Blog : Post Category : The Office : Page 2

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Disposal

In which we’re trying to get rid of something


I have been wrestling with a shredder.

A dead shredder, not a switched-on one – that would be silly. Wrestling with a dead shredder gave me at least a fighting chance of not having my fingers chewed off.

It was all the fault of the branch office staff over in Another Part Of The Forest. Their shredder was dead, making horrible noises, they’d tried oiling it, nothing was working. So, it turned up in Room 3B (IT Office) for me to deal with. I took it apart, scattering chaff all over my desk. I pulled chunks of oiled paper from the jammed-up cutters. I dragged a length of plastic, of some kind, from between them.* I picked out all the paper I could see with tweezers, and made a minor blood-sacrifice with my fingers. But nothing would bring it back to life.

Which itself raised a problem. How do you dispose of an office shredder? We’ve tried putting things like that in our office skip before: it generated irate skip-collectors. They’re a bit big for the waste paper basket. So I came up with a plan. I drew up a sign. “Valuable! Do not throw out!” and stuck it onto the side of the shredder, before parking the shredder in Reception, by the door. With any luck it’ll be gone tomorrow. I’ll let you know how we get on.

* “Oh no,” said the manager from Another Part Of The Forest on the phone later, “we’d never put any sort of plastic through it!”

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Observational

In which the toilet was definitely there, Your Honour


Wee Dave has been at the office a couple of months now, nearly, and seems to be settling in nicely. He quickly picked up on which managers were friendly, which were annoying, and which were just best avoided.

The other day, though, I was in the toilet, relieving myself, when Dave comes in and nips into a cubicle. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. Except that later, he says: “I’d never seen that urinal before! I didn’t realise it was there! I went in the toilet and saw you – and I thought you were just pissing up the wall!”

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Meanwhile, moving on…

In which we’re blown about


The world turns, things change, and another week is over.

Wee Dave seems to be settling in well at the office. We seem to agree on a frightening number of things, many more than I did with Big Dave. The office still hasn’t been blown to bits by the wind, although it came fairly close. The office toilets are jammed up in the attic, spread out across creaking roof-beams, and sitting up there in a heavy gale sounds, I imagine, like riding in a hard-pushed galleon sailing across the Atlantic.

The storm seems to have been blowing everyone’s heads about, upsetting people, breaking things up, putting people on edge. I blame it for all that fraught Big Brother stuff that I’m steadfastly refusing to watch.

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Windy

In which there is a howling blast


Room 3B (the IT Office) lies deep inside the building. We never get fresh air, and there’s never any sign what time of day it is outside, or what the weather’s doing. Rain, sun, snow, whatever, nothing ever reaches Room 3B.

Until today, that is. Today, it was so windy, the wind broke through. A horrible howl burst from the air conditioning, before suddenly a huge cloud filled the room. A cloud of dust and chunks of plaster, blown out of the ceiling void through all the little joints in the ceiling. I spluttered and coughed, as pale pink dust settled on me, on Wee Dave, all over our desks. The weather had finally broken in.

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Unstoppable

Which fits him to a T


One of the friendlier managers at the office was down in London at the weekend, and so met up with Big Dave for a drink, to see how he’s been getting on for the past couple of weeks.

“So how is he?” I asked.

The manager’s face creased into a broad smile. “UNSTOPPABLE!” he roared.

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The more things change the more they stay the same

In which someone new arrives


Back at the office.

We never had time to clear Big Dave’s desk. I swiped a nice two-foot ruler, but that was all, before Wee Dave replaced him.

He seems a nice-enough man. It’s hard to tell what he’s really going to be like, when the pressure is on and we really have work to do. At the moment he’s uncomfortable, like he’s walking in a new pair of shoes, slightly awkwardly, trying to break himself in. I was in a terrible mood all day, so I feel slightly bad that I wasn’t more welcoming.

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Notoriety

In which we’ve been banned


Well, I’ve passed a milestone, or so I’ve been told. This site has finally been banned somewhere! If you’re an employee of a certain large courier company, you won’t be reading this, at least not at work. It’s not China, but it’s a start. I was chatting to someone about it in the pub last night; they were mildly disappointed not to have all this rubbish to read when they’re stuck at their desk. Poor thing.

Big Dave’s still here, for another week at least, but his replacement has been announced. He’s also called Dave, of course, and he’s starting in January. I have no idea how large or small he is, but I’m going to have to call him Wee Dave just for symmetry. I’m not really looking forward to it.

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We love enthusiatic amateurs

In which there’s work to do, to take our minds off disgusting art


Today, the boss spent the afternoon over at our warehouse. It’s fifty miles away, so it does at least keep him well out of our hair, with no risk of him suddenly popping down to find me and Big Dave playing poker,* or The Good-Looking One From Accounts skiving behind my desk.**

Right after he left to come back over to Head Office, one of the warehouse staff phoned:

“Your boss was on my computer for ages fiddling about with stuff. And now it doesn’t work.”

Oh, hurrah. That was the rest of the afternoon gone, then – working out just what he’d done. I realised what he’d been trying to do; and had to work back from there to sort out what he actually did.

Ah, well. To change the subject: have you ever been browsing the web and thought: why the hell would anyone want to do that? Tonight I came across: spermcube.*** It’s all in the name of art, apparently. If you want to know more reasons why it’s a bad idea – other than just “ewww” – read this.

* for our collection of spare computer case screws. I reckon I’m about 15% up on him at the moment.

** if she kneels next to my chair, and the door is shut, you can’t see her through the window.

*** link via Rod Begbie, who I remember being a prolific Sinisterine back in the day

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Miscellany

In which various things happen, and FP listens to Thought For The Day


First Christmas present bought already, but I’m still going to have to devote the weekend to running around the county hoping desperately to find something inspirational. I’m not saying what I’ve already bought. It’s for my dad, and I don’t think he reads this place, but you never know.

When I get up in the morning, I have Radio 4 on in the background. I like Radio 4, but I normally try very hard to avoid listening to Thought For The Day, in case of the very real risk that it will make me want to throw the radio through the kitchen window.* Today though, I caught a quick flash of it. I can’t remember the exact phrase I heard, but it was something along the lines of “lots of Christians use phrases like ‘God willing’ and ‘if God wishes it’ all the time”. Which left me rather puzzled, because even though I’ve known a large number of devout Christians over the years, none of them have ever said any such thing in normal conversation. Maybe one of the good aspects of Thought For The Day is that it makes you realise there are people out there whose view of the world is so partial and skewed, that they really do believe they are standard conversational phrases, just because that’s what all their friends say.

I was talking to someone last night about the next Book I Haven’t Read that I’m going to write about: House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. “Oh, I don’t think anyone’s read that all the way through,” she said. “I don’t think you can.” So maybe I should invite additional contributions to the next Book I Haven’t Read post – if you have read House Of Leaves all the way through without cheating, let me know.

Big Dave says he’s found a flat now. A “one-bed studio flat”, or what people Up North** still call a bedsit. At least this means he has the weekend to do his Christmas shopping in, rather than worrying about property-hunting trips down to Barking and Beckton.

* especially if Anne Atkins is the writer/presenter.

** apart from if you’re a property developer, of course. Or you live in Leeds, probably.

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House Hunting

In which Big Dave prepares to leave, and Windows Vista prepares to arrive


Big Dave is busy at the moment. Not with work, but with finding somewhere to live. As he’s moving down to London at the end of the year, he’s spending nearly all his office time scouring the internet for affordable flats; mouse in one hand, A-Z in the other.

I’ve become his guide to London, it seems. “What’s Bermondsey like?” “What about Beckton?” “Silvertown? Where the hell’s Silvertown?” Work, so far as he’s concerned, has gone out of the window. Which, in a way, is a good thing. In a few weeks time, I’ll have to do all the work myself anyway. So, I may as well start doing nearly all of it now, whilst Dave is still around to bug if I get stuck.

The other main job for the moment: thinking up jokes about Windows Vista ready for its years-late release tomorrow.* There’s no chance at all we’ll be buying the thing at work, because none of the company’s PCs will actually run the behemoth at all well. PCs we bought a fortnight ago fail the Microsoft upgrade check. Hmm, maybe there was a reason they were so cheap.

* To get some idea why it’s so delayed, and why it’s such a behemoth, read about the byzantine management arrangements responsible for the shutdown options on the Start menu.

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