Saturday, 3 August 2013

Right About What I Know

I always try to be careful when writing about work but there are certain generic work situations that warrant a closer look.  After all, it's well known that you should write about what you know and the following post is what I know about work.  I also happen to be right about what I know, which is handy.

Ring The Changes

Highly intelligent people, practically minded co-workers, colleagues with qualifications coming out of their ears.  We all know them and possibly work with a few.  These individuals are responsible for designing the most complicated technology, ensuring the wheels of the economy keep turning and leading us mere mortals to greater things, however in my experience not one of them can replace a used toilet roll.
How many times have you gone into a trap, taken a weight off your mind and reached up only to find an empty cardboard tube hanging forlornly from the holder?  Sometimes it can be worse in that there may still be a single sheet attached.  It's as if the last user has deliberately left one sheet to justify their decision not to change the roll - "Ah but it's not down to me, there's still some left on the tube look".  The problem is you can do absolutely nothing with a single sheet of toilet paper, unless you are trying to dry the tears of a grieving mayfly.
It's not just the inconvenience of it all, it's also the sense of panic it induces when you realise you've completed the necessary evacuation but are faced with the horror of having no 3 ply ultra-soft toilet tissue to send you merrily on your way.
This said however there is one similar situation even worse than not changing the roll and that is nearly changing the roll.  This is where the last user helpfully balances a full roll on top of the empty roll - a full roll that you reach up to use only to knock off and watch roll along the floor, just out of your reach and out under the door.
Now I know the aforementioned professionals are probably paid huge sums of money for their abilities to change the world but surely it's not so far beneath them to change the roll and, if dear reader you are one such person who has left an empty, you should hang your head in shame.  And don't think it's up to the next person to check, after all they have more pressing concerns whereas you have just relieved the pressure of distracting thought.
Work Language
We all have certain language we use in our work places.  This could be a series of acronyms meaning little to those not in the know - and in some cases meaning little to the person delivering said acronyms.
Some language could be aimed at specific individuals, depending on their capabilities - "She's so far up herself she's virtually inside out" or "He's a fu@#ing moron".
But there are particular professions that use completely unnecessary terminology and which make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, namely emergency services and estate agents.  Not similar professions I grant you but they have one thing in common.
Ask a policeman to describe a car or a bus or a truck or van or any other road transport as anything other than a "vehicle" he (or she) will self-combust.  And ask an estate agent to describe a house or bungalow or flat or apartment or any other type of residence as anything other than a "property" they would slap you in the face with a flat iron (or "property iron" as they know them).
Why do these people insist on doing this?  I can only hope for the sake of their families that they don't continue this at home.
Imagine - "Darling, have you seen the vehicle keys?  I suspended them on the vehicle key retaining device when I entered the property last evening - the evening of the 26th of October at approximately twenty hundred hours - and now I can't ascertain their whereabouts.  For the benefit of the tape my wife has just stabbed me in the groin with a toasting fork".
Out Of Hours
Social situations with work colleagues can be awkward, depending on the kind of working relationship you have with particular individuals but I've found that there is one situation that tops them all.  Bumping into a work colleague in a supermarket has the potential to be incredibly cringe worthy.
There you are, wandering the aisles looking for bargains when a work colleague comes toward you.  Nothing particularly worrying so far until you realise that you only have one item in your basket, a tube of haemorrhoid cream, and they have clocked it straight away. You have a brief conversation about the weather or your child's latest ailment or similar, all the while trying to hide your basket from view whilst at the same time checking out their trolley, which you notice is filled with top of the range luxury items.  This leads you to believe that their partner must be a high earner because there's no way you can afford what they have and they are at least three pay grades below you.
You hide your jealousy and finish the conversation with a quick "well must get on, see you in the morning" and move to the next aisle to find your 'own brand' biscuits.  You find your biscuits, add them to your pile cream and go to move on only to find your colleague approaching from the other end of the aisle.  You can't turn round because they've already seen you so you pass them with a chuckle and little witticism, "We must stop meeting like this, people will talk" and move to the next aisle.
In the next aisle you select some sand paper (or 'value' toilet tissue as it's otherwise known) and look up to find your colleague again coming towards you.  Again there is no escape but you've used your only comedy line so now all you can do is smile, raise your eyebrows and walk on (noticing the fact that they have the ultimate in ultra-soft toilet tissue).
It then dawns on you that you are only three aisles into the shop and there is a strong chance that your entire shopping trip will involve bumping into your colleague all the way round the store so there is now only one option left.  You're going to have to spend the next half an hour hanging around in the spices aisle, waiting for them to leave.
Nobody ever buys spices so if you find yourself in this aisle and there are other people there you can bet your bottom dollar they are avoiding their work colleagues too.
Of course if you find your work colleagues loitering in the spices aisle there's a strong possibility that they are avoiding you.
Continual Improvement
Everyone can find work hard but then again that's why it's called work and sometimes these things are out of our control but for those things that we can control we should make every effort to improve for everyone's sake.
So come on people, if you see an empty toilet roll holder put a new roll on, use language that everyone can understand (including you) and avoid having to loiter in the spices aisle by doing your shopping on-line or alternatively go shopping at midnight when the only people you'll need to avoid are the 'onesie' wearing weirdos.


  1. I do enjoy reading these as you speak my mind !!! Xo lauren

  2. Brilliant stuff Robert! To my shame, it's the first one I've read and can't wait to read the others. I'm going to print this off and any others I get to and send them to Aunt Fluff for holiday reading as she goes to Portugal on Wednesday!