Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Daze Of Our Lives

If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, you’ve likely found yourself at one time or another sitting at your desk with your head down, eyes closed and fists clenched, questioning whether it’s all worth it.  Suppressing daily frustrations is a fact of life, and the reason lottery corporations and alcoholic beverage distributors are as successful as they are.  If you’ve never worked in an office, consider yourself lucky.  Here’s just a small taste of what you’re missing:

Microwaved Fish
The lunch room is often the scene of many horrific offenses to the senses, and you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard whose desk is closest to it.  As if the daily grind wasn’t motivation enough to leave all your possessions behind, move to a tropical island, and sell coconuts along the beach, you’ve got to deal with the wafting odour of burnt popcorn, a cornucopia of ethnic spices, and the overpowering stench of microwaved fish.  If you routinely prepare fish or curry dishes at home, and don’t really notice much of a smell, then I’ve got news for you… your house stinks, and you probably do too.  You might be a very nice person, but it’s important that you know your neighbours talk about you, and wish you’d just move away.  Your office-mates are no different, and would really prefer that you not bring in your malodorous leftovers.  You may have grown accustomed to the smell at home, but believe me when I tell you that everyone in the office is offended by the scent of what you’re eating, they’re just too polite to say anything… at least to your face.  Everyone knows certain foods create a foul odour in the office, yet every day in every office in the world, another moron waddles into the lunch room with their little Tupperware container, ready to commit another nostril punishing offense.           

Birthday Celebrations
We’ve all been faced with this dilemma.  Every so often the office “Goody-Two-Shoes” will come around and place a birthday card on your desk for some co-worker you couldn’t care less about, asking you to sign it.  Coming up with something to write in a card for a family member you love and care about is enough of a chore, let alone for someone you barely know.  Through the years I’ve conditioned my brain to go into autopilot every time this happens, and have therefore written “Happy Birthday, hope it’s a good one!” in more cards than I care to remember.  Whatever requires the least amount of effort and will get that card off my desk in the fastest time is about as far as I’m willing to go.  I don’t even care that ten other people have written the exact same thing.  It’s even worse when they include an envelope, asking you to make a donation to the alleged gift fund.  Nothing screams “I’m only doing this because I have to” like the sound of my change hitting the other coins at the bottom of the envelope.  The only reason there are ever $5 dollar bills in there is because others before you needed coffee money, and did a little swap-er-roo.  The eventual presentation of the birthday cake is the epitome of office awkwardness.  Everyone gathers around knowing that whatever time is wasted on this grand celebration just means they’ll have to stay that much later at the end of the day to complete their work, while trying to stay far enough back from the action so that people won’t recognize that they’re not singing.  With the “Goody-Two-Shoes” ringleader standing next to the mortified birthday celebrant, the pathetic singing of Happy Birthday begins, with about as much enthusiasm as a non-church goer singing a hymn.  Once the excruciating pain of that moment mercifully comes to an end, they cut the cake, which is always way too small and is never the kind you like.  But you eat your two bites of cake anyway, listen to someone try to make a joke about this imaginary sugar rush getting them through the rest of the day, then go back to your desk dreading the thought that your birthday is next. 

Company Christmas Party
Next to Halloween, nothing brings out the inner slut of your female co-workers like the office Christmas party.  It may be the middle of winter, and you may question the appropriateness, but one thing that you can always count on is a lot of exposed skin.  Once the first drunken girl with the short skirt falls over and gives everyone a great big eyeful of vagina, the party has officially begun.  Don’t worry if you missed it either, because now that everyones cell phones have cameras, her “inbox” will very likely land in yours before the party is even over!  Office Christmas parties have a very strange effect on people.  Although you’ve just spent the last 52 weeks working side by side with these people, when you arrive at the party, the greetings are more along the lines of what you would expect if you were reuniting with a long lost friend.  Scenes of double cheek kisses and awkward handshakes are aplenty, and if it wasn’t for the complimentary drinks, the phoniness of it all would be nearly unbearable.  The only reason people stay beyond the first hour is either because their boss hasn’t left yet, they want to see who hooks up with who, or to witness the crowning of the “Drunken Disaster Queen”.  There’s always at least one.

I could go on and on, as the office provides an endless list of reasons to take up binge drinking, but it's almost 5 o'clock, and I'd prefer not to stay any later than absolutely necessary.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my heavens! I've been out of corporate America for more than 10 years - and you just dragged me back into the pit.

    Run, man, run!