Monday, 20 July 2015

现实 | Hardly working

Posted by: Ryan O'Riordan

Sorry for updating on a Monday for the second time, but if Dom can jet off to Zambia for three weeks, I think I can get away with being a day late again. Anyway, dedicated thunkites* should know by now that posts being late is pretty much to be expected of me.

The sad thing is that the reason I forgot to post yesterday isn't even any good. I wasn't saving people from a burning building, I wasn't helping to bring about world peace, I wasn't researching the cure for cancer. No my friends, the reason I forgot to post was that I was busy sorting out yet more work experience.

Those of you who read my last post will know that work experience is an activity that I have *ahem* slight issues with. Rest assured that the fact I'm doing more of the stuff isn't down to slipping in the shower and waking up in hospital as a completely different person. You're stuck with me for a while yet, world. Instead, my parents have decided that the single best way for me to spend my summer holidays is to be cooped up in the A4 paper-bland world of business, with nothing but the endless drone of the printer or the gurgle of the water cooler for company. The second hand on the office clock has been transformed into a miniature scythe, slicing up my free time and sending it off to infinity.

While my friends have been whisking themselves off around the globe and will all come back with great tans and tall tales, I'm on course for a summer about as interesting as being chained to a chair and watching extra-slow drying paint dry. But I'm not bitter or anything.

However, in between staring at the clock and praying to whatever God will listen for a fire to burn the place to the ground, I have actually managed to learn a few things about the world of work, which I thought I'd share with you guys.

Corporate jargon is Satan's masterpiece: When I first arrived at the office, all those long days ago, I naively assumed that I would be working in a place where everyone spoke English. Ah, the ignorance of youth.  Instead, I was plunged into a world that has so many completely made up and meaningless words that Dr Seuss would hang his head in shame, and ask himself why he ever bothered. I wasn't working in PR, it was 'corporate development', a table and chairs wasn't a nice place for a coffee, it was a 'breakout space'. Guys, this isn't a blog, it's a 'personal development exercise'. I'm convinced that the purest form of torture that exists for someone who loves the English language is to be put in a business meeting. Soon, you'd barely be able to hear about the bold and exciting new direction that Made Up Inc. is going in above the screams.

Office silence will break you: What separates office silence from the other, lesser, silences of our world is that it isn't really silence at all. The clacking of computer keys, the occasional squeak of someone shifting in their chair, the footsteps muffled by the cheapest carpet money can buy. All of them combine to create an atmosphere that exists on the edge of silence, and slowly drives you insane. Just as you think you're lulling into a nice little oasis of boredom, someone will ask if anyone wants a cuppa for the thousandth time that day and drag you back into the present. The worst part is that no one ever does want that cup of tea.

The water cooler is your only friend: Inevitably, the office will get to you. The mocking blink of the cursor on the blank Word page will finally win, and you'll have to leave your desk before you throw it out the window. It is here that the wayward souls find their greatest ally. In the grey purgatory of the office, the water cooler is an island of joy. For a few precious minutes, you're able to get away from it all and enjoy the finest water you've ever tasted. It's always chilled just enough to give you brain freeze if drunk too fast, but that doesn't matter. All friends have their own unique quirks and this is the water cooler's. And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

You won't be able to have a conversation: One of the office's cruelest side effects is that it destroys a person's ability to talk to others. The typical conversation in the morning goes a bit like this:
A: "Alright"
B: "Morning"
A: "Get up to anything last night/weekend?"
B: "No not really, you?"
A: "No, kept it pretty quiet"
And then they'll both go to their desks and work. In the evening the conversation will be exactly the same except they'll ask each other if they have any plans. The strange part is that even if on the weekend you went out and woke up the next morning on the side of the road with a tattoo of your cat, you'll still say you didn't get up to much. My theory is that people avoid talking about their life outside work because the mere mention of it at the office will immediately ruin it, like when a song you love gets overplayed and you can never listen to it again.

As we come to the end of this never-before-seen rant/reflection hybrid, I think it's important that I let you know that I'd really like you to enjoy your summer on my behalf. So when you're lazing on the beach or on the plane to wherever, spare a thought for poor old me. I won't be surfing or sunbathing; I'll be at the office, so you don't have to be.

(Anyone who wants to set up a Kickstarter or JustGiving page for me is more than welcome to by the way)

As always, thanks for reading!

*Can anyone with a better idea for what to call thunk readers please tell me asap, because that was pretty terrible.

Ryan’s listening to: 'Let's Go Round Again' by Average White Band


Read my previous post here.

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