Blog : Post Category : The Office : Page 1

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Milk (redux)

In which FP gets a reluctant refund


A couple of people have, for reasons best known to themselves, asked how I’m getting on with the office milk lady since we fell out. Well, I don’t think I’m any more popular with her than I was. Fed up of there being no milk, and fed up of the woman in question – Administrator Of The Tea Fund – refusing to accept that tea supplies were anything to do with her, I told her that in that case she could give me back the balance of what I’d put into the fund, and I’d make my own arrangements from now on. Which might have been a bit petty, the balance being only 20p, but there you go.

She said “I’ll give you it later.” A few hours later, she phoned me up.

“Have you stopped chucking your little tantrum yet?” she said. “We’ve got some milk in – are you back in the fund or do you still want your money back?”

“I’ll have my money back, please.”

“You’ll be very thirsty this afternoon then.”

“Er, no I won’t be.”

“Well it’s very silly of you, you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face.”

There was a pause. I wasn’t entirely sure what she expected me to say, other than possibly start begging for her forgiveness.

“So are you back in the tea fund now?” she continued, persistently.

“No, I’d still like my 20p back please.”

“Well, I gave you one last chance. I’ll get some change and bring it down for you in a few minutes. You said you don’t want your 20p back?” A nasty little switch at the end there.

“No, I’d still like my 20p back please.”

“Fine. I’ll see you later.”

So, a few minutes later she came downstairs, slammed 20p on my desk, and went away again. And since then, all has been peace and quiet. I can see why some colleagues, those who have to work with her more, don’t like her very much, though, after that conversation. This is someone whose job is to talk to customers over the phone, take orders, and so on – it makes me wonder if she tries doubling back on herself and making quickly misleading switches when she’s on the phone to customers as well as to colleagues.

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Milk

In which we upset colleagues


At the office, I’ve been doing more to make myself unpopular. Specifically: I’ve fallen out with the woman who runs the tea fund.

My complaint is this: if you run the tea fund, then you’re responsible for buying tea, milk, coffee, sugar, and so on. If I give you money, to buy tea, then your job is to make sure tea gets bought. Tea Fund Lady – who has only taken the task on recently – did not see things this way. She was there to collect the money. The money sat in her drawer, and anyone who wanted to go and buy supplies could go and get some. Buying supplies herself, though, was entirely out of the question. It was entirely impossible, she said, because she doesn’t have a car. I was tempted to set up a “Stop The Tea Fund Lady Starving!” campaign, because if buying groceries is that difficult I’m not sure how she manages to stay alive.

So, the way I see it, I may as well manage things myself from now on. Have my own tea bags and my own milk, and see how much it ends up costing me. We will see.

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Everyday life

In which the truth gets told


The last couple of years, I’ve posted “guess which bits are true” posts on April 1st.

I didn’t particularly feel like trying to fool anyone this year. Things have been a bit too stressful, lately, for me to spend much time writing here; for me to spend much time writing true things, never mind about making things up.

Work has been rather busy lately; a lot of upheaval. I’ve heard it said that when you see people under stress, it can bring out new qualities in them. It hasn’t seemed true, to me. It’s pushed people to become more extreme versions of their ordinary selves. The tetchy people are tetchier, the people who flap around panicking panic more, and the arse-lickers use their tongue ever more often. And, on the other hand, the nice friendly people are just as nice and friendly as ever.

At least everything else is going well. And we didn’t get too snowed-in, camping. I could tell it was a good sign when K – who had never been camping before – started saying “the next time we go camping, we’ll have to…”

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Infamy

In which FP discovers more people read this site than he thought


I went for a drink with people from the office. This may have been a mistake – on the other hand, it’s better to know things.

“Oh, we all read your blog,” said someone from the Accounts department. “Your boss told us he reads it too. We know you change all the names, so we try and work out who everyone is. ______ was convinced that she was ‘the cute one from the Accounts office’ and we kept trying to persuade her that it wasn’t her.”

Maybe it’s a good thing I haven’t mentioned work much in the past few months, then. Or, alternatively, now I know they’re reading, that might mean I can mention them more. With it all understood and on the level.

(Yes, I know, I have to think about things to post before I can decide whether to post them or not)

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Ouch

In which we wonder what happened to Big Dave


Talking of Room 3B (the IT office): long-term readers (who remember the air-conditioning fight) might be wondering what Big Dave has been up to for the past few months, since he left, and what he’s been up to.

Well, the answer is, I don’t really know. He’s popped into the office, once or twice, since then. He’s kept in touch with a few people round the building. But I don’t really know what he’s been up to. The only news I have is: Big Dave’s broken his jaw. How he broke his jaw is a mystery. It’s very possible that he doesn’t know himself, of course. So, unfortunately, no tales of entertaining-but-horrific fights outside bars. No tales of unlikely-but-possible accidents involving server racks or poorly-secured hard disks. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

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Back away from the phone and breathe slowly

In which people refuse to be in the wrong


Or, the support call from hell.

I will summarise. A known nuisance. She says she’s reporting an error that she’s told me about many, many times before. I, of course, have never heard of the error message she’s reporting. I tell her the general resolution steps: click on X, Y and Z in that order. It doesn’t work, so I ask her to reboot her computer and phone back.

She phones back, ten minutes later. “I did Q, Y and Z, like you asked me to…”

I ask her to repeat, to confirm she isn’t confused.

“Yes, you definitely told me to do Q, Y and Z.”

“I’m sorry, but I thought I asked you to do X, not Q?” For one thing, Q doesn’t take you to a place you can do Y. So if you did that, you’re clearly lying about having done anything at all.

“I know what you told me to do – you definitely asked me to do Q. Now, can you just fix my computer instead of arguing about you said this and that?”

I despair, sometimes. I wonder how people who don’t listen to anything they’re told, who expect the world to organise itself around them for their own benefit, ever get to where they are in life.

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Smoking

In which the office suddenly becomes a much busier place


Room 3B (IT Office) is – as is standard practice for Room 3Bs and IT Offices, I think – located deep in a remote part of the Head Office building. Not many people pass our door, other than the people in the adjacent rooms. Not many people pop by to say hello, because our office isn’t exactly in a well-trafficked part of the building. Sometimes this is a good thing. We don’t get disturbed much, when we’re busy.*

That’s all about to change. Tonight, the Upstairs Smoking Room closes, and we’re suddenly on a busy corridor – the direct route from the Busy Offices to the new Outdoor Smoking Area – or, the bike shed, as it’s also known. To be fair, it was built specially for the new workplace smoking law. On the other hand, it is definitely a bike shed; there’s a bike rack in it.

Some of the management are a bit unhappy about this. Not because it might mean extra fraternisation with the IT department, but because of the distance involved, crossing from one side of the building to the other to reach the Outdoor Smoking Area. It might mean smoking breaks being extended by a whole 2 minutes or so, just to cross the office. Me, I don’t particularly care; although if people are going to pass by and say hello more, it can’t be a bad thing.

* Although, of course, you can guarantee that when we do get interrupted, it’ll be when we are busy.

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Frustration

In which things always go wrong … unless FP wants them to go wrong


Or, A Work Story.

We need a new printer. The MD says: “Order a new printer!” Our manager waits until he’s out of earshot, then says: “get Spare Printer X working and use that instead.”

So, I find Spare Printer X out, and do manage to get it working. I test it. It seems to be fine. But then, a strange thing starts happening.

I give it a page to print. Let’s call it Page A. It prints it. All is well.

I test a different page. Page B. The printer happily prints another copy of Page A.

A third page to the printer? Out comes Page A again.

Let’s try a four-page document. I get: four copies of Page A.

Switch to a different application. It works! It prints what I tell it to – Page X this time.

I print Page Y from that application. I get Page X again.

Go back to the first program. Still printing Page A.

Let’s reboot the printer. Let’s print. Oh look, Page A.

OK, it’s not the printer. Let’s reboot the printer, and the computer, wait ten minutes, turn them back on. Check there are no files spooled and waiting. Print something. Out comes: Page A. Now this, surely, is physically impossible.*

The boss pops down to check how I’m getting along. “It’s borked,” I say. “It only ever prints copies of the first thing you told it to print. It’s useless. Look.” I repeat my last, failed, print request. It prints perfectly. Arse.

“Looks fine to me,” says the boss. “Put it in, and see if they have any problems.”

Of course, I know it’s never going to work now.

* or at least, extremely improbable, if you follow Sherlock Holmes’ philosophy.

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The returner

In which we have a visitor


A quiet afternoon at the office yesterday. Everyone sitting around waiting for the bank holiday weekend to start. And then, the bell rings.

Someone’s back.

It’s Big Dave.

He wandered round the office, saying hello to everyone, complaining about how noone would let him get away, looking slightly dazed as everyone stopped work and gathered around him.

He was only visiting, which sadly means I still won’t be able to fill this blog up with vicarious stories about the women he’s slept with and the men he’s beaten up. In fact, he didn’t seem to have many things to tell us at all, aside from: his new job is great, he gets on with everyone, and he’s really enjoyed the past three months since he left. It was strange to see him back here, especially next too Wee Dave. In many ways, Wee Dave is the Anti-Big-Dave, so I was kind of expecting an explosion and puff of smoke if they ever did meet, the two mutually vanishing in some quantum space-time event.

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Shredder update

In which the broken shredder is sensibly disposed of, to our disappointment


The shredder didn’t go anywhere, in the end. Before anyone could lift it, the branch office phoned up and said: “don’t throw it away! Fix it!” I explained it was unfixable, by me at any rate. So, they phoned up the office secretary and said: “don’t let FP throw it away! Find someone competent to fix it!” The office secretary told them to stop being silly, and started shopping for a replacement, before throwing the broken one out in a sensible, unimaginative fashion. I was mildly disappointed.

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