since I started, the four of us had become a well-oiled machine and despite having quite different personalities and interests, we gelled remarkably well.
V was perhaps my closest colleague and I enjoyed our daily routine of coffee making in the office kitchen where we would put the world to rights, discuss the weather, children, holidays, work and inevitably our weight. She’d often bemoan the fact that she’d expanded out of control since having her daughter and I’d tell her how I used to play a variety of sports that meant I could see my feet without having to physically lift my belly upwards and inwards. Ironically, and more often than not, these conversations took place as we both reached for a piece of cake from the endless supply of calorific goodies brought in by colleagues celebrating birthdays, holidays, house moves, the Grand Depart, football or just living.
There were two such conversations that still make me giggle when I think of them. The first involved an ill-fitting cream dress that V had shoehorned herself into. She exclaimed that the multiple rolls of flab, accentuated by the tight dress made her look like a giant ‘witchetty grub’ – an image that fills me with mirth. I hasten to add that V is not actually very large at all which makes the stories all the more entertaining.
I decided to draw the second conversation because it just sums up our chit chat. I shall certainly miss V as I make coffee on my own and look longingly at the cakes.
I have to say that I’m thoroughly enjoying office life! Little do they know that our day to day interactions are being recorded in cartoon format!
Day 2: Being back in the office after nearly four years of working from home is more draining than I’d expected. I’m wading my way through reams of induction paperwork on policies and practices, strategies and work plans and am still reeling from the newly acquired business support co-ordinator who is ever so efficiently managing my calendar. I’m not used to having my life arranged for me – it’s novel if a little daunting – and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to give up my independence. I also appear to have stepped onto the acronym mothership and am bewildered by the ever growing list: ELMA, BA, TOM, BIS, ERDMS, SDS, ASC, CHAT, CMD, PMT, LOL, BTW, WTF?!
Assimilation into a clique (should one exist, no doubt it does) will probably take time but the office gossip has kept me entertained if a little distracted. I had forgotten quite how noisy 50 people coming and going can be – there is so much eavesdropping to be done.
I’ve done it! I have found myself a new job and gleefully handed in my resignation! I leaped through rings of fire at my job interview, presenting the biggest, boldest, most articulate and inspiring side of myself – I was a true performing monkey for 2 whole hours!
So now, after three long years of working from home, I will bathe myself in colleagues and office gossip. I will go to the office parties and invite people for drinks after work. I will speak to an IT person if my computer is broken and talk to people about my workload before making a coffee for the person sitting opposite me. I will commute with a solemn look on my face and groan when I miss the bus. I will clock watch on a Monday then kick my heels up with that Friday feeling at the end of the week. I will clear my bedroom of mountains of paperwork and liberate my shelf space to join the millions of you out there who call yourself an OFFICE WORKER!
I know I have been somewhat tiresome with my recent rants about work, but it is one of my biggest irritations, no, hates at the moment. I’ve reached my absolute fill, the homeworking quota has been exceeded, my own company is becoming tedious and I have to escape. I daydream about the good old days (with rose tinted glasses of course) when I worked in an office. Oh how I miss the daily commute, the people watching, the office gossip, the office politics, the impromptu drinks after work and the regular, face to face contact with other human beings. As the years tick by, I feel I’m slowly losing the ability to communicate, I’m becoming introverted and find it difficult to make idle chit chat with people who ask ‘how has your week been?’. For the most part, my working weeks are quiet, monotonous, uneventful, uninteresting, uninspiring…you get the drift.
As my other half comes home each evening, eager to plonk on the sofa and relax in the peace and quiet, I’m looking to escape the confines of the apartment which seems to be getting smaller by the day. That’s the problem you see, if you don’t go to work, then you don’t come home from work – it all just blurs into one. There’s no shaking off the day when you walk out of the office building. I just turn from my work computer to my home computer – I’m in the same chair, at the same desk, in the same box room. I eat dinner, I go to bed, I get up, eat breakfast and sit at my desk ready to do it all over again. *Sigh* I think the ideal balance would be to work in an office three days a week and have two very focused days at home. That way I could have the best of both worlds because no matter how much I whinge, there are definitely some upsides to working at home.
Anyway, before you start playing your mini violins, here is today’s cartoon on the subject: